college of engineering

NSF grant supports high-end imaging instrument development


CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University was awarded an $815,000 “major research instrumentation” grant through the National Science Foundation, part of a $1.2 million package, to develop a high-end, 4D imaging system and establish an Advanced Imaging Facility.

The instrument will provide unique opportunities for conducting high-resolution and high-fidelity three-dimensional imaging of otherwise opaque objects. It can “look inside” objects and “fly through” materials in three-dimensional space, so researchers can study form, character and function at the micron-scale of a variety of materials. There may be applications in environmental, mechanical and civil engineering, as well as geoscience, wood science, zoology, anthropology and agricultural sciences.

“It will be a one-of-a-kind development, and has the capacity to follow processes in time as they take place inside the object of interest,” said Dorthe Wildenschild, a professor of environmental engineering and the grant’s principal investigator. “Among the projects that will be supported by the instrument is research to optimize the trapping of carbon dioxide in subsurface rocks as a climate change mitigation measure.”

The device is expected to have a major impact on research activities in the engineering, earth sciences and natural sciences fields, through studies of eruptive mechanisms of volcanoes, soil mechanics to improve mitigation strategies against landslides, hydraulic collapse of soils, and improved groundwater management and remediation. 

With $600,000 awarded this year and the remainder in year two, the grant will also support the establishment of an Advanced Imaging Facility, which will be managed as a shared-use facility for users throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Additional funding will be sought to extend the technology to an image visualization module for a free-choice learning museum exhibit at Oregon State’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore., where visitors can select an object to render in 3D and “fly through.”


Media Contact: 

By Krista Klinkhammer, 541-737-4416



Dorthe Wildenschild, 541-737-8050

NSF awards $4.5 million nanotechnology grant to OSU partnership

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University, in partnership with the University of Washington and as part of the Northwest Nanotechnology Infrastructure, has received a $4.5 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation for nanoscale science, engineering and technology research.

The National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure is comprised of 16 selected sites, and will allow researchers from academia, government, and industry access to facilities and instrumentation to further nanotechnology innovation and commercialization.

“Winning this NSF grant is evidence that OSU has been making the right investments in our materials research infrastructure, and that we are competitive with the top universities throughout the country,” said Greg Herman, professor of chemical engineering at Oregon State University and Oregon State’s lead on the grant.

“The unique capabilities that we have in the Materials Synthesis and Characterization Facility and the Oregon Process Innovation Center are now part of a national user facility, and will elevate our national presence and efforts in research, education and economic development."

The Northwest site also includes facilities and resources at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, North Seattle College and the University of British Columbia, and will focus on integrated photonics, advanced energy materials and devices and bio-nano interfaces and systems.

The NSF granted a total of $81 million to establish the 16 sites and will select one site to coordinate all facilities in 2016.

Media Contact: 

Krista Klinkhammer, 541-737-4416


Greg Herman, 541-737-6020

NSF grant establishes natural hazards center at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering has received a $3.8 million award from the National Science Foundation for a facility to increase the resilience of the nation’s coastal communities.

Through the award, two main resources at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory will become part of a distributed, national program – the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure – that will provide the natural hazards engineering community with access to various research infrastructure, as well as educational and community outreach activities.

The resources at OSU will include the large wave flume and the directional wave basin, both of which simulate waves from hurricanes and tsunamis, and allow for a wide range of testing on both the built and natural environment.

“This award will have a national impact for engineers, to develop innovative solutions to coastal disasters and improve the resilience of coastal communities to extreme events like hurricanes and tsunamis,” said Dan Cox, a civil and construction engineering professor in the College of Engineering, and principal investigator on the project.

The facility will allow researchers to understand hurricane waves and surges, tsunami hazards, and their impacts on roads, bridges, water supplies, and communication systems. It will also allow study of erosion effects, and help researchers develop and evaluate sustainable solutions to coastal hazards.

The research will contribute to broader societal goals of reducing human suffering and economic damages, the scientists said, and speed the socioeconomic recovery following events such as hurricanes and tsunamis.

Co-investigators on the project include Pedro Lomonaco, director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, and Chris Higgins, the Cecil and Sally Drinkward Professor in Civil Engineering.

Media Contact: 

Johanna Carson, 541-737-1207


Dan Cox, 541-737-3631

Multimedia Downloads

Wave laboratory
Directional wave basin

Mundorff to join Oregon State’s Advantage Accelerator

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Karl Mundorff, an entrepreneur and business development expert, has been named senior program manager for the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis, an initiative focused on high-growth, innovative companies in the South Willamette Valley and greater OSU community.

“The accelerator is key to creating an innovation culture at Oregon State and creating impact in the local economy and beyond,” said Mitzi Montoya, dean of the College of Business. “The college’s and university’s investment in creating this culture, and in assuring a pipeline for start-ups is an important part of the pipeline we have for student and faculty to contribute to the entrepreneurship community.”

Mundorff most recently was the director of research programs for Oregon BEST, a state signature research center focused on developing the Cleantech economy, in which he worked with university and national laboratory technologies. He helped secure an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designation from the Economic Development Administration, which created an opportunity for the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership to compete for more than $1billion in new federal agency grant opportunities.

Mundorff was also president and chief executive officer of BioReaction Industries, an air pollution control technology firm, and has created and taught master’s level courses in business model generation and commercialization at Portland State University and Concordia University. He is a graduate of the OSU College of Business and holds an MBA degree from Concordia University.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis, recently designated an I-Corp site, is an integral component of the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or Oregon RAIN, which is a collaboration of OSU, the University of Oregon, local governments, communities and economic development agencies.

Since its launch more than two years ago, the OSU Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis has admitted 30 business startups into the program. The companies that graduated from the program have generated over $6.6 million in revenue and grants and the creation of more than 40 jobs.


Story By: 

Brian Wall, 541-737-9058

Oregon State research reaches record, exceeds $308 million

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University research funding reached $308.9 million, its highest level ever, in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. A near doubling of revenues from licensing patented technologies and an 8.5 percent increase in competitive federal funding fueled OSU research on a range of projects including advanced ocean-going research vessels, the health impacts of pollution and sustainable materials for high-speed computing.

“This is a phenomenal achievement. I've seen how OSU research is solving global problems and providing innovations that mean economic growth for Oregon and the nation,” said Cynthia Sagers, OSU’s vice president for research who undertook her duties on August 31. “OSU’s research performance in the last year is amazing, given that federal funds are so restricted right now.”

The overall economic and societal impact of OSU’s research enterprise exceeds $670 million, based on an analysis of OSU’s research contributions to the state and global economy that followed a recent economic study of OSU’s fiscal impact conducted by ECONorthwest.

Technology licensing almost doubled in the last year alone, from just under $6 million in 2014 to more than $10 million this year. Leading investments from business and industry were patented Oregon State innovations in agriculture, advanced materials and nuclear technologies.

OSU researchers exceeded the previous record of $288 million, which the university achieved in 2010. Although federal agencies provided the bulk of funding, most of the growth in OSU research revenues over the past five years stems from nonprofit organizations and industry.

Since 2010, total private-sector funding from sponsored contracts, research cooperatives and other sources has risen 60 percent — from $25 million to more than $40 million in 2015. Oregon State conducts research with multinationals such as HP, Nike and Boeing as well as with local firms such as Benchmade Knife of Oregon City, Sheldon Manufacturing of Cornelius and NuScale Power of Corvallis.

By contrast, federal research grants in 2015 were only 0.2 percent higher than those received in 2010, a year in which American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds gave university research a one-time shot in the arm across the country. According to the National Science Foundation, federal agency obligations for research have dropped from a high of $36 billion in 2009 to $29 billion in 2013, the last year for which cumulative figures are available. The Department of Health and Human Services accounted for more than half of that spending.

“We’ve worked hard to diversify our research portfolio,” said Ron Adams, who retired as interim vice president for research at the end of August. “But it’s remarkable that our researchers have succeeded in competing for an increase in federal funding. This speaks to the success of our strategic initiatives and our focus on clusters of excellence.”

Economic impact stems in part from new businesses launched this year through the Oregon State University Advantage program. Among them are:

  •  OnBoard Dynamics, a Bend company designing a natural-gas powered vehicle engine that can be fueled from home
  •  Valliscor, a Corvallis company that manufactures ultra-pure chemicals
  • eChemion, a Corvallis company that develops and markets technology to extend battery life

Altogether, 15 new companies have received mentoring assistance from Oregon State’s Advantage Accelerator program, part of the state-funded Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN. Six new companies are working with the Advantage program this fall.

Additional economic impact stems from the employment of students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty. According to the OSU Research Office, about a quarter of OSU undergraduates participate in research projects, many with stipends paid by grant funds. In addition, grants support a total of 843 graduate research positions and 165 post-doctoral researchers.

The College of Agricultural Sciences received the largest share of research grants at Oregon State with $49.4 million last year, followed by the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at $39 million and the College of Engineering at $37 million. The College of Science saw a 170 percent increase in research funding to $26.7 million, its largest total ever and the biggest rise among OSU colleges. Among the largest grants received in FY15 were:

  •  $8 million from the NSF to the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (College of Science) for new high-speed information technologies
  •  $4 million from the Department of Energy to reduce barriers to the deployment of ocean energy systems (College of Engineering)
  •  $4 million from US Agency for International Development to the AquaFish Innovation Lab (College of Agricultural Sciences) for global food security
  •  $3.5 million from the USDA for experiential learning to reduce obesity (College of Public Health and Human Sciences)
  •  $2.3 million from the NSF for the ocean observing initiative (College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences)
  •  $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education for school readiness in early childhood (OSU Cascades)


Editor’s Note: FY15 research totals for OSU colleges and OSU-Cascades are posted online.

College of Agricultural Sciences: http://agsci.oregonstate.edu/story/osu%E2%80%99s-college-agricultural-sciences-receives-494-million-research-grants 

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences: http://ceoas.oregonstate.edu/features/funding/

College of Education: http://education.oregonstate.edu/research-and-outreach 

College of Engineering:  http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/fy15-research-funding-highlights

College of Forestry: http://www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/research/college-forestry-receives-near-record-grant-awards-fy-2015

College of Liberal Arts: http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/cla-research/2015-research-summary

College of Pharmacy: http://pharmacy.oregonstate.edu/grant_information

College of Public Health and Human Sciences: http://health.oregonstate.edu/research 

College of Science: http://impact.oregonstate.edu/2015/08/record-year-for-research-funding/

College of Veterinary Medicine: http://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/research-highlights

OSU-Cascades: http://osucascades.edu/research-and-scholarship 

Story By: 

Cynthia Sagers, vice president for research, 541-737-0664; Rich Holdren on OSU research trends, 541-737-8390; Brian Wall on business spinoffs and commercialization, 541-737-9058

Multimedia Downloads

Surface chemistry research

Masters students at OSU worked to improve the performance of thin-film transistors used in liquid crystal displays. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

OOI mooring

The Oregon shelf surface mooring is lowered to the water using the R/V Oceanus ship's crane. (photo courtesy of Oregon State University). Wave Energy

The Ocean Sentinel, a wave energy testing device, rides gentle swells near Newport, Ore. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University) Hernandez3-2

An undergraduate student at the Autonomous Juarez University of Tabasco, Mexico, is working with cage culture of cichlids in an educational partnership with the AquaFish collaborative Support Program. (Photo: Tiffany Woods)

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science names new head

CORVALLIS, Ore. – V. John Mathews, an expert in biomedical signal and information processing with a track record for growing research funding and student enrollment, has been selected as the new head of the Oregon State University School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).

Mathews comes to Oregon State after 30 years with the University of Utah, where he has been a professor since 1995 and served as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for four years. Under his leadership, the department's research funding tripled, the state-funded departmental budget grew more than 40 percent, three advanced teaching laboratories were created with industry funding, the number of graduate students nearly doubled and the undergraduate student enrollment increased by 50 percent.

"We're excited to have Professor Mathews join Oregon State’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,” said Scott Ashford, dean of OSU’s College of Engineering. “His leadership will build on the school's national reputation as a center of teaching and research excellence and innovation.

“We also will grow the school’s unique approach to collaboration with industry and our college's growing emphasis on precision health and bioengineering,"

Mathews said he is committed to help create a strategic vision and sustain an environment within the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science that attracts and retains the highest-quality faculty, students and staff.

"Great faculty members bring about great teaching, research and relationships with industry – all of which raises a school's reputation, draws top students and produces successful graduates, who not only contribute to industry and society, but who also ultimately give back to the school in powerful and positive ways,” Mathews said.

Mathews' research is in nonlinear and adaptive signal processing and the application of signal processing techniques in audio and communication systems, biomedical engineering and structural health management.

His research has led to development of tools for understanding the evolution of the placental circulation system and relationships between maternal and fetal circulation systems. These tools include a system for early detection of preeclampsia, a disease that affects between six and eight percent of all pregnant women and is one of the major causes of maternal and fetal death.

Research by Mathews' group at the University of Utah is also focused on the functional electrical stimulation of nerve fibers to evoke motor activity in patients with diseases of the central nervous system and neural prosthetic controllers for patients with limb loss.

Mathews has published more than 150 technical papers and is the inventor on seven patents.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2002 for contributions to the theory and application of nonlinear and adaptive filtering, and has held numerous leadership positions with the IEEE Signal Processing Society, including vice president of finance and vice president of conferences, dating back to 2003.

Mathews holds master's and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa, and a bachelor's of engineering in electronics and communication engineering from the University of Madras, India.


Steve Clark, 541-737-4875 or steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

Concrete expert to head Civil and Construction Engineering

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A leading researcher in the development of more durable and sustainable concrete has been named the head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University.

Jason Weiss most recently was the Jack and Kay Hockema Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University, and director of the Pankow Materials Laboratories. At OSU, he will direct the Kiewit Center for Infrastructure and Transportation Research and hold the Miles Lowell and Margaret Watt Edwards Distinguished Chair in Engineering.

Weiss is an expert in reducing the potential for cracking in concrete, predicting the service life for concrete pavements and reinforced concrete structures, improving the durability of concrete pavements and structures, and developing improved practices for making concrete more sustainable.

At Purdue, Weiss also explored new educational methods, such as experiential learning, new delivery methods for teaching, peer instruction, specialized graduate short courses, and Internet-based lectures to facilitate continuing education. He is developing specialized course modules in internal curing, service life and sustainability for construction materials.

"My vision as head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State is to create a welcoming culture that enables faculty, staff and students to succeed in all aspects of the creation, synthesis and transmission of knowledge," Weiss said.

Weiss has authored more than 135 peer-reviewed journal articles and is recipient of the National Science Foundation Career Award and multiple honors in the concrete, construction and engineering fields. He also received 10 awards for teaching and advising at Purdue, including the university’s highest undergraduate teaching honor.

"We're excited to have Jason join our rapidly growing engineering community here at Oregon State," said Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering and the former head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering. "He brings an excellent combination of research and teaching skills, as well as a visionary approach to leadership."

Media Contact: 

Jason Weiss, 541-737-1885

OSU Open Source Lab improves infrastructure, services

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Open Source Lab in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University has significantly upgraded the FTP service used by the open source software community and increased its download speeds by 900 percent.

This service can now handle millions of additional download requests per day, and serves as a critical link in the distribution of open-source software around the world.

With recent improvements, the lab increased the combined download speed to 30 gigabytes per second, and storage capacity to 9 terabytes, a 50 percent increase over what was previously available. Other performance improvements include a 100 percent increase in peak hard disk throughput, and a 60 percent increased capacity in web traffic.

“We’re on the leading edge,” said Lance Albertson, director of the laboratory. “We’re the only group providing this service using machines with the POWER8 architecture. This upgrade has already been noticed by many of our hosted projects due to the improved speed.”

This cluster, which has locations in New York City, Chicago and Corvallis, Ore., hosts 85 open source software projects, whose users rely on this service to download applications and patches.

The content is mirrored to three servers so that it provides the fastest and most reliable service possible. Users include system administrators from around the world keeping Linux servers up to date, and end-users downloading the latest version of applications such as LibreOffice or Inkscape. In the coming months, the lab plans to open up the service to more projects.

IBM donated the three new servers that made the recent upgrade possible. Additional industry partners for the project included TDS Telecom and Google.

“The OSL has provided hosting services that have been key to our Apache, Power and Open software development programs for many years,” said Keith Brown, director of IBM Systems Technical Strategy & Product Security. “We're continuing to build on that partnership.”

In addition to providing open-source services to the community, the OSL provides Oregon State students with hands-on training in open source development.

Media Contact: 

Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098


Engineering initiatives to make education more inclusive, relevant

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University College of Engineering has been selected to participate in two National Science Foundation initiatives to significantly change engineering education and foster a more inclusive culture of underrepresented minorities and women.

One of the initiatives is part of a multiyear national effort to substantially improve and broaden engineering and computer science education, in order to “revolutionize engineering departments.”

With a five-year, $2 million grant, one of only six of its type in the nation, the OSU School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering plans to substantially change its curriculum to make courses more realistic, consequential, and relevant to the lives of students and embracing of different cultures.

“Many engineering students in the U.S. are still educated using traditional methods developed over many decades,” said Jim Sweeney, professor and head of the school. “What they learn can unintentionally be removed from the context of their lives, identities and future careers as working engineers.”

This results, Sweeney said, in talented students who often leave the profession.

OSU will explore education that better incorporates both curricular and real-world experiences. Problem-based learning, cultural inclusion, and consequential work will hopefully improve the student experience and aid retention, recruitment and graduate numbers. Curricular redesign will take place through nine sophomore and junior-level fundamental engineering classes taken by all chemical engineers, bioengineers, and environmental engineers.

“Students will be able to tie the content in the classroom to the rest of their lives,” Sweeney said. “Our graduates will be dramatically better prepared to apply their knowledge to whatever unpredictable challenges face our society in the years to come.”

In a second NSF-sponsored initiative, the OSU School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering will be one of just five engineering programs in the nation to participate in a new program to increase diversity and foster an inclusive culture for underrepresented minorities and women in mechanical engineering.

The project aims to advance understanding and the experiences of mechanical engineering faculty, staff and students who have been underrepresented in the past. It will study the impact of stereotypes and the process of change-planning and goal-setting in an academic environment.

“Many of the efforts at improving diversity of students in mechanical engineering programs have hit a wall,” said Robert Stone, professor and head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering. “There’s a 10-15 percent range nationally for those who identify as female. This program is looking to break through that, and make sure that all of the ways that a mechanical engineering degree can be used to make the world a better place are clearly promoted and included in our curriculum.”

For instance, Stone said, at OSU that includes a humanitarian engineering minor that includes courses on how to understand low-resource environments and communities, and then utilize engineering principles to provide appropriate solutions to the local problems.

“It’s ultimately about making sure all potential students know that they can use mechanical engineering to do good in the world,” he said.

Successful initiatives in these programs are expected to be scaled up for broader national application, officials said. A key goal is to tear down cultural barriers for both students and faculty and create future engineers from all sectors of society.

Story By: 

James Sweeney, 541-737-3769

Multimedia Downloads

Building a filter
Building water filter

OSU student programmers impact highway safety

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An initiative begun 10 years ago by the Oregon Department of Transportation to involve Oregon State University students in innovative software development has grown over the years to include nearly 50 projects, some of which are helping to reduce accidents and save lives.

The initial project involved creating a software system to dispatch road crews from their four centers around the state.

“By automating processes with the dispatch software, we have improved the response to calls by five minutes,” said Lynn Cartwright, project delivery manager for Intelligent Transportation Systems at ODOT. “The work the students have done is saving lives.”

Giving students practical and impactful experiences was one of the reasons ODOT chose Oregon State for their projects. Cartwright said she also hopes it will better expose students to the many job opportunities in state government. In her department, more than 50 percent of employees are eligible to retire in five years.

Other projects that have improved highway safety include RealTime signs that give information on travel time on Oregon Highway 217, and signs at Multnomah Falls that warn visitors if the parking lot is full.

Phillip Carter, a computer science student, said a favorite project was one that retrieved information about a crash site to help ODOT dispatchers. The software can, for example, determine if the site is on a county or state road, which changes who is notified of the crash. A simple click on a map displays information from multiple data sources.

Carter, a graduate this year, said this work allowed him to stay on campus and continue to take classes rather than move elsewhere for an internship which would have delayed his graduation date. He said the specific knowledge he gained with products such as Visual Studio helped him land his job with Microsoft, which he will start this summer.

Mark Clements has watched the partnership with ODOT grow and develop over the years in his position as a manager with the Software Development Group in the Center for Applied Software and Systems at Oregon State, formerly known as the Business Solutions Group. 

“It’s been valuable for both sides,” Clements said. “On our side it's a great source of real-world learning opportunities for the students. And ODOT has benefited from the creativity that the students provide by having an outside perspective.”

Media Contact: 

Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098


Mark Clements, 541-737-9530

Multimedia Downloads

Traffic assistance
Traffic assistance