The College of Engineering is leading research and innovation to drive breakthroughs that change the world.
We invest in, build out, promote, and advance signature research areas to address key global challenges — precision health, clean energy, resilient infrastructure, and advanced manufacturing and targeted strategic areas with existing competitive advantages — robotics, materials research, and clean water.
Water is the foundation of life. But across the globe, water quality is being compromised as communities struggle with population growth, climate change, industrial and agricultural pollution, and other pressures. With expertise in wastewater treatment, water resources management, environmental monitoring, sustainable infrastructure, and more, College of Engineering researchers are working to develop the solutions associated with water availability and quality.
The College of Engineering is the home of the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute (CoRIS). Our robotics program is recognized as one of the country’s best, where more than 25 faculty and 180 top-notch graduate students conduct cutting-edge robotics research or apply robotics applications. Reaching beyond technological development, they explore robotics and intelligent systems holistically, considering their impact on people and the potential for robots to shape the future. Faculty labs focus on more than a dozen subspecialties, including legged locomotion, human-robot interactions, and social robots.
Oregon State University has a long history of excellence in AI dating back to the early days of computer science. Comprising nearly two dozen faculty, the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (AIR) group studies theory, algorithms, and systems for making intelligent decisions in complex and uncertain environments.
Award-winning Research and Partnerships
In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the College of Engineering received more than $64.6 million in sponsored research awards, its highest total ever, with funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the Oregon Health Authority.
Advanced manufacturing research in the College of Engineering is highly interdisciplinary in nature, spanning the fields of mechanical design, engineering mechanics, fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, and materials science and involving both experimental and computational efforts. Our faculty work closely with state-level collaboratives such as VertueLab and ONAMI (Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute).
Whether the goal is improving existing processes or creating something entirely new, materials science brings together expertise in mechanical, electrical, optical, magnetic, and chemical properties to build things smarter, safer, and stronger. From transparent electronics and fiber composites to superconductors and optical thin films, College of Engineering researchers are leading the development of a new generation of materials.
Clean energy is one of the most effective tools in the fight against climate change. The College of Engineeringis pursuing several kinds of clean energy technologies, including both renewables and nuclear power. Our research groups are developing a variety of novel solar energy technologies, harnessing the power of ocean waves off the Oregon coast, improving processes for creating biomass, and making wind turbines more efficient and safer for animal life. We are also the birthplace of the world’s most advanced small modular reactor and continue to pioneer novel nuclear power technologies.
Computer science represents the largest research sector within the College of Engineering, with more than 50 faculty working on a highly diverse set of topics, ranging from cybersecurity and computer graphics to software engineering and human-computer interactions. The College of Engineering is also a leader in computer science education, annually conferring the most computer science degrees in the nation.
Natural hazards such as wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, and floods are a fact of life for all of us, and climate change is increasing the potential frequency and magnitude of many of these types of events. Although we may not be able to do much about their occurrence, we can work to lessen their impact on the human environment and bolster the ability of natural resources to bounce back in their wake. Researchers at the College of Engineering are working collaboratively and globally across scientific disciplines to develop solutions that will help us achieve this type of community resilience in the face of natural hazards.
Health-related engineering research in the College of Engineering focuses on systems, devices, and data analysis for enhancing our understanding of health and disease. Collaborating with biology, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, and public health faculty across the university, our researchers develop new biosensors, imaging techniques, wireless medical devices, and biomaterials via state-of-the-art research in advanced fabrication, nanomaterials, electronics, and magnetics.