Dr. Bala Ram
Why North Carolina A&T?
Perhaps more than any other field, engineering is creating the future—and tomorrow depends on highly talented, enterprising people—like those who make up our community of innovators. The College of Engineering is a national leader in educating engineers. Each year the College turns out new discoveries, inventions and top-flight graduates, all contributing to the strength of our economy and the health and vitality of our community
The College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T has a world-class reputation, top-rated faculty, distinguished research programs, and outstanding students. Our engineering research is focused on providing solutions to global challenges. We work with industry and government agencies on many research projects, from cyber security to state of the art composite materials for ships, aircraft and other important structures.
Our graduate students work directly with faculty in our classrooms and laboratories.
Robust Research Program
During Fiscal Year 2010, our College of Engineering faculty submitted 91 proposals (requested amount of $37,753,867), had 68 funded projects ($13.1 Million) and 159 peer reviewed publications. The UNC system is known for its strong research productivity and North Carolina A&T is proud of the fact that in this intense research environment, it ranks 3rd among its 16 sister institutions in the amount of research funding. The College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T annually contributes a very significant amount of the total research funding awarded to the university. The College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T is second in total research funding among the colleges of engineering in the UNC system.
North Carolina A&T has recently established, with NASA funding, a Center for Aviation Safety (CAS). The mission of CAS, led by Dr. Kunigal Shivakumar, is to establish a strong aerospace engineering research and education program where highly talented faculty at North Carolina A&T can address the challenges of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s Fundamental Aeronautics and Aviation Safety Programs. The research goal of CAS is to develop materials, tools, models and technologies that support the safe operation of aerospace vehicles. This research goal will be achieved through three major research objectives: Advancing Composites and Structures; Integrating Vehicle Health Management; and Advancing Aeromechanics and Propulsion. The educational objective of CAS is to develop a high quality aerospace engineering graduate program within the Department of Mechanical Engineering in order to produce world-class engineers.
North Carolina A&T State University has also recently established in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon, Clemson and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington the Center for Academic Studies in Identity Sciences (CASIS). CASIS, led by Dr. Gerry Dozier at North Carolina A&T, is the first and only National Intelligence Science and Technology Center of Academic Excellence in the United States. A five year $8.93 million grant from the Army Research Laboratory led to the establishment of CASIS. The research in this interdisciplinary center (Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Visual Computing) will focus on advanced biometrics. North Carolina A&T is the lead university in this new center.
The newly formed collaboration of NCA&T with Michigan State University in the NSF BEACON Science and Technology Center is also noteworthy. This NSF Science and Technology Center for the Study of Evolution in Action is led by Michigan State University in partnership with North Carolina A&T, the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Washington, and the University of Idaho. The overall goals of BEACON are to gain a better understanding of evolutionary dynamics through interdisciplinary research among evolutionary theorists, evolutionary biologists, and evolutionary practitioners (engineers and computer scientists working in the field of Genetic and Evolutionary Computing) and to inform the public about the impact of the dynamics of evolution on the lives of everyday people. The funding level for BEACON is approximately $25M over a period of 5 years.
North Carolina A&T was awarded a grant for an Engineering Research Center (ERC) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2008. Engineering Research Center grants are among the most prestigious NSF awards, and they represent major investments by NSF in partnership with industry to transform engineering research and education. The award to NCA&T marks the first time that an HBCU has been the lead institution of an ERC. Award funding has been approved at $18 million for the initial five years, with a potential duration of 10 years. The NSF ERC for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials at North Carolina A&T will conduct research in the areas of biomedical engineering and nano-bio applications and is in partnership with the Universities of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The center will also have a global technical partner in Germany’s Hannover School of Medicine and a global cultural and outreach partner in the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. California State University at Los Angeles will serve as an outreach partner in the USA. Dr. Jag Sankar heads the work of the ERC at North Carolina A&T.
The ERC research will focus on three engineered systems: Craniofacial and Orthopedic Applications; Cardiovascular Devices; and Responsive Biosensors for Implants. The research done in the ERC will introduce devices made with magnesium alloys that have the ability to adapt to the body and "grow" without refitting.
The College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T has 13 research centers officially recognized by the university. These centers are as follows:
- The Center for Energy Research and Technology
- National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials
- Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures
- Science and Technology Center of Academic Excellence in Advanced Biometrics
- Center for Cyber Defense
- Center for Aviation Safety
- Center for Composite Materials Research
- Center for Aerospace Research
- Center for Autonomous Control and Information Technology
- Center for Human Machine Studies
- Center for Collaborative Systems
- ARL Center for Advanced Studies in Identity Sciences
- ASTREC (Advanced Technologies Research and Engineering Center).
Please see the Division of Research and Economic Development website (http://www.ncat.edu/~divofres/) for further information about each of these research centers.
Students are active in all of our research programs. In 2011, several hundred graduate research assistants are actively working in our labs along with numerous undergraduate students.