September 2017 Letter to Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

These last 8 months have been one of the most tumultuous that I can recall in my time in academia. The shifts in federal emphases as well as the short-term and postulated long-term impacts on multiple dimensions of our research and educational community have many unsettled.  The response from the Michigan Tech CommUNITY personally kept me going and I hope it has helped you as well.

I am returning from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), where I was asked to co-lead a session preparing native graduate students in the Lighting the Pathway program. This NSF program has over 80 native graduate students in STEM fields working on their PhDs with the goal of obtaining academic positions.  The largest theme that came from the questions was finding positions at places with positive, inclusive workplaces.  It gave me the opportunity to talk about best practices, and examples of how we have adapted some of those at Michigan Tech.  I relayed our challenges, but talked about our trajectories and our progress, and most importantly our potential.

Our potential resides in each of you.  Each creative idea you have, each collaborative partnership you form, and each student or colleague you include, cultivate, and graduate has a positive impact on our mission and on our world.  As you convey skills and your love of learning in your classes and research this semester, please also convey your optimism for our ability to solve problems for society in a sustainable and just manner.

For example, incorporating the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges in your courses is an excellent means to place knowledge in context and position its utility for a greater purpose.  This summer, at the 3rd Global Grand Challenges Summit, the opening keynote talk was from Rajiv Shah, the President of the Rockefeller Foundation.  He emphasized that as we discover, engineer, and develop new knowledge, engineers need to simultaneously take responsibility for finding solutions so that knowledge cannot be used for negative, harmful, or bad purposes.  Scientists and engineers have traditionally not utilized their time or talents thinking about this, but each time new knowledge is hijacked, I suspect it reduces our credibility with the general populace and thus puts progress in jeopardy.  Our students are hungry for these perspectives, so in addition to the rigor and skills, please strive to also provide context.  It will inspire our students to not only be great engineers, but also to be impactful, positive leaders with the foresight to position technologies for the benefit of all life on our planet.

The COE engineering council has been trying to do similar perspective exercises over the last year.  Some of this is reflected in our updated COE strategic plan as well as in the articulated challenges and opportunities for the college.  These were incorporated into the prospectus for the Dean of the College of Engineering.  The PDF for forwarding to perspective candidates is attached and the webpage advertising for the position is here.  The search committee is still seeking nominations, so send them to coChairs Paul Bergstrom   and Keat Ghee Ong

One further comment on the strategic plan.  The largest criticism I’ve heard (feel free to offer your additional thoughts) are that we poorly address how to accomplish the goals and resources to implement new efforts are not available. The latter is particularly challenging this year due to the budget cuts, but efforts are underway to improve on the former.  Each of you play a role.  As you complete your merit summaries in Digital Measures/other for your chair, please directly point to alignments with the COE strategic plan.  This year, we are refining metrics that identify possible ‘how’s and each department is being asked to discuss their plans and identify their own highest impact, resource-lean initiatives.  Overall efforts to improve recruitment, increase retention, cultivate an empowering climate, and promote activities that increase awards, credentials, and prestige are encouraged and should be shared.  As always, we welcome your thoughts!

I hope your department’s final preparations for the ABET visit on Oct. 22-24 are going well.  Please show appreciation to your department’s ABET coordinator and Leonard Bohmann and approach them with any last-minute questions.

A partial list of funding opportunities and activities available this fall include:

  1. Michigan Tech Research Forum – TechTalks are scheduled for Thursday, October 5th from 4 to 5:30 in MUB Ballroom A. Many of your colleagues are presenting, see The Distinguished Lecturer for Fall is John Vucetich from the School of Forestry and Environmental Science, who is well known for the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose predator-prey study.  His lecture is sure to enthralling and will be held on Tuesday, November 7th from 4 to 5:30 also in MUB Ballroom A.
  2. DARPA recently announced the topics open for 2018 Young Faculty Awards ( Executive summaries are due Oct. 2, 2017, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, and full proposals are due Dec. 4, 2017, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional information on the program and eligibility is also found at the link above. Basic eligibility requires an appointment as a “…tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professors and to tenured Assistant or Associate Professors within three (3) years of their tenure appointment…”
  3. Research Experiences for Undergraduates – an avenue to attracting more domestic students from UG institutions. National Academy Press has a report, “Undergraduate Research Experiences for STEM Students: Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities (2017)” So what is an excellent mechanism at Tech for this?  The Pavlis Honors College is pleased to announce the third year of our Undergraduate Research Internship Program for the 2017-18 academic year.  There are two tracks for faculty mentors to consider: Portage Health Foundation Scholars and the Pavlis Young Investigators.  The internship program is open to any undergraduate student on campus. The Pavlis Honors College will provide $800 in funding for the student intern, with the expectation that faculty will identify a source to match this value, resulting in a total of $1600 (or $10/hr for 8 hours per week for a period of 20 weeks). Applications are due by October 2nd and include Online Student Application Form, Project Description (completed by student applicant with guidance from the faculty mentor), Faculty Mentor Letter of Support, Faculty Match Funding Acknowledgement. Details can be found on the Pavlis Honors College website.
  4. EMERGING FRONTIERS IN RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 2018 (EFRI-2018) Letter of Intent Deadline Date: September 29, 2017 (LOIs include THE TITLE, THE TEAM, and THE SYNOPSIS, which is a brief description of the specific goals of the proposal (maximum of 250 words). Preliminary Proposals are due October 25, 2017 and decide invitations for Full Proposals due February 23, 2018. For details on research topics, submission requirements and deadlines, please read the EFRI program summary.  Webinar Details Program Guidelines: NSF 17-578 The Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program of the NSF Directorate for Engineering (ENG) serves a critical role in helping ENG focus on important emerging areas in a timely manner. This solicitation is a funding opportunity for interdisciplinary teams of researchers to embark on rapidly advancing frontiers of fundamental engineering research. For this solicitation, we will consider proposals that aim to investigate emerging frontiers in the following two research areas:
  • Chromatin and Epigenetic Engineering (CEE)
  • Continuum, Compliant, and Configurable Soft Robotics Engineering (C3 SoRo)

Due to the length of this letter, I’ve included most other requests for proposals (RFPs) on the engineering research blog,  This blog is also updated daily with workshops/awards, and innovation opportunities – please subscribe to the RSS feed and encourage your research team to do the same.

We also just began a blog for student opportunities that is combined with external opportunities posted by the Grad School  Our goal is to help raise awareness of opportunities, especially for grad students. This blog was established because we discovered many agency/foundation scholarships and fellowships as well as academic job postings are circulated outside of the traditional job posting mechanisms offered by Career Services.  Students would refer to this resource to supplement their interactions with Career Services.  Also on the topic of professional development of your graduate students, please refer them to the Graduate School’s new professional development series.

Lastly, you may have noticed improvements on our website thanks to Sue Hill and Kim Geiger in the COE. Content is being expanded to feature more collaborations and the people (faculty, graduate students, etc.) driving our innovative research.  In addition, we have put in place a mechanism to support your scholarly research efforts and increase the visibility of your publications. We would like to help publicize your work by featuring your journal publications in media stories. Please share your manuscripts with us *as soon as they are accepted* by going to:  To properly write news summaries that yield the broadest coverage, our staff need 3 weeks to prepare for, write, edit, design, post, promote, and share a news release. The news release is then timed to coincide with the publication date of your manuscript. Here is an excellent guide to maximizing the impact of your research media. Also, if you have ideas to feature your group, your students, your collaborative team or center, please email us.

I hope you and yours get to enjoy the fall colors and that you have a productive and rewarding fall semester.

Best Regards,


VPR Campus Satellite Office: 6th floor Dow

The Vice President for Research (VPR) is piloting a satellite office on campus.  Jennifer Bukovich from the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) and Christopher Stancher from the Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) Office are housed on the 6th Floor of the Dow Environmental Sciences & Engineering Building to support faculty and staff in areas related to sponsored programs.

The location of the satellite office provides faculty and staff in the College of Engineering, College of Science and Arts and the School of Technology with direct and convenient access to SPO and SPA.  While on campus, SPO, SPA and the representatives will assess the needs for administrative support related to sponsored programs and provide suggestions on how those needs can be met.

The VPR Office is extremely excited about this opportunity to be located on-campus and looks forward to the personal interaction this location will provide.  For assistance, please stop by rooms 616 and 617 of the Dow Building during normal office hours.

For questions regarding this pilot, please contact Lisa Jukkala in SPO at 487-2226 or Tammy LaBissoniere in SPA at 487-2244.

Michigan Tech is now a member of the Automotive Research Center (ARC)

Becoming aware of existing projects will help you strategically position the projects you propose.  For access to the google folder with details on the RFP, please contact Marlene Lappeus

Automotive Research Center presents
2017 ARC Collaborative Research Seminar
Fall Series
ARC Logo
ARC seminars are free and open to the general public*.
September 22, Friday
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
University of Michigan, UM North Campus, GG Brown Bldg, room 2540 (Grand Conference Room)

Talk 1. Fast Numerical Algorithms for High-fidelity Simulation of Terramechanics
Dr. Shravan Veerapaneni, Assoc. Prof. Mathematics, University of Michigan

The discrete element method (DEM) is one of the most widely used approaches to simulate the dynamics of multiple rigid bodies, specially in terramechanics applications. While the classical DEMs are based on applying penalty forces to handle contact, novel complementarity constraint based approaches (DEM-C) are emerging as promising alternatives that ameliorate the numerical stability issues plaguing the penalty methods. Motivated by prior work at TARDEC, we are interested in developing fast and scalable algorithms for solving the constrained optimization problem that arises in DEM-C. I will discuss the progress by our group in the past year, the challenges that lay ahead and the broader impacts of this direction of research.

Talk 2: Talk Title to be Announced
Dr. Jason Corso, Assoc. Prof. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan

Abstract TBA

October 20, Friday
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
* U.S. Army TARDEC, 6501 E. 11 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48397-5000 
Building 200B TARDEC University Class Rooms A&B

Talk 1. Modeling bi-directional trust in semi-autonomy for improved system performance
Dr. Lionel Robert, Asst. Prof. School of Information, University of Michigan

Talk 2. Novel Hybrid Electric Powertrains Enabled by Models of Electro-Magnetic-Structural Dynamics(project link)
Dr. Bogdan Epureanu, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan

Abstracts TBA

November 17, Friday
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
* U.S. Army TARDEC, 6501 E. 11 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48397-5000 
Building 200B TARDEC University Class Rooms A&B

Talk 1. Intelligent Reconnaissance: An Energy‐Efficient Method for Multi‐Robot Reconnaissance in an Unknown Environment
Dr. Kira Barton, Asst. Prof. Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan

Talk 2. Situational Awareness and Sustained Survivability through Man/Unmanned Teaming
Dr. Dimitra Panagou, Asst. Prof. Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan

Abstracts TBA

—– Mark your calendars —–

ARC 24th Annual Program Review

2018 May 16 – 17, Wednesday – Thursday
University of Michigan, North Campus

ARC Logo

For the latest information,

Parking & directions inquiries: by 2:00pm the day before the seminar

Remote attendance via tele/video-conference:

Refreshments will be served 9:15 – 9:30am. Talks will begin promptly at 9:30am.

* events at TARDEC may be subject to access restrictions

This is a communication of an Automotive Research Center activity. If you wish to be removed from the mailing lists we maintain, please reply to this email with subject line “remove”.
Visit the ARC Website for more events and information about our research.

Understanding the Department of Defense needs.

Volume 4, Issue 3 of the HDIAC Journal is now available online!
View the Journal at
This issue of the HDIAC Journal provides readers insight on five of HDIAC’s eight focus areas. First, the Alternative Energy article discusses conformal, wearable batteries that power warfighter equipment. Next, the CBRN Defense article provides insight on the threats of ammonia and chloride. The Critical Infrastructure Protection article focuses on the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems. The Homeland Defense article discusses red teaming and disruptive innovation. Finally, the Medical article centers on 3-D printed bodies on chips for military applications.

World War I and the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council: A Research Competition

World War I and the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council: A Research Competition

On the occasion of the centennial of World War I, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are pleased to announce an open competition for scholars under the age of 30 to research and write a scholarly paper on a major aspect of how scientists and engineers in the United States were engaged in the World War I effort. The focus, drawing on the creation of the National Research Council associated with World War I, is on institutional changes (e.g., the charter of the NRC) and the research enterprise in America. In effect, scholars should look at how the war experience shaped long-term relationships among scientists and engineers and U.S. policymakers regarding national security and public welfare. Research grants in the amount of $5,000.00 will be available to five scholars who submit the most compelling proposals by December 1, 2017. Proposals will be judged by a NAS review committee, and the authors of the best proposals will be invited to submit fully developed research papers. A winning paper will selected by the review committee, and the paper’s author will be awarded a $10,000.00 prize.

Learn More »

Challenges of the Academic Founder:  Monday Oct 9, 12-1pm

Where:  Memorial Union Building, Ballroom B1
Who:  Ted Dacko,  Arbor Dakota

Many entrepreneurs and companies have great ideas. But growing those great ideas into great companies is more complex than it appears. Customers do not flock to you because you have a great idea. Ted Dacko helps you grow that great idea into a great
company. He specializes in helping early stage tech companies with developing uncontested markets, sharpening their message and presence, improving their sales discipline and achieving the growth
that they, and their investors desire. He combines creativity with experience with hard work to achieve results that will not
We love the dirty, messy, ugly process of early stage company

– Ted Dacko,   Arbor Dakota

You are cordially invited to an open session hosted by the MTEC SmartZone. Ted Dacko, from Ann Arbor Michigan, is a serial entrepreneur with many years experience in turning around and growing various firms.  At this session Ted will share his thoughts on the challenges an academic founder might face when commercializing an idea and starting their company.  This event will take place in Ballroom B1 in the MUB.

Please RSVP!

Graduate/Postdoc Opportunities

Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize honors promising collegiate inventors around the country. The student prize is open to teams of undergraduate students and individual graduate students who have tech-based inventions in categories that represent significant sectors of the economy: healthcare, transportation, food/water and agriculture, and consumer devices. Graduate student winners receive $15,000 each and winning undergraduate teams receive $10,000 each, along with a national media campaign, exposure to investment and business communities, and a trip to MIT for an award celebration in June 2018. Applications are due by September 29, 2017. For more details, visit or contact Janell Ciemiecki, Awards Program Administrator, at

2017 Sustainable Research Pathways Workshop
To facilitate the possible matching of faculty and/or their students with lab research opportunities, selected faculty will be invited to a Dec. 4-5, 2017, workshop at Berkeley Lab. Computing Sciences staff will discuss their research projects and interests and invited faculty will present their work during a poster blitz and poster session.

2017 Chemical and Biological Defense Science & Technology (CBD S&T) Conference
Dates: Nov. 28-30, 2017.
Location: Long Beach, Calif.,
CBD S&T Conference attendees will join more than 1,500 of the most innovative and influential leaders in the chemical and biological defense community. Conference presentations will focus on basic and applied research conducted in specific chemical and biological defense areas.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Pathways Intern Engineering Positions
Various internship opportunities with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

2018 Corps Application Deadlines
Throughout the application process, you’re asked to share the strengths, experiences, and passion you’ll bring to leading a classroom. Prepare your best application. Read our application tips and access available resources.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry of Museum Collections
The Office of Fellowships and Internships is offering an Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship in the area of biomolecular mass spectrometry. Research proposals must focus on mass spectrometry analysis from any type of museum or research sample including artwork, objects, animal, or plant tissues.  Applicants must have completed or be near completion of the Ph.D. Recipients who have not completed the Ph.D. at the time of application must provide proof of completion of the degree before the fellowship begins. Please go here for details on the SI fellowship program.  Applications must be submitted by December 1, 2017.

Intel HPC Developer Conference
The Intel HPC Developer Conference is the premier technical training event to meet and hear from Intel architecture experts and connect with HPC industry leaders. Join in to learn what’s next in HPC, attend technical sessions, hands-on tutorials, and poster chats that cover parallel programming, high productivity languages, artificial intelligence, systems, enterprise, visualization development…and much more.

Mayo Clinic Pathways to Physician and Physician/Scientist Diversity: A National Summit
This summit is designed to encourage a national conversation on current challenges and future solutions by involving a national group of stakeholders in exploring the current state of the access pipeline for under-represented students in medical education. Participants will engage in deconstructing the M.D./M.D.-Ph.D. pathway to identify ways to increase diversity in medicine. Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development Email

Annual CGTrader Scholarship 2017
CGTrader is the largest 3D model marketplace backed by the strong designer community of more than 500k members. CGTrader was founded with the goal to ensure fair marketplace conditions for 3D designers. Enter the CGTrader Scholarship 2017 challenge to win $3,000 for your education bills. The best submission will be awarded $2,000 while the two runners-up will receive $500 each.

from AISES September Membership email.

Martin Ford – Faculty and Staff Only presentation/Q&A – registration reminder

Martin Ford will be visiting our campus this weekend to speak to students, faculty, staff, and the general public regarding topics related to his book “Rise of the Robots” (please see his short bio below)

We have created a special session for faculty to engage with him consisting of a short presentation on artificial intelligence and industry trends followed by a Q & A.

We are asking you please pass this invitation on to all your chairs and faculty.

Who can attend: Faculty Only

Time: Saturday from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

Place: Rosza auditorium

We request that you send this to your faculty, encouraging them to register for this exclusive access event at:

Space is limited. Registration will be open until spots are filled. If faculty cannot make it to this exclusive engagement, there will be an open to public/students/staff/faculty session at 7:30 pm in the Rosza auditorium which they can attend.

Thanks for promoting this exciting event!

Martin Ford Bio:

Martin Ford is the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm and the author of two books: New York Times bestselling Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future and The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future. Rise of the Robots received the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award and was named one of Business Insider’s Best Business Books of the Year. He has over 25 years of experience in computer design and software development, and holds a computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a graduate business degree from UCLA. He has written for publications including Fortune, Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Project Syndicate, The Huffington Post, and The Fiscal Times. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including programs on NPR and CNBC, and is schedule to appear at this year’s TED 2017 conference.