The Role of Engineering to Address Climate Change
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ERVA launches April 15 to identify engineering research priorities
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NSF Engineering Research
Visioning Alliance
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November 2 - November 3

The goal of ERVA Visioning Events is to identify specific areas that are nascent or require additional exploration with the potential for the greatest return on investment. Accordingly, we seek multi-disciplinary researchers who can help ERVA identify less-explored, basic and use-inspired lines of research ripe for engineering community pursuit.

Virtual Visioning Event: Sustainable Transportation Networks

Innovative and sustainable transportation modes and infrastructure networks are required to support a vibrant society. Personal and business travel, in addition to freight transport, rely on a resilient and safe transportation network to maintain a robust economy. The future of transportation networks is greatly influenced by transportation modes, like cars, trucks, trains, boats, airplanes, and the next generation of transportation. New transportation networks and modality development must consider efficient energy use, low or no emissions, alternative materials, novel manufacturing processes, effectiveness and efficiency, and appropriate levels of automation and connectivity. Equally important are affordability, as well as positive impacts on the community that include but are not limited to social and economic sustainability, better accessibility to services, and reconnecting communities.

Current research sub themes:

Green construction, infrastructure, and longitudinal impact studies
Self-healing roads, rails, etc. using new materials
Interconnected transportation modes (on-road and non-road that include rail, marine, and air transport)
Transportation equity in society

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August 10 @ 11:00 am - August 11 @ 2:00 pm

MIT Industrial Liaison Program

MIT co-hosted ERVA's visioning event that convened top researchers from various sectors to consider the theme of Engineering R&D Solutions for Unhackable Infrastructure.

ERVA visioning events broadly identify specific research areas where additional investment can have transformational change and help mobilize the engineering research community to provide innovative and non-incremental solutions for societal benefit. This visioning event will include discussion of both future infrastructure requirements and scenarios, and future innovations in security that protect this infrastructure.

Breakout areas for exploration included:

Future Technology Addressing the Role of Humans
Measuring and Verifying Security (Metrics)
Architecting Trustworthy Systems
Future Approaches to Autonomous Security
New Approaches to Resilience in Interdependent Infrastructures

March 9 @ 11:00 am - March 10 @ 5:00 pm

View the archived event page, agenda, and meet the speakers.

ERVA is charged with the strategic convening of interdisciplinary groups of experts to collaboratively identify bold and transformative new engineering research directions. ERVA visioning events provide unique opportunities for selected participants to advance our goal of catalyzing the pursuit of innovative, high-impact research that benefits society. 

Our second visioning event explored the topic of Leveraging Biology to Power Engineering Impact. The interface of biology and engineering continues to provide incredibly rich opportunities for impact as well as mutual advancement for both fields.

Workshop attendance was carefully curated. Participants were identified and invited based on their research and expertise, taking into account ERVA’s identity as a diverse, inclusive, and engaged partnership that enables an array of voices to impact national research priorities. Such considerations include an overall participant list diverse by dimensions including but not limited to: research discipline; geographic location; organization sector and type; gender; race/ethnicity; and career stage.

The report that results from this event will include high-value findings that identify less-explored lines of research ripe for engineering community pursuit with potential for the greatest return on investment.

NSF's Assistant Director of the Engineering Directorate provided opening remarks and engaged provocative pioneers in conversation following talks pondering progressing things thought to be nearly impossible to inspire participants' quest over two days towards identifying engineering research "unknown unknowns" that can benefit society.
Motivating Talk: Plant Based Biohybrid Systems
Eleni Stavrinidou, Linköping University, Associate Professor and Principal Investigator at Electronic Plants
Motivating Talk: Diversity & Agency at the Multidisciplinary Frontiers of Technology
David Kong, MIT Media Lab, Synthetic Biologist
Motivating Talk: Impossible is a Matter of Perspective
Sarah Richardson, MicroByre, CEO

Visioning Event Summary

The interface of biology and engineering continues to provide incredibly rich opportunities for impact as well as mutual advancement for both fields. The application of engineering principles of design and analysis to biological systems and biomedical technologies has yielded important advances for healthcare and medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, and other application areas. The field of Bioreplacements, for example, illustrates how understanding biology can be used to inform the design of engineered components that can then be used to replace or improve biological systems. Human quality of life may be improved through the restoration of sensory, motor, or cognitive functions using engineered devices or systems. Increasing interest focuses on the development of wearable devices that not only monitor but also modulate human biology for enhanced health.

However, the natural world provides many sources of inspiration for engineering novel systems beyond those used to restore or augment human function. Here we group some of these approaches under the heading: Leveraging Biology to Power Engineering Impact.

Three general approaches through which engineering can achieve impact via leveraging knowledge and understanding of natural biological systems are identified as being of interest:

Each of these areas offers exciting potential for genuine engineering advances, leveraging biology to power engineering impact. To maximize the potential will require deliberate articulation of parameters and constraints at this intersection of biology and engineering.

12•07•2021 @ 11:00 am - 12•08•2021 @ 5:00 pm EST

ERVA is charged with the strategic convening of interdisciplinary groups of experts to collaboratively identify bold and transformative new engineering research directions. ERVA visioning events will provide unique opportunities for selected participants to advance the ERVA goal of catalyzing the pursuit of innovative, high-impact research that benefits society.  Our inaugural visioning event will explore The Role of Engineering in Addressing Climate Change. As outlined in a recent White House priorities memo, “the United States and the world face a profound climate crisis with a narrow moment to pursue action to avoid the most catastrophic impacts and to seize the opportunities that tackling climate change presents.” The goal of this event is to identify specific areas that are nascent or require additional exploration with potential for the greatest return on investment; participants will help ERVA identify less-explored, basic and use-inspired lines of research ripe for engineering community pursuit.

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About the Visioning Event

View the Agenda | Meet the Speakers

Workshop attendance is carefully curated. Participants have been identified and are invited based on their research and expertise, taking into account ERVA’s identity as a diverse, inclusive, and engaged partnership that enables an array of voices to impact national research priorities. Such considerations include an overall participant list diverse by dimensions including but not limited to: research discipline; geographic location; organization sector and type; gender; race/ethnicity; and career stage.

In spring 2022, ERVA will release its inaugural visioning report on the engineering community’s role in addressing climate change, the first in a series of thematic reports that will help set priorities for the future of engineering. The report will include high-value findings in the engineering community's pursuit in the battle against climate change.

Infrastructure, energy, and environmental scientist Mikhail Chester, director of the Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University, kicks off the event with a discussion about the increasingly uncertain factors that are creating wicked and complex challenges in the future.
In this orienting session, Daniel Calto and Bamini Jayabalasingham of Elsevier offer an overview of findings from their bibliometric analysis of a thematic publication set that represents the intersection of engineering and climate change.
This panel discussion focuses on a potential "how" for addressing climate change: Engineering institutes that can accelerate research. Featuring Vijay Kumar, University of Pennsylvania; David Hart, George Mason University; Pramod Khargonekar, UC Irvine; Benji Manuyama, Air Force Research Laboratory; and Cristina Thomas, 3M.
Watch the closing charge from Benjamin Preston of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
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