Research and Faculty
Northwestern is a diverse and dynamic research institution with a host of interdisciplinary research centers and programs whose results benefit millions of people around the world.
Jump to a Section
- Collaborative Research
- Key Collaborators
- Solving Global Problems
- World-Class Faculty
- Interdisciplinary Research Centers & Institutes
Our world is changing at an accelerated pace, and the boundaries between disciplines are blurring. Under these dynamic conditions, we face global challenges at a scale never before seen.
At Northwestern, we are making strategic investments in research areas that will drive our progress in the coming years. As these areas intersect, they provide focal points that connect our faculty and students throughout the school.
In addition to collaborating with the different schools and departments across campus and serving as a hub for Northwestern’s interdisciplinary research efforts, engineering researchers have ongoing collaborations with dozens of universities, organizations, and research centers worldwide. These collaborations are changing the world and expanding the boundaries of our established knowledge.
Northwestern's engineering research enterprise funds more than 1,000 researchers in more than 250 labs.
While the majority of Northwestern’s research funding comes from government sources, corporate sponsored research represents a growing opportunity for engineering professors. Companies now fund more than 10 percent of research at the school.
Patent and Startup Support
Engineering professors work with Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) to turn their research and innovations into patents and businesses. A hub for innovation, Northwestern Engineering is consistently responsible for half of all the University’s invention disclosures and faculty startups.
Through the Northwestern-Argonne Institute for Science and Engineering (NAISE), engineering faculty regularly partner with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, one of the nation’s oldest and largest science research centers and home to some of the most high-tech facilities in the world.
Northwestern engineers work closely with professors and physicians at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS) to advance medical progress and inspire new partnerships.
The Center for Engineering and Health (CEH), a joint venture of the Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Engineering, looks to develop solutions for better patient outcomes and more efficient, cost-effective healthcare through the use of advanced analytics, mathematical modeling, and operations research.
Northwestern engineers collaborate frequently with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the nation’s top-ranked rehabilitation center, to design better rehabilitation robotics and artificial limbs.
Solving Global Problems
Northwestern Engineering’s strategic priorities drive our research areas to address some of the most challenging global problems today:
- Systems research ranges from data mining and optimization to synthetic biology and network analysis
- Materials research encompasses everything from computational design of new materials to developing nanomaterials for energy applications
- Health and wellness research includes the development of new tools for diagnosing cancer, less expensive medical devices for emergent nations, and models of how biological processes work
- Energy and environment research aims to find new ways to harness energy sources while making current sources more sustainable
Global Initiatives help all Northwestern Engineering scholars – including faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates – to engage in the global marketplace of talents and ideas and to develop research collaborations worldwide.
Our award-winning faculty, including several national academy members, across disciplines to create new knowledge while maintaining a solid grounding in the fundamentals. They transfer their expertise and passion for their fields to every student and collaborator as they continue to advance scientific and engineering knowledge.
Interdisciplinary Research Centers and Institutes
Centers Based in Northwestern Engineering
- Center for Computation and Theory of Soft Materials (CCTSM)
- Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies (CIGHT)
- Center for Intelligent Processing of Composites (CIPC)
- Center for Photonic Communications and Computing (CPCC)
- Center for Quantum Devices (CQD)
- Center for Quality Control and Failure Prevention (CQCFP)
- Center for Surface Engineering and Tribology (CSET)
- Center for Ultra-scale Computing and Information Security (CUCIS)
- Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics
- Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (FCEI)
- Institute for Catalysis in Energy Processes (ICEP)
- Materials Research Institute (MRI)
- Northwestern Center for Engineering Education Research (NCEER)
- Center for Optimization and Statistical Learning
- Steel Research Group (SRG)
- Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)
- Segal Design Institute
- The Transportation Center (TC)
Engineering-related Centers Reporting to Northwestern’s Vice President of Research
- Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center (ANSER)
- Center for BioInspired Energy Science (CBES)
- Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics
- Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS)
- Center for Synthetic Biology
- Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO)
- International Institute for Nanotechnology
- Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)
- Northwestern-Argonne Institute for Science and Engineering (NAISE)
- Northwestern Initiative for Manufacturing Science and Innovation
- Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS)