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McCormick Launches New Research Initiative Websites

The McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science has launched five new web sites that focus on new research initiatives at the school. These initiatives emerged from the Dean’s Office’s New Opportunities Workshops, where faculty members meet to identify topics, conceptualize and shape ideas, organize and identify opportunities, and decide on action items. Several past NOW topics are now successful ongoing initiatives. You can read more about them here.

Engineering Markets
The Internet has enabled the creation of large-scale, automated markets for the exchange of goods and services. These developments present new challenges, including computational and informational limitations, difficulties in bidding, pricing and allocation, and potential market manipulation. Engineering Markets — a collaboration between the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Kellogg Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences — explores how we can combine techniques from computer science, information theory and economics to understand these systems and design them to better help society use them.

Healthcare Engineering
Healthcare engineering is the application of engineering methods and problem-solving skills to important problems in healthcare. This interdisciplinary field integrates methods and knowledge from statistics, economics, operations research, and computer science with social, communication, and policy research to address topics ranging from resident rotation policies to the control and tracking of infectious diseases. Northwestern’s Healthcare Engineering education and research program, which incorporates faculty from the McCormick School of Engineering and the Feinberg School of Medicine, emphasizes a systems approach to solving such problems. A graduate studies major is offered.

Humanitarian Logistics
Humanitarian logistics involves the coordination of people, organizations, and materials to deliver goods and services to people in need. At Northwestern University, researchers are actively engaging in many areas of humanitarian logistics, including disaster relief, nonprofit operations and emergency response. Projects focus on approaches to develop and apply modeling and solution technology to promote welfare and equity through the efficient delivery of goods and services. This work involves close partnerships with organizations in the field to solve the complex problems that arise in humanitarian logistics.

Multifunctional Infrastructure Materials
Infrastructure — the roads, bridges, pipelines and other facilities which support the day-to-day activity of our society — plays a key role in the use of energy worldwide. With that in mind, issues of sustainability and energy efficiency should be at the forefront of any new infrastructure projects. Northwestern faculty in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, and Biomedical Engineering explore the enabling technologies for building sustainable infrastructure, from self-healing concrete and steel to CO2-absorbing cement and asphalt.

Systems & Synthetic Biology
Synthetic biology is a nascent technical discipline that seeks to provide a way to harness the diverse repertoire of biology to meet pressing societal needs. These advances may address diverse challenges, including next-generation biofuels, renewable ‘green' chemicals and industrial feedstocks, and programmable biological therapies. Researchers at Northwestern are helping to lead a second wave of design-based biological engineering to look beyond what does exist to what can exist. The Biotechnology, Systems & Synthetic Biology Graduate Cluster offers opportunities for interested students to get involved in this emerging field.