Solutions for Doing Good

Taking on today’s pressing challenges – intractable and emerging diseases, cybersecurity, aging infrastructures, big data management, and natural resources conservation, for example – requires expertise from many disciplines. So we focus our research on far-reaching, interdisciplinary team projects and connect our capabilities to the issues that most need our attention.

UA College of Engineering faculty and graduate students, and many undergraduates, are collaborating with researchers across the University of Arizona and around the globe on projects that improve quality of life.

Our research portfolio includes 100 projects with an annual expenditure of $32 million. Major sources of funding include NASA, the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Among funders from private industry are Raytheon, Honeywell, Boeing, Texas Instruments, Edmund Optics, Ventana Medical Systems and Tucson Electric Power.

Solutions for doing good.

Focus Areas

  • Sustainability and Infrastructure – water treatment and reuse, bioremediation, biofuels and renewables, energy efficiency and storage, autonomous systems, traffic and transit systems, cost estimation, data management, infrastructure networks
  • Biomedical Systems and Devices – sensors, imaging, biomaterials, wearable devices, mobile diagnostics and testing
  • Defense and Homeland Security – explosives detection, active flow control for air and space flight, robotics, cybersecurity, wireless communication, space object behavioral sciences
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Materials – materials testing in extreme environments, nanotechnology and metamaterials design, computational modeling to predict properties and build stronger materials, mining logistics
Focus areas and featured projects

Video Overview

Graduate Programs at UA ENGR

Wearable Innovations

Science in Seconds: The ACTIVATE Project

Bioelectronics: Erin Ratcliff


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Connecting capabilities to the most pressing needs on Earth, and beyond

infinite possibilities
Research Magazine

See the College’s Arizona Engineering Research magazine for more information on these and other projects

Featured Initiatives

Transportation Research Institute

Transportation Research Institute

Building Smart Cities

Four Engineering professors are among researchers working on smart cities, shared mobility, connected vehicles and driverless cars. Larry Head, UA professor of systems and industrial engineering, is creating a smart platform for connected vehicles and traffic signals.
Institute for Energy Solutions

Institute for Energy Solutions

Integrating Renewable Energy

UA researchers like Kimberly Ogden – a professor of chemical and environmental engineering who is cultivating algae for fuel – are focused on reliably integrating renewable energy into the grid and developing technology for energy conversion and storage.

Research Centers and Institutes

The college leads and partners in a number of high-profile centers, institutes, labs and facilities on campus. Many involve collaboration with industry, other universities and government agencies. Below are some of them.

Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation
The ACABI is aimed at developing novel solutions to the broad range of continuously emerging unsolved problems and unmet needs in health care, well care and overall individual well-being, in the rapidly evolving world and society in which we live.

Director: Marvin J. Slepian 

Arizona Materials Laboratory
The AML hosts a large array of equipment needed for research in materials science and engineering. This equipment is also available to the scientific community and industry.

Director: Pierre Deymier

Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy
AzRISE is a response to the challenge of planning for large-scale, affordable solar energy power generation and training the workforce that will make the transition possible. Research goals include identifying, funding and coordinating Arizona-specific solar energy research opportunities, developing intellectual property and promoting development and widespread adoption of solar energy.

Director: Kelly Simmons Potter

Arizona Research Center for Hypersonics
The University of Arizona is a global leader in the field of hypersonics. Ideally situated in the heart of aerospace and defense industry, the institution boasts a unique array of resources, laboratories and world-renowned researchers, dedicated to breaking new ground and pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Contact: David Hahn

Broadband Wireless Access and Applications Center
BWAC researchers are developing technology and standards to overcome challenges associated with user access and spectrum ability to support the tremendous growth in wireless data traffic.

Director: Marwan Krunz

Center for Applied Transportation Sciences (CATS)
The Center for Applied Transportation Sciences in the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona works with partnering agencies and institutions on research and education in transportation systems management and operations, and performance management, as well as mobility on demand. Additionally, the center prepares students for jobs involving development of multimodal transportation systems.

Director: Yao-Jan Wu

Center for Quantum Networks
CQN is laying the foundations of the quantum internet, as part of a $26M grant from the National Science Foundation, with an additional $24.6 million option. The University of Arizona is leading the center with core partners Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.

Director: Saikat Guha 

Center to Stream Healthcare In Place

C2SHIP is a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center led by the University of Arizona in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, University of Southern California and Caltech. Its mission is to engage academic and industrial partners in developing in-place health care technologies and help establish healthcare equity. In addition to researching the design and manufacture of wearable sensors, the team is also developing machine learning models to extract meaningful information from these sensors and display it for care providers and patients.

Director: Janet Meiling Roveda

Co-directors:  Kathleen Melde, Hao Xin and Ao Li

Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources
Recognizing that the sustainable development of mineral resources is fundamental to the prosperity of the United States in the next century, the Lowell Institute fosters and expands the USGS-university-private partnerships to undertake mineral resource scientific research and inventories.

Co-director: Mark Barton

Co-director: Mary Poulton

Nano Fabrication and Processing Center
Several advanced research projects are underway in the Nano Fabrication and Processing laboratory, including research projects supported by the National Science Foundation, Sematech, and private sponsors. The Center for Micro Contamination Control and the Center for Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing also conduct major research in the laboratory.

Director: Omid Mahdavi

New Frontiers of Sound (NewFoS) Science & Technology Center

NewFoS research focuses on the application of the emerging field of topological acoustics to a wide variety of research areas. Topological acoustics allows researchers to observe and exploit properties of sound that were previously invisible, similar to viewing the field with a fresh set of eyes—or, better yet, listening to it with a new pair of ears.

Director: Pierre A. Deymier

NSF/UA Cloud and Autonomic Computing Center
CAC’s research is focused on cloud computing systems and applications and the use of autonomic computing methods for the management of these and other IT systems.

Co-director: Salim Hariri

Co-director: Ali Akoglu

SRC Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing
Work in the SRC Engineering Research Center focuses on studies in the areas of ultrapure water, water recycling, plasma processes, wet chemicals, chemical-mechanical polishing and risk assessment to reduce the environmental impact of semiconductor manufacturing.

Director: Farhang Shadman

Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center
Led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab, this $115M project boasts three University of Arizona engineers. The SQMS Center combines the theoretical and experimental expertise of individual research groups to advance long-term success of quantum technologies.

Bane Vasić 
Zheshen Zhang 

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