UIUC's Grainger College of Engineering leads U.S. engineering schools in NSF CAREER Awards

7/19/2021 6:53:23 AM

Kim Gudeman

Over the past five years, faculty in The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have racked up 72 NSF CAREER Awards, the highest of any U.S. college of engineering. The total includes 15 awards in 2021.

NSF CAREER Awards recognize early-career faculty “who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization,” according to the National Science Foundation website.

“This accomplishment means that really excellent new faculty are coming here year after year who are creative and have brilliant ideas and a lot of energy,” said Harley Johnson,  the associate dean for research in The Grainger College of Engineering. “This is a great place for a new faculty member to start their career and to be surrounded by peers who are also successful.”

The NSF CAREER Award is given to tenure-track faculty, usually assistant professors, in the first five years of their career. The award, which provides funding of about $500,000 for five years, is often an early indication of faculty will go on to be leaders in their discipline.

Faculty can submit a proposal for the award up to three times. Over the past five years, there has been an uptick in the number of faculty being selected on the first or second submission, another indication of the high quality of young researchers at UIUC, according to Johnson, a professor of mechanical science and engineering and a former CAREER Award winner himself.

“The future of our college and research enterprise is really bright,” he said. “These junior faculty are hitting their stride and building their research programs. Over the next years, they will become senior faculty who are really successful. I’m very excited about the prospects.”

Congratulations to this year’s winners below:

Subhonmesh Bose
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Mohammed El-Kebir
Assistant Professor
Computer Science
Michael A. Forbes
Assistant Professor
Computer Science
Bin Hu
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sanmi Koyejo
Assistant Professor
Computer Science
Bo Li
Assistant Professor
Computer Science
Kathryn Matlack
Assistant Professor
Mechanical Science and Engineering
Joao Ramos
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Alexander Schwing
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ilan Shomorony
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Alireza Talebpour
Assistant Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Aimy Wissa
Assistant Professor
Mechanical Science and Engineering
Richard Y. Zhang
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
X. Shelly Zhang
Assistant Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jin Zhou
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering