Research Focus Areas

Grainger engineers are setting their sights higher than ever. 

The technological landscape is constantly evolving and intricately entwined in human lives, impacting our behavior, health, and our ability to perceive and understand the world around us. The researchers at Grainger Engineering work day and night to create solutions for the complex challenges that arise from these changes. We're setting moon-shot and even Mars-shot goals for ourselves to meet and exceed the demands for an advanced, sustainable and healthy future.

Discover what Grainger engineers are working on today to solve the problems of tomorrow. 

Research Areas


Artistic graphic illustration of artificial intelligence with brain on a computer chip.

AI & Digital Transformations

Machine and deep learning, conversational AI and more applications across industries. 

Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate teaching assistant, John Pohovey, oversees an ECE 484 - Principles of Safe Autonomy class at the The Highbay Testbed facility in Champaign Dec. 2023.

Autonomy & Transportation

Safety, human-centered design, systems and algorithms, vision and monitoring. 

Renewable energy of the future is here in the present as the Twin Groves Wind Farm in central Illinois produces green energy off of 240 operating wind turbines, each standing 280 ft. tall with three 120-foot-long blades.

Climate & Sustainability

Sustainable materials and production, clean energy, minimizing waste, water resources and more.

The Spidercam system at the Energy Farm at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign hovers above a field of crops.

Digital Agriculture

AI farms, automation, data  and sustainability.

Energy Transitions

Micro nuclear reactors, hydrogen fuel cells, self-healing batteries and electrification.

Graphic of digital twin with keyboard, screen, and heart.

Engineering & Medicine

Disease detection, health data management and privacy, cancer research and more.

Close up of microchip in a hand

Microelectronics & Semiconductors

Design, computing, manufacturing and training the workforce.


Quantum information, computing, networking, sensing and more.

Research Never Sleeps

In the world of engineering research, turning a concept into a solution is paved with challenges, which requires substantial funding and a commitment to work that can span decades. This dedication can translate into working longer hours, which sometimes stretch into the night.

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Featured Research Stories


Advanced AR glove brings immersive details to the digital world

Electrical and computer engineering assistant professor Craig Shultz unveiled a cutting-edge haptic glove at the User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) Conference.

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Precision medicine model uses AI to target ASD

Electrical and computer engineering professor Ravishankar Iyer is developing an AI solution to support physicians by suggesting proposed treatments based on datasets too complex for a physician to review manually.

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Genetic sequencing uncovers unexpected source of pathogens in floodwaters

Researchers report that local rivers and streams were the source of the Salmonella enterica contamination along coastal North Carolina after Hurricane Florence. 

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