Engineering Buzz

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Mark RileyThe College of Engineering had outstanding research activity throughout the 2018 academic year. 

This diligence has led to the highest sponsored project expenditures in quite some time. “Often, we hear about reaching such financial goals as a measure of success; however, what is most important are the good works that come from access of dollars provided by our sponsors and partners as investments in our people,” explained Mark Riley, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering. 

New funding garnered for projects in AY 2018 is distributed with 11 percent in the area of Biomedical Engineering and Health Care Environments; 4 percent in Energy Materials and Energy Systems; 20 percent for Engineering in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life Sciences; 24 percent for Materials and Manufacturing; 18 percent for National Defense and Security; and 22 percent for Transportation and the Built Environment. 

Academic year 2019 year to date (from July 2018 – present) is about $6 million in new sponsored awards ahead of last year at this time. 


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln ranked No. 61 among 129 top public national universities and No. 129 among 301 national universities, both public and private.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln programs’ No. 61 ranking in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings is in part fueled by the College of Engineering’s rise to No. 80 among U.S. undergraduate engineering programs.

The college was ranked No. 80 among U.S. undergraduate engineering programs, improving from No. 82 last year.

“The latest improvement in our ranking is one of many indicators of the college’s positive trajectory,” said Lance C. Pérez, dean of the College of Engineering and Omar H. Heins Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Our enhanced national reputation is a direct reflection of the investments made in the college by the university, the state, Nebraska industry and donors.”

Nebraska also was recognized as No. 95 among 145 national universities designated as best value schools and was included in a list of 96 institutions designated as “A+ Schools for B students.”

The “best value” designation is based on academic excellence compared to cost and financial aid, while top-scoring schools that admit a meaningful number of students without A averages in high school are designated as “A+ for B students.”

For its 2019 rankings, U.S. News gathered data from more than 1,600 colleges and universities in spring 2018. Schools were divided into categories for comparison, such as national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional colleges. They were scored in 16 areas such as student outcomes, faculty resources, expert opinions, financial resources and alumni giving.


Engineering faculty John Woollam and Benjamin Terry were among the college’s faculty recognized at the November 6 NUtech Ventures Innovator Celebration.

John WoollamWoollam, George Holmes Distinguished University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received the Prem S. Paul Innovator of the Year Award. The award recognizes an individual who exemplifies innovation and entrepreneurship by advancing novel research into significant commercial use. Terry, associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering, received the Breakthrough Innovation of the Year Award.

Woollam is an internationally known expert in ellipsometry and a UNL faculty member since 1979. He is the founder and president of J.A. Woollam, a worldwide leader in the production of spectroscopic ellipsometry instrumentation, which measures the properties of thin films — critical to electronics manufacturing and other industries. The company’s instruments and software are used in solar cells, energy efficient windows, smartphones and televisions.

Ben TerryHonored with the Breakthrough Innovation of the Year Award, Terry and co-inventors developed a capsule-based mechanism that attaches to the gastrointestinal tract. The capsule can be used as a biosensor, providing real-time data monitoring and diagnostics, and has applications for drug delivery.

The annual celebration, which is part of the fall Nebraska Research Fair, features faculty who have worked with NUtech to commercialize promising new technologies, including faculty who have launched their own companies.

As the university’s nonprofit technology commercialization affiliate, NUtech evaluates, protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed through Nebraska research activities — with the goal of promoting economic development and improving quality of life.


The University of Nebraska system ranked among the top 100 academic institutions worldwide in earning U.S. patents during 2017, says a new report from the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association.

The NU system earned the 70th-most U.S. patents to legally protect research discoveries and technological advances, according to the report. Those patents are awarded through the system’s technology transfer offices, which include NUTech Ventures at UNL and UNeMed Corp. at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and UNO. NUtech Ventures works with Husker faculty to identify opportunities for protecting, marketing and licensing intellectual property. The NU system earned 37 patents in 2017, with Husker researchers named as inventors on 27 of them.

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