NSF’s Ten Big Ideas
Advancing the Frontiers of Science and Engineering
Directorate for Engineering
National Science Foundation
Sponsored by PSW Member Robert E. Terry
About the Lecture
NSF’s Big Ideas represent areas that have been identified as ripe for rapid advancement and significant societal impacts. These ideas require basic, fundamental research, with input from multiple disciplines, and teams of researchers coming together to solve the big challenges. This talk will present all 10 Big Ideas. Six of the Big Ideas are research directions, such as the Quantum Leap and Understanding the Rules of Life. The other four Big Ideas are process ideas, such as NSF INCLUDES for broadening participation in STEM, and NSF 2026 for identifying the next group of Big Ideas. The talk will also describe Convergence Accelerators, a new structure NSF will launch this fiscal year for performing cross-disciplinary research in an accelerated fashion.
NSF has been building a foundation for the Big Ideas through pioneering research and pilot activities since 2018. In 2019, NSF will invest $30 million in each of the Research Big Ideas, and significant amounts in the Process Big Ideas. NSF will continue to identify and support emerging opportunities for U.S. leadership in Big Ideas that serve the Nation’s future. The talk will review plans for each of the Big Ideas in the FY2019 budget and beyond. Outcomes from a few of the pilot projects will be presented, highlighting the potential impact these programs’ funding of fundamental research is having on society.
About the Speaker
Dawn M. Tilbury is Assistant Director for the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation, and she is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Dawn’s research has been broadly in the area of control systems, including applications to robotics and manufacturing systems. She is an author on more than 150 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and she is co-author (with Joseph Hellerstein, Yixin Diao, and Sujay Parekh) of the textbookFeedback Control of Computing Systems. She has served on many government and industry advisory councils and committees, and in addition to teaching a wide variety of courses at Ann Arbor, she has advised more that 20 PhD students.
Among other honors, Dawns is an elected Fellow of the IEEE, an ASME Fellow, and a Life Member of SWE. She has been awarded the EDUCOM Medal (with William Messner), the AACC’s Eckman Award, the SWE Distinguished Engineering Educator Award, and the Rabins Leadership Award of the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division.
Dawn earned her BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and her MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC – Berkeley.