ERC Fact Sheet

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Grantee Reporting Requirements for Engineering Research Centers Program

ERC Fact Sheet

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Engineering Research Centers:
Linking Discovery to Innovation
Driving the discovery, dissemination, and deployment of transformational knowledge and
technologies and a new generation of graduates in service to industry and the Nation
The Engineering Research Centers (ERC) program was created in 1984 to bring technology-based industry and universities
together in an effort to strengthen the competitive position of American industry in the global marketplace. These
partnerships established cross-disciplinary centers focused on advancing fundamental engineering knowledge and
engineered systems technology while exposing students to the integrative aspects of engineered systems and industrial
practice. As a result, over the past 30+ years this partnership has produced a wide range of engineered systems and other
technologies aimed at spawning whole new industries or radically transforming the product lines, processes, and practices
of current industries. At the same time it has produced a new generation of engineering graduates who are highly
innovative, diverse, globally engaged, and effective as technology leaders in industry.
NSF has continually refined the goals and purposes of the ERC program to meet the needs of industry in an increasingly
global economy where the U.S. competitive advantage lies in its capacity to innovate. The goal of today’s ERCs is to create a
culture that actively stimulates technological innovation through partnerships with all relevant stakeholders through
collaborative, team-based convergent research on important and complex societal problems. Given this evolving and
outward-looking program, current and future ERCs are continuing to advance transformational engineered systems and
produce graduates who will be creative innovators in the global economy.
To achieve this goal, ERCs have the following four “Foundational Components”:
• Convergent research (CR) that has the strong potential to lead to transformative solutions or new fields of study.
• Engineering Workforce Development (EWD) that strengthens a robust spectrum of engineering education and
pathways occurring at all levels of the Center and that provides opportunities for engagement by all ERC members
including students, faculty, and external partners.
• Diversity and Culture of Inclusion (DCI) within an ERC and its various teams that reflects an environment in which
all members, including those from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering, feel valued and welcomed.
• An innovation Ecosystem (IE) that involves trusted partners who work together to create and enhance the capacity
for innovation by finding new ways to deliver value with positive societal impact. This includes implementing
effective translational efforts from ideation to implementation, workforce development in support of the enterprise,
and deliberate efforts to attract funding and resources.
From their inception the ERCs have embodied NSF's strategic interests in the integration of research and education, the
integration of science and engineering disciplines, partnerships between academe and industry, and strengthening the
engineering workforce to meet the nation's needs in a global economy. In many ways the program has redefined the
concept of an academic research center, serving as a model for the development of other Centers programs in the U.S. and
around the world. This history is described in the recently published book, Agents of Change: NSF’s Engineering Research
Centers .
Each ERC is established as a 3-way partnership involving academe, industry, and NSF (in some cases with the participation
of state, local, and/or other Federal government agencies). Total annual funding provided directly to each center by the
ERC Program starts at $3.5 million and ramps up to a maximum of $6.0 million.
NSF funds each ERC for up to 10 years. Since 1985, a total of 72 ERCs and 3 Earthquake ERCs * have been formed across the
United States, with 18 ERCs currently in operation. Surveys of industry employers have shown that ERC graduates are
viewed by 80% of their supervisors as being more productive than their peers because their ERC experience has taught
them how to integrate knowledge across disciplines and manage teams to advance technology. A 2010 study of the
impacts of ERC-generated technologies found that the economic value of products and processes deriving from the ERCs
was already in the tens of billions of dollars, with some centers having had a transformational impact on their field of
engineering and technology.
*

Three Earthquake Engineering Research Centers were funded in 1997 with funds outside of the ERC Program but were funded and
managed by the ERC Program from 1999 through their graduation from NSF support.

The major technological areas upon which current
ERCs focus are:
•
•
•
•

Advanced Manufacturing
Biotechnology and Health Care
Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure
Microelectronics, Sensing, and IT

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING
CMaT: ERC for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (Class
of 2017)
Georgia Institute of Technology (lead institution) in
partnership with the University of Georgia, the
University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of
Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
NASCENT: Nanosystems ERC for Nanomanufacturing
Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy
Technologies (Class of 2012)
The University of Texas at Austin (lead institution) in
partnership with the University of New Mexico and the
University of California, Berkeley
BIOTECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH CARE
CELL-MET: Nanosystems ERC for Cellular
Metamaterials (Class of 2017)
Boston University (lead institution) in partnership with
the University of Michigan and Florida International
University
ATP-Bio: ERC for Advanced Technologies for
Preservation of Biological Systems (Class of 2020)
University of Minnesota (lead institution) in partnership
with Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of
California, Berkeley, and the University of California,
Riverside
ASSIST: Nanosystems ERC for Advanced Self-Powered
Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (Class
of 2012)
North Carolina State University (lead institution) in
partnership with Pennsylvania State University, Florida
International University, and University of Virginia
PATHS-UP: ERC for Precise Advanced Technologies and
Health Systems for Underserved Populations (Class of
2017) Texas A&M University (lead institution) in
partnership with the University of California at Los
Angeles, Rice University and Florida International
University
CNT: NSF Engineering Research Center for
Neurotechnology (Class of 2011)

University of Washington in partnership with the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and San Diego
State University
ENERGY, SUSTAINABILITY, AND INFRASTRUCTURE
QESST: ERC for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar
Technologies (Class of 2011)
Arizona State University (lead institution) in partnership
with the California Institute of Technology, the
University of Delaware, the Georgia Institute of
Technology, the University of Houston, the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the
University of New Mexico (co-funded with DOE)
CBBG: ERC for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired
Geotechnics (Class of 2015)
Arizona State University (lead institution) in partnership
with the Georgia Institute of Technology, New Mexico
State University, and the University of California, Davis
IoT4Ag: ERC for the Internet of Things for Precision
Agriculture (Class of 2020)
University of Pennsylvania (lead institution) in
partnership with Purdue University, the University of
California, Merced, and the University of Florida
CISTAR: ERC for Innovative and Strategic
Transformation of Alkane Resources (Class of 2017)
Purdue University (lead institution) in partnership with
the University of New Mexico, Northwestern University,
the University of Notre Dame and the University of
Texas at Austin
NEWT: Nanosystems ERC for Nanotechnology Enabled
Water Treatment Systems (Class of 2015)
Rice University (lead institution) in partnership with
Arizona State University, the University of Texas at El
Paso and Yale University
ReNUWIt: ERC for Re-Inventing America’s Urban
Water Infrastructure (Class of 2011)
Stanford University (lead institution) in partnership with
the University of California, Berkeley, Colorado School
of Mines, and New Mexico State University
CURENT: ERC for Ultra-wide Area Resilient Electric
Energy Transmission Networks (Class of 2011)
University of Tennessee–Knoxville (lead institution) in
partnership with Northeastern University, Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute, and Tuskegee University (cofunded with DOE)
ASPIRE: ERC for Advancing Sustainability through
Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification
(Class of 2020)

Utah State University (lead institution) in partnership
with Purdue University, the University of Colorado, and
the University of Texas at El Paso
MICROELECTRONICS, SENSING, AND IT
CQN: ERC for Quantum Networks (Class of 2020)
University of Arizona (lead institution) in partnership
with Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, and Yale University
TANMS: Nanosystems ERC for Translational
Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (Class
of 2012)
University of California, Los Angeles (lead institution) in
partnership with Cornell University, the University of
California, Berkeley, California State University,
Northridge; Northeastern University, and the University
of Texas at Dallas
POETS: ERC for Power Optimization for ElectroThermal Systems (Class of 2015)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in
partnership with Howard University, Stanford
University, and the University of Arkansas

At the end of their ten-year life-cycle as NSF-supported
Engineering Research Centers, most ERCs graduate
from NSF support and become self-sustaining. Currently
there are 47 graduated ERCs and Earthquake ERCs:
Manufacturing
CEBSM: ERC for Environmentally Benign
Semiconductor Manufacturing — University of Arizona,
Tucson, AZ (lead institution) in partnership with Arizona
State University, the University of California at
Berkeley, Cornell University, MIT, and Stanford
University (established in 1996, graduated in 2006) [this
ERC was jointly funded by the Semiconductor Research
Corporation]
Synberc: Synthetic Biology ERC (now the Engineering
Biology Research Consortium) — University of
California at Berkeley CA (lead institution) in
partnership with Harvard University, the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Prairie View A&M University,
and the University of California at San Francisco
(established in 2006, graduated in 2016)
EDRC: ERC for Engineering Design (now the Institute
for Complex Engineered Systems) — Carnegie Mellon
University (established in 1986, graduated in 1997)
CAEFF: Center for Advanced Engineering of Fibers and
Films — Clemson University, Clemson, SC (lead

institution) in partnership with MIT (established in
1998, graduated in 2008)
PERC: Particle Engineering Research Center —
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (established in
1995, graduated in 2005)
CBiRC: ERC for Biorenewable Chemicals — Iowa State
University (lead institution) in partnership with the
University of California, Irvine, the University of New
Mexico, Rice University, the University of Virginia, and
the University of Wisconsin-Madison (stablished in
2008, graduated in 2018)
SRC: Systems Research Center (now the Institute for
Systems Research) — University of Maryland/Harvard
University (established in 1985, graduated in 1994)
RMS: Center for Reconfigurable Machining Systems —
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (established in
1996, graduated in 2007)
CIE: Center for Interfacial Engineering (now the
Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and
Materials Engineering, or iPrime) — University of
Minnesota (established in 1988, graduated in 1999)
CCEFP: ERC in Compact and Efficient Fluid Power —
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (lead
institution) in partnership with Georgia Institute of
Technology, Purdue University, the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign, Milwaukee School of
Engineering, North Carolina A&T University, and
Vanderbilt University (established in 2006, graduated in
2017)
NSM: ERC for Net Shape Manufacturing — Ohio State
University (established in 1986, graduated in 1997)
CIMS: Center for Intelligent Manufactured Systems —
Purdue University (established in 1985, graduated in
1994)
C-SOPS: Center for Structured Organic Particulate
Systems — Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (lead
institution) in partnership with Purdue University, New
Jersey Institute of Technology, and the University of
Puerto Rico at Mayagüez Francisco (established in 2006,
graduated in 2017)
Biotechnology and Health Care
ECT-ERC: ERC for Emerging Cardiovascular
Technologies — Duke University & other North Carolina
Institutions (established in 1987, graduated in 1998)

GTEC: ERC for the Engineering of Living Tissues (now
the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine Research
Center) — Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
(lead institution) in partnership with Emory University
(established in 1998, graduated in 2008)
CISST: Center for Computer-Integrated Surgical
Systems and Technology — Johns Hopkins University,
Baltimore, MD (lead institution) in partnership with the
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Carnegie Mellon
University, the Johns Hopkins University Hospital, MIT,
and Shady Side Hospital (established in 1998, graduated
in 2008)
BERC: Bioprocess Engineering Research Center —
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
(established in 1985, graduated in 1994)
BPEC: Biotechnology Process Engineering Center —
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
(The BERC recompeted as BPEC and was reestablished
in 1994, graduating in 2005)
CBE: Center for Biofilm Engineering — Montana State
University, Bozeman, MO (established in 1990,
graduated in 2001)
RMB ERC: ERC for Revolutionizing Metallic
Biomaterials — North Carolina A&T State University
(lead institution) in partnership with the University of
Cincinnati and the University of Pittsburgh (established
in 2008, graduated in 2018)
BMES: ERC for Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems —
University of Southern California - Keck School of
Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering, Los
Angeles, CA (lead institution) in partnership with
California Institute of Technology and the University of
California, Santa Cruz (established in 2003, graduated in
2013)
VaNTH: ERC for Bioengineering Educational
Technologies — Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
(lead institution) in partnership with Northwestern
University, the Harvard University-MIT Division of
Health Sciences and Technology, and the University of
Texas at Austin (established in 1999, graduated in 2007)
UWEB: Engineered Biomaterials Engineering Research
Center — University of Washington, Seattle, WA
(established in 1996, graduated in 2007)
Energy, Environment, and Infrastructure
ACERC: Advanced Combustion Engineering Research
Center — Brigham Young University/University of Utah
(established in 1986, graduated in 1997)

MCEER: Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake
Engineering Research — University at Buffalo (lead
institution) in partnership with Cornell University,
University of Delaware, University of Nevada at Reno,
and University of Southern California, as well as other
collaborating institutions and private entities
throughout the U.S. (established in 1997, graduated in
2007)
ATLSS: Center for Advanced Technology for Large
Structural Systems — Lehigh University (established in
1986, graduated in 1997)
PEER: Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center
— University of California at Berkeley, CA (lead
institution) in partnership with California Institute of
Technology, Stanford University, University of California
at Davis, University of California at Irvine, University of
California at Los Angeles, University of California at San
Diego, the University of Southern California, the
University of Washington, and nine affiliate institutions
(established in 1997, graduated in 2007)
MAE Center: Mid-America Earthquake Center —
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (lead
institution) in partnership with Georgia Institute of
Technology, the University of Memphis, MIT, St. Louis
University, Texas A&M University, and Washington
University (established in 1997, graduated in 2008)
FREEDM: ERC for Future Renewable Electric Energy
Delivery and Management Systems — North Carolina
State University (lead institution) in partnership with
Arizona State University, Florida A&M University,
Florida State University, Missouri University of Science
and Technology (established in 2008, graduated in
2018)
OTRC: Offshore Technology Research Center — Texas
A&M University/University of Texas (established in
1988, graduated in 1999)
Micro/Optoelectronics, Sensing, and IT
CIAN: ERC for Integrated Access Networks —
University of Arizona (lead institution) in partnership
with the California Institute of Technology, Columbia
University, Norfolk State University, Stanford
University, Tuskegee University, the Universities of
California at Berkeley, San Diego, and Los Angeles, and
the University of Southern California (established in
2008, graduated in 2018)
CNSE: Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering
— California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
(established in 1995, graduated in 2005)

DSSC: Data Storage Systems Center — Carnegie Mellon
University, Pittsburgh, PA (established in 1990,
graduated in 2001)
OCS: Optoelectronic Computing Systems Center —
University of Colorado/Colorado State University
(established in 1987, graduated in 1998)
EUV ERC: ERC for Extreme Ultraviolet Science &
Technology Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
(lead institution) in partnership with the University of
Colorado at Boulder and the University of California at
Berkeley (established in 2003, graduated in 2013)
CTR: Center for Telecommunications Research —
Columbia University (established in 1985, graduated in
1996)
ORC: Packaging Research Center (now the 3D Systems
Packaging Research Center) — Georgia Institute of
Technology, Atlanta, GA (established in 1995,
graduated in 2005)
CCSM: Center for Compound Semiconductor
Microelectronics — University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign (established in 1986, graduated in 1997)
CASA: ERC for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the
Atmosphere — University of Massachusetts, Amherst,
MA (lead institution) in partnership with Colorado State
University, University of Oklahoma, and University of
Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (established in 2003,
graduated in 2013)
LESA: Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications ERC —
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (lead institution) in
partnership with Boston University and the University
of New Mexico (established in 2008, graduated in 2018)
CCFS: Center for Computational Field Simulation —
Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
(established in 1990, graduated in 2001)
AEMP: Center for Advanced Electronic Materials
Processing — North Carolina State University & other
N. Carolina Institutions (established in 1988, graduated
in 1999)

WIMS: Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems
— University of Michigan (lead institution) in
partnership with Michigan State University and
Michigan Technological University (established in 2000,
graduated in 2010)
CenSSIS: Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging
Systems — (now the Bernard M. Gordon Center for
Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems) Northeastern
University (lead institution) in partnership with Boston
University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University
of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Brigham and Women’s
Hospital, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,
Massachusetts General Hospital, and Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution (established in 2000,
graduated in 2010)
MIRTHE: ERC on Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health
and the Environment — Princeton University,
Princeton, NJ (lead institution) in partnership with the
City University of New York, the Johns Hopkins
University, Texas A&M University, the University of
Maryland–Baltimore County, and Rice University
(established in 2006, graduated in 2016)
IMSC: Integrated Media Systems Center — University
of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (established in
1996, graduated in 2007)
CPES: Center for Power Electronics Systems — Virginia
Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA
(lead institution) in partnership with North Carolina
A&T State University, University of Puerto Rico at
Mayagüez, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and
University of Wisconsin at Madison (established in
1998, graduated in 2008)
Engineering Research Centers Program
Engineering Education and Centers Division
Directorate for Engineering
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., Rm. 585
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: (703) 292-8381
Fax:
(703) 292-9051
TDD:
(703) 292-5090
Division: http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=EEC
ERC Association: http://www.erc-assoc.org


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