Engineering Research Centers
The NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) program supports convergent research, education, and technology translation at U.S. universities that will lead to strong societal impacts.
Each ERC has interacting foundational components that go beyond the research project, including engineering workforce development at all participant stages, a culture of diversity and inclusion where all participants gain mutual benefit, and value creation within an innovation ecosystem that will outlast the lifetime of the ERC.
Since the program's start in 1985, NSF has funded 75 ERCs throughout the United States. NSF supports each center for up to 10 years. This investment has led to many successes:
- more than 240 spinoff companies,
- more than 900 patents,
- more than 14,400 total bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees to ERC students, and
- numerous research outcomes enabling new technologies
Over the years, the ERC program has adapted to meet the nation's future workforce and technological needs. In late fiscal year (FY) 2020, NSF launched the 4th generation of centers, known as Gen-4 ERCs. In FY 2022, NSF announced four additional ERCs.
Learn more about the ERCs and their impacts in a new report (PDF).Funding opportunities
NSF has funding opportunities for prospective and current centers:
- Gen-4 Engineering Research Centers (ERC)
- Planning Grants for Engineering Research Centers (ERC)
- Dear Colleague Letter: Opportunity for Active EFRI, ERC and IUCRC Awardees to Apply for Supplemental Funding through the Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) Program
As of August 2022, NSF supports 15 ERCs in advanced manufacturing, energy and environment, health and infrastructure.
|FY 2020||1941524||ASPIRE||Center for Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification
Utah State University in partnership with Purdue University, University of Colorado, and University of Texas at El Paso
ASPIRE seeks to create sustainable, equitable, and widespread electrification of vehicles by creating low-cost, ubiquitous, and worry-free charging.
|FY 2020||1941543||ATP-Bio||Center for Advanced Technologies for Preservation of Biological Systems
University of Minnesota in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital; University of California, Berkeley; and University of California, Riverside
ATP-Bio aims to stop biological time by designing methods to cryogenically cool, hold, and re-warm living materials without harm, extending our ability to bank and transport them.
|FY 2022||2133576||CASFER||Center for Advancing Sustainable and Distributed Fertilizer Production
Texas Tech University in partnership with Case Western Reserve University, Florida A&M University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The CASFER ERC will enable resilient and sustainable food production by developing next-generation, modular, distributed, and efficient technology for capturing, recycling, and producing decarbonized nitrogen-based fertilizers.
|FY 2015||1448501||CBBG||Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics
Arizona State University in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, New Mexico State University, and the University of California, Davis
CBBG employs or mimics natural biological processes and materials to engineer the ground in ways that reduce infrastructure development lifecycle costs and impacts while mitigating natural hazards and environmental degradation.
|FY 2017||1648035||CMaT||Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies
Georgia Institute of Technology in partnership with the University of Georgia, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Puerto Rico
CMaT's vision is to enable robust, scalable, low-cost biomanufacturing of high-quality therapeutic cells to bring affordable, curative therapies against incurable chronic diseases to everyone.
|FY 2017||1647837||CELL-MET||Center for Cellular Metamaterials
Boston University in partnership with Florida International University and the University of Michigan
CELL-MET aims to transform cardiovascular care by combining breakthroughs in nanotechnology and manufacturing with tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, while also developing areas of expertise in education, diversity, administration, and outreach.
|FY 2017||1647722||CISTAR||Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources
Purdue University in partnership with Northwestern University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Texas at Austin
CISTAR's vision is to create a transformative engineered system to convert light hydrocarbons from shale resources to chemicals and transportation fuels in smaller, modular, local, and highly networked processing plants.
|FY 2020||1941583||CQN||Center for Quantum Networks
University of Arizona in partnership with Harvard University, MIT, and Yale University
CQN aims to create the first quantum network with fully error-corrected quantum connectivity over local and global scales by developing key quantum technologies and new functional building blocks that connect quantum processors.
|FY 2022||2133516||CS3||Center for Smart Streetscapes
Columbia University in partnership with Florida Atlantic University, Lehman College, Rutgers University, and the University of Central Florida
The CS3 will forge livable, safe, and inclusive communities through real-time, hyperlocal technologies for streets and their surroundings.
|FY 2022||2133630||HAMMER||Center for Hybrid Autonomous Manufacturing Moving from Evolution to Revolution
The Ohio State University in partnership with Case Western Reserve University, North Carolina A&T State University, Northwestern University, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The HAMMER ERC will accelerate the development and deployment of intelligent, autonomous manufacturing systems, enabling mass customization in local production facilities.
|FY 2020||1941529||IoT4Ag||Center for the Internet of Things for Precision Agriculture
University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Purdue University; University of California, Merced; and the University of Florida
IoT4Ag seeks to ensure food, energy, and water security with new systems to increase crop production while minimizing energy and water use and environmental impacts of agricultural practices.
|FY 2015||1449500||NEWT||Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Systems
Rice University in partnership with Arizona State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Yale University
NEWT develops high-performance and easy-to-deploy water treatment systems that will broaden access to clean drinking water from a variety of unconventional sources and enable industrial wastewater reuse at off-grid locations.
|FY 2017||1648451||PATHS-UP||Center for Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems for Underserved Populations
Texas A&M University in partnership with Florida International University, Rice University, and the University of California, Los Angeles
PATHS-UP is changing the paradigm for the health of underserved populations by developing revolutionary, cost-effective technologies and systems at the point-of-care.
|FY 2015||1449548||POETS||Center for Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in partnership with Howard University, Stanford University, and the University of Arkansas
POETS is improving the electric power density available in tightly constrained mobile environments by integrating novel 3-D cooling circuitry, power converters, and algorithms for smart power management.
|FY 2022||2133504||PreMiEr||Center for Precision Microbiome Engineering
Duke University in partnership with North Carolina A&T State University; North Carolina State University; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The PreMiEr ERC will create microbiome technologies that address challenges at the interface of human health and the built environment by preventing colonization by infectious agents and promoting the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms.