Research Centers

The Cockrell School of Engineering has numerous formal organized research units that coordinate and promote faculty and student research extending across and beyond the school. These units also provide and maintain specialized research facilities for faculty within a designated field that are usually available to external users. Institutes have the broadest interdisciplinary reach and generally involve faculty from several colleges and schools. Centers and laboratories, while interdisciplinary by design, tend to be identified primarily with one discipline.

Center for Aeromechanics Research

  • Conducts computational, analytical, and experimental research in supersonic and hypersonic aerodynamics; high temperature gas dynamics; rarefied atmospheres; turbulence; combustion; laser diagnostics; aeroelasticity and structural dynamics; control of flexible structures and flight structures

Center for Energy & Environmental Resources

  • Serves as the central liaison for energy and environmental research, education and public service at The University of Texas at Austin
  • Focuses on efficient and economical use of energy and on ensuring a cleaner environment by developing, in cooperation with industry, processes and technologies that minimize waste and conserve natural resources

Center for Engineering Education

  • Performs research relevant to the transformation of engineering education both nationally and in the Cockrell School
  • Performs outreach to K-12 engineering education programs and prepares secondary school engineering educators

Center for Mechanics of Solids, Structures & Materials

  • Promotes research addressing fundamental, as well as applied, issues in the broad field of mechanics of solids, structures, and materials
  • Focuses on theoretical, experimental and numerical approaches necessary to solve many of today's new mechanical problems

Center for Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering

  • Encourages and develops interdisciplinary research in petroleum and geosystems engineering as well as other areas related to energy and the environment
  • New Nanoparticle Engineering for Subsurface Processes Research Program focuses on use of various nano-scale materials for certain processes that increase oil recovery and for more accurate determination of changes in fluid saturations and reservoir properties during oil and gas production

Center for Research in Water Resources

  • Carries out advanced research, education, design and planning in water resources and waste management, primarily related to Texas but also involving other areas of the country as well as foreign countries

Center for Space Research

  • Conducts research on the design and operation of satellites and the instruments used to explore the earth and planets. Mission design and satellite operation, autonomous operations of satellite clusters, are current activities. Develops and uses satellite data analysis systems for precision orbit determination and space geodesy applications. Utilizes laser ranging, satellite altimeter, GPS and other radiometric ranging techniques to study the geophysical properties of earth and the planets. Uses satellite remote sensing to study the Earth's oceans and land surface changes to support hazard monitoring applications.

Center for Transportation Research

  • Current and ongoing projects address virtually all aspects of transportation research, including economics, multimodal systems, traffic congestion relief, transportation policy, materials, structures, transit, environmental impacts, driver behavior, land use, geometric design, accessibility and pavements

Construction Industry Institute

  • A research consortium of leading owners and contractors working together to advance the delivery of capital facilities
  • CII's purpose is to measurably improve the business effectiveness (safety, cost, schedule and quality) and sustainability of capital project delivery through research and related initiatives

Phil M. Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory

  • An integral part of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, most of the projects include large-scale testing and many include development of comprehensive analytical models
  • Research results are used to evaluate design, behavior and durability of reinforced and prestressed concrete, structural steel, masonry and composite structures

Microelectronics Research Center

  • Provides opportunities to perform research in novel materials of interest to the integrated circuit industry, optoelectronics and nanophotonics, novel electronic devices and nanostructures, and interconnects and packaging for academic as well as industrial users
  • Contributes strongly to advancements in microelectronic devices, integrated circuits and optoelectronic components


  • The National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (NASCENT) will develop high throughput, high yield and versatile nanomanufacturing systems to take nano-science discoveries from the lab to the marketplace. The center is led by The University of Texas at Austin and includes partner institutions University of California, Berkeley, and University of New Mexico. Also included are Seoul National University in South Korea and Indian Institute of Science.

Texas Materials Institute

  • Provides faculty and students at The University of Texas at Austin with the instrumentation and associated infrastructure needed to conduct modern materials research
  • Offers graduate degree program in Materials Science and Engineering

Wireless Networking & Communications Group

  • Ongoing work ranges from antennas and propagation, advanced radio technologies, wireless networking, to wireless multimedia applications
  • Employs a broad range of methodologies from theoretical investigations of fundamental limits, a variety of simulation technologies, to working prototypes of advanced wireless nodes and networks

Affiliated Research Units

Applied Research Laboratories

  • Engaged in a sponsored research program dedicated to improving our national security through applications of acoustics, electromagnetics and information sciences
  • Places a strong emphasis on experimental work, data analysis, theoretical modeling, simulation, prototyping and field demonstrations

Center for Electromechanics

  • Engages in both fundamental and applied research in the areas of electromagnetics, electromechanical devices, power electronics, and advanced materials as it strives to be the world's best university source for leading edge concepts and technology for novel generation, storage and use of electric and mechanical energy
  • Develops and maintains preeminence in high specific power electromechanical devices; coupled electro-mechanical-thermal analysis and simulation techniques; composite materials and manufacturing technology; high specific power converters; energy storage systems; and system level design and optimization

The Energy Institute

  • Develops multi-disciplinary research programs that address the most significant technological challenges in the energy sector while educating students, professionals in the field of energy, policy makers, and the public
  • Working through the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, informs policy decisions related to energy with scientific and technical information

Center for Perceptual Systems

  • Cutting edge research in perceptual systems requires expertise in scientific disciplines that bridge traditional departmental boundaries
  • Provides students with opportunity to create a curriculum that spans biological, psychological, computational and engineering approaches to the fundamental problems in perception

Center for Strategic and Innovative Technologies

  • Serves the science and technology needs of the U.S. defense community in the fields of human factors engineering and biological/biochemical defense
  • Maintains professional liens with active soldiers and professionals in the U.S. Army, ROTC and West Point Military Academy, as well as scientists at the Army Research Laboratory

Institute for Advanced Technology

  • Supports the U.S. Army with basic and applied research in electrodynamics, hypervelocity physics, pulsed power and education in related critical technologies
  • Conducts focused, long-term, theoretical and applied research and development in electrodynamics and hypervelocity physics

Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology

  • Focuses efforts on the revolutionary developments occurring in molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and genomics
  • Research efforts focus on molecular genetics and molecular biology problems that will advance understanding of disease processes and methods for therapy or cure

Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences

  • An interdisciplinary research center for faculty and graduate students in computational sciences and engineering, mathematical modeling, applied mathematics, software engineering and computational visualization
  • Draws faculty from Cockrell School of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences, the Red McCombs School of Business, and the Jackson School of Geological Sciences

Federally Funded Research Centers

Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security - Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC)

  • PI is Gary A. Pope, professor, Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering; director, Center for Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering
  • Goal is to harness recent theoretical and experimental advances to explain the transport of native and injected fluids, particularly carbon dioxide, in geological systems and multiple length scales

Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials and Devices (CST) - Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC)

  • PI is Paul F. Barbara, professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Director, Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology
  • Pursues fundamental research on charge transfer processes that underpin the function of highly promising molecular materials for photovoltaic and electrical energy storage applications

Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLIPS) - NSF Science & Technology Center

  • PI is Benny D. Freeman, professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • In creating CLIPS, Case Western Reserve University has partnered with The University of Texas at Austin, Fisk University, the University of Southern Mississippi and the Naval Research Laboratory. A full research and education partnership between Case Western University and Fisk University is broadening participation of African-American students from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in exploration of polymer science and engineering as academic pursuits and eventual careers. This program will serve as a model for UT and Fisk University to form linkages with local public high schools.

The Center for Predictive Engineering and Computational Sciences (PECOS) - DOE Funded Center of Excellence

  • Robert Moser, director
  • PECOS is a DOE funded Center of Excellence within the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. It is one of five such centers sponsored under the Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Advanced Simulation and Computing Program. PECOS brings together an interdisciplinary, multi-university team with partners at the DOE National Labs and NASA. The goal of the PECOS Center is to develop the next generation of advanced computational methods for predictive simulation of multi-scale, multiphysics phenomena and to apply these methods to the analysis of vehicles reentering the atmosphere.


Research centers available to external users:

Advanced Manufacturing Center

Center for Aeromechanics Research

Center for Research in Water Resources

Center for Transportation Research

Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology

Microelectronics Research Center

Texas Materials Institute


Contact Us

Dr. John G. Ekerdt
Associate Dean for Research

Marie King
Administrative Associate

Joey S. Walker
Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist

Reggie W. Crim
Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist