Research Centers and Institutes

Research Centers and Institutes help to promote interdisciplinary work that involves faculty from several different departments on and off campus. Center directors who are also tenure-track faculty are expected to spend a minimum of 20 percent of their time during the academic year supporting center activities and administration. This effort is recognized as part of their service and research effort and should be reflected appropriately in the departmental index.

Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APSRC)

Director, Jeff Naber, Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics, 906-487-1938

Mission: To develop critical technologies for clean, efficient, and sustainable power systems.

Purpose: The purpose of the Advanced Power System Research Center is to create a multidisciplinary organization that will foster large, collaborative, research efforts in the areas of clean, efficient, and sustainable Power Systems technologies. This Center will develop both fundamental and applied knowledge that is required for the next generation of low-emission, high-efficiency vehicles. The Center will seek to bring together and coordinate a large number of Michigan Tech researchers already working in the area of I.C. engines, spray formation, combustion modeling, combustion and mixture controls, torque converters, alternative fuels (including ethanol, bio-diesel, and hydrogen), hybrid powertrains, fuel cells, and powertrain noise. The result will be an interdisciplinary Power Systems research organization that will be responsive to the economic needs of the State and the energy needs of the Nation.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about APSRC

Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steel Center (ASISC)

Director, S. Komar Kawatra, Chemical Engineering, 906-487-3132

Mission: To support research, education, and outreach in all disciplines related to sustainable iron and steel production.

The mission of the proposed Center for Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steel Making is to investigate and develop novel, advanced methods for producing the 130 million tons of iron and steel needed annually by the U.S. in a sustainable, environmentally-acceptable manner. Although primary iron manufacture is a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., research in this area is very limited, due to a widespread belief that it has been “beaten to death” and that there is nothing more to be done. Yet, we find that the industry is still largely based on technologies that were developed some time ago (in some cases, even more than a century ago), and as a result many of the current practices are highly polluting and unsustainable. There is tremendous room for improvement, but only if completely new paradigms are developed for metals reduction that are not based on the unsustainable, polluting, energy-inefficient methods of the past.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about ASISC

Biotechnology Research Center (BRC)

Director, Keat Ghee Ong, Biomedical Engineering, 906-487-2749

"The Biotech Research Center fosters interdisciplinary research at Michigan Tech."

Biotechnology encompasses the applications of various science and engineering disciplines for industrial utilization of living organisms or their products. The mission of the Biotechnology Research Center (BRC) at Michigan Tech is to promote education and research in the areas of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, and biotechnology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels for the benefit of society and the environment.

The multidisciplinary nature of the BRC is reflected in the diverse expertise of the BRC faculty. Participation includes faculty from the Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and Forest Resources and Environmental Science departments. Faculty, staff and students are open to collaborating on research projects and joining together for research symposiums, seminars and conferences. Working together helps to achieve their common goal: the advancement of biotechnology.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about BRC

Center for Agile and Interconnected Microgrids (AIM)

Director, Gordon Parker, Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics, 906-487-1850

Mission: Establish Michigan Tech as a national leader in agile microgrid research and education.

Purpose: Agile microgrids of the future will efficiently use stochastic generation, stochastic loads, and minimal energy storage to deliver power in both structured and unstructured environments. Their intelligent, multimode use of vehicles, high penetration of renewable sources, and system-level efficiency offer the promise of reducing fossil-fuel consumption. One purpose of the Center for Agile and Interconnected Microgrids (AIM) is to develop technology and trained engineers for the design, deployment, and operation of agile microgrids with high penetration renewables, both fixed and mobile assets and the ability to interconnect within a cyber-secure framework. A multidisciplinary team of researchers has been working on individual topics for the past several years including: intelligent power electronics, microgrid modeling/optimization/control, curriculum development and vehicle/microgrid integration. Another purpose of this center is to organize Michigan Tech’s current momentum, and the Henes Chair position, to secure external funding for a national center in microgrid research and education.

Center for Computer Systems Research (CCSR)

Director, Saeid Nooshabadi, Electrical and Computer Engineering, 906-487-4336

Mission: The Center for Computer Systems Research focuses on multidisciplinary research that primarily, but not exclusively, involves the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Michigan Technological University. The center's goal is to expand interdisciplinary computer systems research and education across academic disciplines at Michigan Tech. The center wishes to contribute to coordinated and collaborative work towards finding innovative solutions to computationally complex and challenging problems, making advances in computational tools, and develop productive and interdisciplinary partnerships that will coalesce computer systems research at Michigan Tech.

Learn more about CCSR

Computational Science and Engineering Research Institute (CSERI)

Director, Warren Perger, 906-487-2855

Mission: Created to foster computationally intensive research and graduate education in sciences and engineering, bringing together faculty and students from across campus who have a common interest in and need for computational resources beyond those usually available in desktop workstations.

Learn more about CSERI

Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences Institute (EPSSI)

Director, Will Cantrell, Physics, 906-487-2356

The Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences Institute (EPSSI) is an institute aimed at facilitating and promoting research and education in remote sensing and related areas by bringing together individuals and groups separated by departmental and/or college boundaries. Remote sensing comprises not just instrumentation or measurement tools, but represents a perspective that employs a broad morphology of disciplines and demands interdisciplinary breadth. For example, current members collaborate on projects spanning imaging science, atmospheric science, data/signal processing, data visualization and remote sensing instrumentation. These are typically applied to a specific problem in earth system science, ecosystem studies, limnology/oceanography, global change, and a host of other areas. At least nine different departments currently have faculty members participating in EPSSI.

EPSSI's goals are to work by consensus to promote remote sensing and related topics on the Michigan Tech campus through (1) interdisciplinary coursework and programs, (2) group funding efforts for equipment and research, (3) interdisciplinary seminars and short courses, and (4) development of a campus culture that actively supports transdisciplinary activities.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about EPSSI

Lake Superior Ecosystem Research Center (LaSER)

Director, W. Charles Kerfoot, Department of Biological Sciences;, 906-487-2791

The Lake Superior Ecosystem Research Center (LaSER) is an interdisciplinary center and its three main goals are 1) to promote and strengthen ecological research and graduate programs at Michigan Tech through developing and applying technological advances to ecological problems; 2) to advocate an ecosystem perspective for studying aquatic and terrestrial portions of the Lake Superior watershed; and 3) to become a resource center for basic information on watershed and lake properties.

Learn more about LaSER

Ecosystem Science Center (ESC)

Director, Andrew Burton, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, 906-487-2566

Mission: To promote understanding of ecosystem function through education and research at Michigan Technological University.

The Ecosystem Science Center (ESC) is designed to advance our understanding of how ecosystems function and how human activities influence ecosystem processes. The Center's two main objectives are to: (1) foster ecosystem research; and (2) improve Michigan Tech's ability to educate graduate and undergraduate students in the area of ecosystem science. These two objectives will be met through collaboration among faculty, staff, and students interested in ecosystem science.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about ESC

Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC)

Director, Dr. Guy Meadows, 906-487-1106

Mission: To be a leader in interdisciplinary aquatic science and engineering focused on the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin in its entirety through excellence in research education and outreach.

The vision of the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) is to become a world-class institute in interdisciplinary aquatic sciences, policy, engineering, and technology. We will develop unparalleled strength and expertise in four core focus areas: aquatic ecology and ecosystem dynamics, marin technology and engineering, aquatic resources, and human dimensions in education and outreach. Research at the GLRC will not only advance the forefront of knowledge, but will inform resource managers and the general public, enabling them to advance the sustainable use of freshwater resources.

Learn more about GLRC

Center for Water and Society (CWS)

Director, Noel Urban, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 906-487-3640

Mission: The mission of the CWS is to support research, education, and outreach in all disciplines at Michigan Technological University related to water issues. The goal is to establish Michigan Tech as a state, regional, national and international leader in these disciplines and, in particular, in interdisciplinary approaches to solving water-related problems. The objectives of the CWS are:

  • To serve as a focal point for instructional and research activities in water-related fields and water-related outreach activities across the Michigan Tech campus;
  • To provide an organizational structure that supports continuing growth in water-related fields and outreach activities and encourage interdisciplinary projects;
  • To support interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate education and research in water related fields; and
  • To pursue external funding opportunities to support these objectives and to facilitate CWS participating faculty to obtain external support.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about CWS

Institute for Leadership and Innovation (ILI)

Director, Robert Warrington, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, 906-487-4371

The Institute will foster technological innovation by developing entrepreneurial thinking and active, discovery based learning at multiple levels and across multiple disciplines. It will distinguish itself from existing innovation institutes and centers by emphasizing the education, research, and practice of technological innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Vision: The Institute will be internationally recognized for integrating active, practice based learning into the curriculum, merging business education with engineering and science education, and for fostering technological innovation through entrepreneurial thinking and global leadership development.

Most recent Annual Report

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Learn more about ILI

Institute of Materials Processing (IMP)

Director, Stephen Kampe, Materials Science and Engineering, 906-487-2036

The Institute of Materials Processing is an innovative, nonprofit research facility. The institute focuses on the extraction, processing, recycling, and utilization of materials and resources. They conduct sponsored technology development, research, problem solving, training, and technology services for Michigan Technological University, the state of Michigan, other governmental units, and industry. Materials studied include metallics, ceramics, polymers, composites, minerals, and industrial processing wastes. Expertise includes bench-top experimentation through process development, pilot plant scale-up, and commercialization.

Personnel at IMP work closely with faculty members in the academic departments. Since the major focus of the institute, however, is toward accelerating technology transfer into the marketplace, most staff members are full-time, nonteaching research professionals. When necessary, the institute can enter into confidentiality agreements with research sponsors and can undertake both proprietary and classified work. Cooperative development programs with other organizations are also strongly encouraged.

IMP can provide full or partial student support for advanced research in the materials and resource processing areas.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about IMP

Keweenaw Research Center (KRC)

Director, Jay Meldrum, 906-487-3178

Keweenaw Research Center is a multidisciplinary research center wholly supported by external corporate and governmental agency funding. Research and development activities are primarily based on a broad spectrum of ground vehicle performance. Typical activities include vehicle design and operation as an integrated system; research in vehicle mobility; material properties of tracked and wheeled vehicle components; and vehicle-terrain-human interactions; noise, vibration, and sound quality. Computer-aided engineering and modeling are used extensively. KRC provides opportunities for graduate students and faculty to perform research in several areas: composite materials, finite element methods, and vehicle dynamics modeling.

KRC maintains more than 500 acres of proving grounds, including many miles of prepared test tracks. Ride and handling loops, a circular track, an ice rink, a snow packed area, and a rugged off-road obstacle course—all provide the backdrop for research in vehicle mobility.

The Institute of Snow Research, an auxiliary component of KRC, is engaged in basic and applied research into snow, ice, and cold environment engineering. Fundamental study of ice sintering, dynamic behavior of snow, and the mechanism of ice adhesion are some recent examples. In addition, the institute works in several areas related to snowmobile safety, including trail grooming and layout, trail safety signs, and the effects of snowmobile track studs on public road crossings.

Learn more about KRC

Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)

Co-Director, Robert Shuchman, 734/913-6860
Co-Director, Nikola Subotic, 734/913-6859


  • Be a recognized leader in the research, development, and use of Information Technology to support solution of critical problems in national security, infrastructure, bioinformatics, earth sciences, and environmental processes.
  • Be acknowledged nationally and internationally as an innovator for the marriage of phenomenological understanding and implementation of the mathematically rigorous algorithms to build information from data in support of sponsor needs.
  • Provide visibility and outreach for Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) in Southeastern Michigan.
  • Establish collaborations with Michigan Tech academic departments, institutes, and centers to increase funded contract revenues for all organizations involved.
  • Maintain a creative environment that rewards and encourages innovation.

MTRI is a recognized leader in the research, development and practical application of sensor and information technology to solve critical problems in national security, protecting and evaluating critical infrastructure, bio informatics, earth sciences and environmental processes.

Learn more about MTRI

Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI)

Director, Ralph Hodek, MTTI, 906-487-2797

Mission: The Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) will provide the operating structure, resources, recognition, and leadership, in a collaborative environment, that supports research, education, and outreach leading to sustainable solutions for transportation.

MTTI is an umbrella organization bringing together the cross-disciplinary centers and principle investigators conducting transportation-related research and education initiatives that address national and global needs. Principal Investigators conduct transportation research under MTTI within six transportation-focused areas: 

  1. Transportation Structures including bridges and pavements. Other related areas include geo-technical, construction, and nanotechnology related to sensors.
  2. Transportation Materials including concrete, asphalt, steel, wood, and aggregates. Other related areas include construction, geo-technical, and nanotechnology related to sensors and materials.
  3. Transportation Systems including waterways, traffic/safety, construction, rail, air, public transportation, freight, intelligent transportation systems, vehicle infrastructure integration, nanotechnology related to sensors, and radio frequency identification devices.
  4. Environmental Aspects of Transportation including environmental impacts, energy, carbon dioxide and other pollutants, fugitive dust, wildlife, flora and fauna, and carbon credits.
  5. Social Aspects of Transportation including policy, planning, human factors, history, economics, and archeology.
  6. Transportation Technology Transfer including all outreach, management systems, and workforce development programs.

Learn more about MTTI

Multi-Scale Technologies Institute (MuSTI)

Director, Craig Friedrich, Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics, 906-487-1922

Multi-scale technologies are those that bring together functional elements to form systems where the relative size of components within the system spans from the nano through the micro and into the macro domain. The systems-focus of MuSTI emphasizes the challenges associated with integrating technologies that have relative feature sizes orders of magnitude apart and operating characteristics that are size dependent. This presents many problems that must be addressed by interdisciplinary teams of researchers using specialized equipment. Research focuses on engineered systems and components such as nanoelectronics, nanosensors and systems, and associated materials. MuSTI is home to interdisciplinary nano and microtechnologies education programs such as an interdisciplinary minor in Nanoscale Science and Engineering. The establishment of MuSTI is based on Michigan Technological University’s focus on applied research, established practices of interdisciplinary research, capabilities in testing, and strong engineering and science programs.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about MuSTI

Power and Energy Research Center (PERC)

Director, Bruce Mork, Electrical and Computer Engineering, 906-487-2857

Increased focus on alternate and renewable energy, development of new energy technologies, and deregulation of the utility industry are redefining the role of the Power Engineer and creating a wealth of technical and educational challenges. Environmental issues and restructuring of the power industry have expanded the scope of interest to include public policy and economic and social concerns. A multidisciplinary research center, operating within the ECE Department, shall thus be formed. Its main purposes are as follows:

  • Establish long-term research goals.
  • Enable multi-disciplined collaboration within Michigan Technological University.
  • Help us compete/collaborate with other universities for industry and agency funding.
  • Enable more industry and university research exchange.
  • Provide more continuity of graduate student support.
  • Enhance graduate and undergraduate education and recruit and retain students.

Learn more about PERC

Pre-College Innovative Outreach Institute (PIOI)

Steve Patchin, Director, 906-487-2219

The Pre-College Innovative Outreach Institute (PIOI) will act as a hub of collaboration for pre-college outreach activities conducted throughout campus. The Institute will coordinate and support activities engaging K-12 students in unique, innovative activities both on and off campus. Outreach efforts will be coordinated throughout campus while taking advantage of synergistic activities to eliminate duplication of effort, and thereby utilizing resources efficiently with maximum impact on each student. Initiatives spawning from these efforts will focus on creating innovative best practices that can be replicated on a local, regional, national, and international stage.

Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI)

Director, David Shonnard, Chemical Engineering, 906-487-3468

Mission: to create and disseminate new methods and processes for generating scientific knowledge and engineering products in support of sustainability decisions and education.

SFI will assimilate the multiple skills and capabilities required to support a new metadiscipline of sustainability science, including: (1) the fundamental physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics needed for environmental assessment; (2) basic economics incuding economic input-output analysis; (3) industrial ecology and design at the process, plant, firm, regional, national, and global scale; (4) information technology for real-time monitoring of processes, remote sensing of the environment, and geographical information systems; (5) human and environmental impact modeling and risk assessment; (6) social and behavioral research tools, and (7) professional and K through Gray educational programs, including assessment of their impacts on choices made by design engineers, policy makers, and consumers. By advancing this metadisciplinary endeavor, the Institute will combine information and insights across multiple disciplines and perspectives.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about SFI

Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Materials (CEBFM)

Director, Gerard Caneba, Chemical Engineering, 906-487-2051

Mission: The mission of the CEBFM is to increase and then sustain research activities into the synthesis, characterization, and analysis of materials that are capable of performing multiple functions in a wide variety of applications. CEBFM brings together researchers and will create a knowledge-base that can assist in further development of technologies for challenging applications critical to the growing technological needs of the US and the world. The Center will promote and foster an environment that will cross the traditional departmental and disciplinary boundaries to advance knowledge and support the overall mission of the University.

Most recent Annual Report.

Learn more about CEBFM

Center for Fundamental and Applied Research in Nanostructured and Lightweight Materials (CNLM)

Director, Michael Mullins, Chemical Engineering, 906-487-1445

Mission: The mission of the center is to foster collaborative research activities that lead to the synthesis and application of novel lightweight materials. Previous work by the participating Michigan Technological University researchers, funded by the U.S. DOE, developed the equipment and infrastructure for working with nanoscale materials. new funding under the Center is expected to increase and then sustain these research activities. Collaborative efforts within the Center will be interdisciplinary across campus, and most will involve partner arrangements with off-campus experts and researchers. By supporting research projects that cross traditional departmental and disciplinary boundaries, the Center will advance knowledge and support the mission of the University.

Purpose: The Center will promote fundamental and applied research in the development and testing of lightweight and nanostructured materials to be used in fuel cell and battery applications, chemical synthesis, and biomedical systems. new classes of lightweight materials engineered at the nanometer level are expected to have unique physical and chemical properties that can be exploited by engineers and scientists.

Learn more about CNLM