Faculty Search for the Thomas F. Hash ’69 Endowed Chair
In Sustainable Development
SMARTSTATE PROGRAM – South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence
In 2002, the South Carolina General Assembly established the SmartState Program, funding it with proceeds from the South Carolina Education Lottery. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions—Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina - to use state lottery funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy.
In just 10 years, the SmartState Program has attracted more than $1.2 billion in non-state investment, has led to the creation of more than 7,000 jobs, and has assembled a who’s who of corporate partners, including BMW, Fluor, Michelin, and SCANA. Today there are nearly 50 SmartState Centers in six industry-focused Smart Clusters that are critical to the world and South Carolina: Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology, Automotive and Transportation, Biomedical, Future Fuels®, Information Science, and Pharmaceutical. Each Center is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in state lottery funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state funds from corporations or other entities. The program also supports SmartState Endowed Chairs, world-renowned scientists and engineers who lead the Centers.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CENTER OF ECONOMIC EXCELLENCE
Award Amount: $4 Million (Matched with Federal & Private Funds)
University Partner: Clemson University
Private Sector Partner: Multiple Industry Partner
The Center’s mission is to advance sustainable development through technological innovation. This includes the development of new technologies, from optically-based chemical sensors to wireless networking platforms, as well as the development of new environmental and ecological models designed to support real-time monitoring and management of natural and built environments. The Center will build on the success of the Intelligent River® Project, which focuses on the development of hardware, software, and modeling infrastructure to support real-time management of water resources. More than 75 Clemson faculty members and students in areas such as wetland ecology, hydrology, landscape architecture, computer sciences, computer engineering, and environmental toxicology have collaborated on this project. The Intelligent River® Project recently was awarded a $3M grant from the National Science Foundation (plus $1.3M in match), competing against proposals from across the country. The project’s technology has the potential to transform how natural resources are managed, and has the potential to be applied to other industries, including agriculture.
Economic Impact Summary
Burgeoning population growth and unsustainable natural resource demands are putting local, state, and national economies at risk. Clemson University has the opportunity to mitigate this risk by developing a Center of Economic Excellence in Sustainable Development, envisioned as a catalyst for initiating a knowledge-based economy founded on innovations that enable sustainable development. South Carolina can capitalize on an incredible economic opportunity by investing in the development of hardware platforms, software systems, materials, and information technology that together provide the technological underpinnings of sustainability. At the same time, the resulting tools, products, and services will enable the state to safeguard its natural environment - the principal driver of its strong tourism, forestry, and agricultural economies - and create smart growth solutions for the extensive infrastructure redevelopment projects that lie ahead in the near future.
Ensuring sustainability requires sound science and next-generation technologies that enable informed decision-making. It challenges scientists and engineers to fill significant technology gaps to provide the information and information processing resources necessary to integrate the environmental, economic, and social pillars of sustainable development. To meet this challenge, the Center will consolidate faculty expertise from across campus to initiate a world-class research enterprise focused on developing the technological foundation of sustainable development – a transparent, planetary-scale sensing fabric comprising innovative technologies and applications for monitoring, managing, and safeguarding the planet’s natural and built environments. The research activities of the Center will form a natural integrative thread that enhances the level of collaboration among Clemson’s existing centers and institutes, including SmartState Centers in Advanced Fiber-based Materials and Optical Materials, Urban Ecology and Restoration, and the CyberInstitute, and that links existing expertise in optically-based chemical sensing, in situ platform design, cyberinfrastructure, and watershed-scale ecology.
Economic sectors that would immediately benefit from the Center’s in situ monitoring technologies include agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, semiconductor fabrication, server hosting, power generation, insurance, transportation, extractive industries, and myriad others. While originally conceived to support watershed and river basin monitoring, the technologies under development by the Intelligent River® team are transferrable to a broad range of applications. At the foundation lies a family of in situ sensor networking platforms, an adaptive wireless connectivity architecture, highly scalable observation management middleware, and a suite of end-user presentation services. At the next level, this foundation is customized by integrating application-specific sensors for capturing relevant chemical and physical parameters, and custom platform enclosures suitable to aerial, terrestrial, and aquatic deployments.
The resulting suite of Intelligent solutions spans a broad set of applications that enables a more sustainable future for South Carolina. To cite a small subset, the possibilities include: (i) Intelligent Wastewater, which employs in-line monitoring of water quantity, pollutant load, and treatment train operations; (ii) Intelligent Forest, which relies on dense in situ data to optimize forestry management, enable sustainable harvesting, and evaluate environmental response to climate change; (iii) Intelligent Farm, which employs dense networks of sensors to enable optimized application of fertilizers, pesticides, and water; (iv) Intelligent Transportation, a highly distributed traffic flow monitoring system designed to optimize roadway utilization while minimizing congestion; (v) Intelligent Wind, which employs in situ monitoring of turbine blades and environmental factors to optimize energy production while minimizing maintenance; and (vi) Intelligent Infrastructure —buildings, roads, bridges— which calls for deeply integrated infrastructure sensors, such as the Smart Brick to monitor thermal profiles and predict infrastructure fatigue. Each of these sectors represents a multi-million to billion-dollar market. Capitalizing on these opportunities requires an integrative approach to research and intellectual property development — precisely the focus of the proposed center.
The Endowed Chair in Sustainable Development will serve as the cornerstone for advancement of the research, education, and outreach objectives of the SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Sustainable Development. At the same time, the Endowed Chair will play a key leadership role in identifying commercialization opportunities for Center-derived research results that build on an explosion of innovation integrating sustainable development and information technology.
Clemson University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any individual or group of individuals on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or genetic information.
The Center is envisioned as a technology-driven enterprise. The Endowed Chair will consequently be selected based on demonstrated research expertise, fundraising potential, and leadership capability across a majority subset of the Center’s principal technology thrusts. These include wireless sensor platform design, embedded networking, and cyberinfrastructure. It is important to emphasize, however, that while these skills form a necessary set of requirements, they are insufficient in isolation. To fulfill the Center’s role as an integration catalyst, the Endowed Chair must demonstrate a solid understanding of the environmental and ecological sciences. By hiring at the intersection of these multidisciplinary thrusts, the Endowed Chair will attract talent across departments and colleges, strengthen internal and external collaborations, foster interdisciplinary degree programs, and enhance funding opportunities campus-wide. The resulting programs will not only train the next-generation knowledge workforce, but also yield commercially-viable products and services based on intellectual property.
The Endowed Chair will lead the creation of public-private partnerships designed to bring this property to market. He/she will be an eminent, nationally-respected scholar chosen from a national search. He/she will hold a Ph.D. degree with ten or more years of academic experience and have made significant contributions to the field of Sustainable Development, evidenced by significant publications in top-quality venues and successfully completed projects funded at significant levels. Equally important, the Endowed Chair will demonstrate excellence in his/her ability to communicate with non-academic audiences, including public officials, industry groups, and the general public.
Clemson University is building a culturally diverse faculty committed to working in a multicultural environment and encourages applications from minorities and women.
Clemson University is interested in candidates who can contribute to the cultural diversity and excellence of the academic community through their research, teaching, and/or service.