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About Research at Clemson

2016 Clemson University Research Symposium: Building a Transdisciplinary Culture of Research

As a STEM-intensive, land-grant institution with robust programs in the social sciences and humanities, an active extension and public service network, and state-of-the-art innovation campuses, Clemson has a unique opportunity to lead the nation in solving pressing scientific, technical and human problems and creating an environment that prizes inquiry, creativity and scholarship.

In 2016, Clemson was classified as one of the nation’s most active research institutions (Carnegie Basic Classification R1 – Highest Research Activity). R1 universities are economic engines that create prosperity in entire regions, and their national and international reputations add significant value to the degrees they award.

Every day, Clemson faculty, staff and students are working to continuously improve our research quality, quantity and impact; to foster a rich, curiosity-driven intellectual environment; to solve real problems; and to create more opportunities for graduates and alumni.

Click here to view the Clemson University Division of Research Org Chart.

Vice President for Research, Dr. Tanju Karanfil

VP for Research at Clemson University, Dr. tanju karanfil

Read more about Dr. Karanfil.

Keep current with Dr. Karanfil’s blog.

Read Dr. Karanfil’s quarterly research reports to the Board of Trustees here.

Dr. Tanju Karanfil became vice president for research in February 2016. A renowned environmental engineer, Dr. Karanfil leads Clemson’s research strategy and oversees technology transfer, sponsored programs, compliance and other support services for a portfolio that tops $100 million in research revenue.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

The Clemson University Office of Postdoctoral Affairs strives to continue efforts to better understand the training and development environment needed to enhance the learning experience of our postdoctoral appointees. With this in mind, the VPR and ADGRS offices wanted to invest in the culture of postdoctoral scholars and help build their skills so they can move on to rewarding permanent positions.

See the Office Of Postdoctorial Affairs Website.

Innovation Clusters

Advanced Materials: Areas of focus include optical materials and optoelectronic structures, bio and bio-inspired materials, polymeric and lightweight materials and nanomaterials as well as resilient materials, energy applications, ceramic matrix composites, integrated computational materials science and engineering, advanced materials characterization and materials by design.

Cyberinfrastructure and Big Data Science: Areas of focus include cybersecurity, intelligent transportation and computational genomics, digital humanities, business analytics, connected mobility and data-enabled science, engineering, and social science.

Energy, Transportation and Advanced Manufacturing: Areas of focus include transportation technology, energy generation and distribution, electrical grid control and renewable energy, logistics and supply chain management, cyber-physical systems, and bio-inspired design.

Human Resilience: Areas of focus include natural and built environments, personal and societal resilience, economic and social wellbeing, diversity, leadership and entrepreneurship, and education.

Health Innovation: Areas of focus include biomedical devices, biomaterials, regenerative medicine, health care delivery and access, personalized medicine, mobile health care access, health disparities, health care systems, and architecture and health.

Sustainable Environment: Areas of focus include applied genomics, the water-food-energy nexus, nuclear waste disposal, bio product security, integrative agriculture, integrative biology and sustainable building design.

Innovation Campuses

Economic development is a contact sport. Innovation often occurs when people who are interested in a common topic or problem have the opportunity to meet informally. Clemson’s research and economic development campuses provide a rich environment where the University’s faculty, staff and graduate students can interact with researchers from the private-industry partners whose facilities are located within walking distance of each other.

Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) — Greenville, S.C.
Anchored by the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center, CU-ICAR is working to become the premier automotive and motorsports research and education facility in the world. To date, public and private partners have invested more than $215 million in CU-ICAR.

Clemson University Advanced Materials Center — Anderson, S.C.
Advanced Materials is a growing industry in South Carolina and the Southeast. The growth in highly complex manmade materials, and our ability to engineer and manipulate them, offer many opportunities for collaboration and economic development. Clemson’s Advanced Materials Center is anchored by the Advanced Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL). The AMRL is home to one of the nation’s finest electron microscope facilities, which enables researchers to examine materials at the atomic level.

Clemson University Restoration Institute — North Charleston, S.C.
Established in 2004 to drive economic growth in South Carolina’s restoration industries and environmentally sustainable technologies, the Restoration Institute offers many opportunities for collaboration across a broad spectrum of issues such as advanced materials and materials conservation, water resources management, wind energy and biofuels.

Center for Human Genetics at the Greenwood Genetic Center— Greenwood, S.C.
The Center for Human Genetics addresses research and clinical opportunities in human diagnostics and epigenetic therapeutics advancing personalized medicine for intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and disorders of the immune and nervous systems. Located in the recently completed Self Regional Hall on the campus of the Greenwood Genetic Center, as well as on the main Clemson campus, the Center for Human Genetics represents another unique partnership for Clemson and will help create a research hub for human genetics research in Greenwood.

See complete list of Centers and Institutes here.

Clemson University SmartState Centers of Economic Excellence

The SmartState® Centers of Excellence Program, established by the South Carolina General Assembly and funded through the South Carolina Education Lottery, to date has provided $41 million to Clemson University for support of sixteen (16) endowed chairs in sixteen (16) Centers of Economic Excellence.

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is a SmartState® Center of Economic Excellence that comprises four (4) research thrust areas supported by endowed chairs to drive innovation in automotive and motorsports research.

  • Automotive Systems Integration
    The automobile is a complex machine, with many mechanical and electronic systems that must work together for the vehicle to perform safely and efficiently. Systems Integration is the overarching research focus at CU-ICAR, bringing together all disciplines.
  • Automotive Manufacturing
    The manufacture of automotive equipment, from the total vehicle to various components and mechanical parts, is a highly complex process. Automotive Manufacturing focuses on improving efficiency and safety in manufacturing processes.
  • Automotive Design and Development
    Design and development research areas include both vehicle design and design of manufacturing systems, from lightweight materials to the incorporation of new fuel sources.
  • Vehicle Electronic Systems Integration
    Today’s automobile features numerous complex electronic systems that must work together safely and without interference. Researchers in electrical and computer engineering and related fields focus on the many issues that must be resolved to make electronic systems compatible with each other and with the other mechanical (and human) systems related to the automobile.

Advanced Fiber-based Materials
Scholars and entrepreneurs with shared interests and expertise in natural and synthetic polymer-based advanced fibrous materials comprise this center. Researchers work to develop advanced synthetic polymers and to enhance natural fibrous materials, including wool, cotton, and silk. Fiber-reinforced composite materials based on metals, ceramics and polymers offer applications in automotive, space, athletic equipment, and medical prosthetic markets.

Advanced Tissue Biofabrication (with MUSC/USC)
Clemson University joins the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina to develop processes for the production of complex tissues and organs using a technique called “bioprinting” or three-dimensional layering of individual cells. 

The CyberInstitute center combines faculty expertise in computer and electrical engineering with the University’s growing computing power to create a strong research program, industrial partnerships, and technology-transfer opportunities. The center will enhance the university’s competitiveness in research areas that rely on storage, processing and transmitting large amounts of data. It will provide rapid computational prototyping and serve as an educational and testing facility.

Health Facilities Design and Testing (with MUSC)
Improving healthcare environments through an interdisciplinary design is the focus of this center. Research focuses on designing healthcare facilities to improve delivery of healthcare services and creating architectural settings that positively affect the health of patients and staff.

Optical Materials/Photonics
This center is part of Clemson’s world-class Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET). The optical materials/photonics center’s research focuses on the design, fabrication and testing of optical fibers in areas critical to defense and homeland security as well as such areas of industry as communication systems and biomedical applications.

The SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Optoelectronics will strengthen Clemson’s photonics research program that exists in the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET), focusing on improving the devices, systems, and protocols used in high-speed optical communication networks.

Regenerative Medicine (with MUSC)
This center is focused on the regeneration or re-modeling of tissues and organs for the purpose of repairing, replacing, maintaining, or enhancing organ functions. It includes the engineering and growing of functional tissue substitutes. The endowed chair at Clemson will be a leader in minimally invasive surgical repair techniques with expertise in tissue-engineered construction and implants.

SeniorSMART™ (with USC)
As the nation’s population of senior citizens (over age 65) increases, there is increasing need for research on ways to foster independent living and provide support for people in this age group. The SeniorSMART™ center is a collaborative effort that explores three major research areas — intellectual activity, safety within the home, and safety outside the home, especially while driving.

Smart Grid Technology
The purpose of this center is to serve as the cornerstone of a collaborative, multidisciplinary research environment that spans a wide spectrum of interrelated fields and will build on several areas of existing research excellence at Clemson University while developing specialized new areas of expertise. 

Sustainable Development
This center will focus on creating new technologies that help to foster sustainable development, allowing South Carolina to better protect its natural resources and encourage smart growth. Using technology to reduce the negative impact of development on natural resources is a high-priority field of research for Clemson. The university has existing programs in restoration ecology, renewable energy, natural resources, sustainable design, land use planning, real estate development, and watershed management. The SmartState Center in Sustainable Development will build on those strengths, combining engineering technology and “cyberinfrastructure,” such as hardware platforms and software systems, that allow environmental scientists and technicians to monitor, manage, and safeguard both natural and built environments through informed decision-making.

Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics
This center draws on Clemson’s established expertise in the supply-chain challenges for business and industry in finding the most efficient, economical way to move goods or people to market. The National Science Foundation-sponsored CELDi (Center for Engineering Logistics and Distribution) is a research site that brings industry and academia together to improve supply chain logistics. CISCOL (Clemson Institute for Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics) brings together an interdisciplinary group of faculty from four different colleges at Clemson University and provides tangible products and services that support economic development in South Carolina.

Urban Ecology and Restoration
The Urban Ecology and Restoration center at the Clemson University Restoration Institute supports the growth of South Carolina’s environmental industry. This center’s research integrates ecological science, engineering and urban design and planning.

The SmartState® Centers of Excellence Program, established by the South Carolina General Assembly

Endowed Chairs

Clemson University has recruited twelve (12) talented leaders to serve as Endowed Chairs for Clemson’s SmartState® Centers of Economic Excellence. 

Marek Urban, Ph.D.
J.E. Sirrine Textile Foundation Endowed Chair in Advanced Fiber-based Materials

Zoran Filipi, Ph.D.
Timken Endowed Chair in Automotive Design and Development 

Laine Mears, Ph.D.
BMW Endowed Chair in Manufacturing

BMW Endowed Chair in Automotive Systems Integration

C. Tycho Howle Endowed Chair in Collaborative Computing Environments

Anjali Joseph, Ph.D.
SmartState® Endowed Chair in Architecture and Health Research

John Ballato, Ph.D.
J.E. Sirrine Textile Foundation Endowed Chair in Optical Fibers

Eric Johnson, Ph.D.
PalmettoNet Endowed Chair in Optoelectronics

Johan Enslin, Ph.D.
SmartState® Endowed Chair in Smart Grid Technology

Scott Mason, Ph.D.
Fluor Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics

Amy Landis, Ph.D.
Thomas F. Hash ’69 Endowed Chair in Sustainable Development

Robert F. Baldwin, Ph.D.
SmartState® Endowed Chair in Urban Ecology and Restoration

Venkat Krovi, Ph.D.
Michelin Endowed Chair in Vehicle Electronic Systems Integration

Jeremy Gilbert, Ph.D.
Hansjorg Wyss Endowed Chair in Regenerative Medicine

SmartState® Endowed Chair in Senior Driving, Mobility, and Physical Functioning – Smart Wheels

SmartState® Endowed Chair in Biofabrication Engineering

Clemson University SmartState® Partners

The SmartState® Program

Health Sciences South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina

South Carolina Commission on Higher Education

South Carolina Legislature

University of South Carolina

Agricultural Research Centers