You are here

Strategic areas of emphasis and alignment with Discovery Themes

Particular focus areas of interest for faculty recruitment in the 2014-18 period have been identified as Sensing and Information, Energy Efficient Electronics and Systems, and Computation and Cyber-Physical Systems. These cross-cutting areas couple strengths across the ECE discipline to achieve high impact results in a variety of applications.

Our strategic areas are also each of high impact to all three of Ohio State’s Discovery Themes: Health and Wellness, Energy and Environment, and Food Production and Security. Over the next 10 years, the Discovery Themes will provide the basis for the recruitment of 500 new tenure-track faculty, both as individual scholars and as well as groups of faculty in critical areas.

Because of the diverse areas of emphasis within ECE and because of the importance of ECE technologies across the research enterprise, the department is uniquely positioned to play an integral role in the success of all the three Discovery Themes. The Department will emphasize the development and leadership of proposals in the Discovery Theme competitions, including partnerships with other departments and colleges, to create transformational “Big Ideas” in the research areas proposed.

Officially launched in October, 2012, the Discovery Themes owe their existence to a 2008 planning retreat where faculty, staff, students, and other university leaders considered the globe’s most pressing challenges and Ohio State’s role in addressing them. Subsequent institution-wide strategic planning efforts confirmed the university’s excellence in a number of the challenge areas, especially three of them: ensuring a sustainable future, nourishing the world’s growing population, and promoting the health of people everywhere. With expertise in these areas located throughout Ohio State’s six campuses, 14 colleges, 111 departments, and 260 centers and institutes, the Discovery Themes of Energy and Environment, Food Production and Security, and Health and Wellness were identified as long-term targets of university-wide teaching, research, and engagement.

The Discovery Themes provide Ohio State with an unprecedented opportunity to find durable solutions to three of today’s—and tomorrow’s—most compelling issues. This is the world’s agenda. And, through the Discovery Themes initiative, we are making it Ohio State’s.  

Areas of Application

Discovery Themes
Health and Wellness Energy and Environment Food Production and Safety
Sensing and Information
Environmental Monitoring, Security and Defense, Medical Imaging, Personalized Healthcare, Data Analytics, Optoelectronics, THz systems
Medical imaging and sensors are crucial in disease diagnosis and treatment and in personalized healthcare. Data analytics and information analysis are also crucial to the future of our healthcare system. Environmental sensors are key enabling technologies for monitoring and understanding the global climate. Information technologies are important components of “smart grid” energy systems. Precision agriculture exploits sensing and environmental information to optimize production, reduce runoff, and utilize resources sustainably. New bio-nano-sensors can improve detection of contaminants.
Energy Efficient Electronics and Systems
Ultra-low Power Electronics, Power Electronics, Energy Distribution, Alternative Energy Sources, Transportation, Manufacturing, Aviation, Implantable Electronics
Implantable electronics and nano-systems for medicine require high energy efficiency to reduce the need for internal or external batteries. Wearable systems for personalized healthcare and monitoring also need energy efficient systems for extended use and convenience. “Smart grid” and highly efficient electrical energy delivery systems are of high importance in achieving energy efficiency. Highly efficient power electronics devices are an emerging enabling technology of high future impact for manufacturing, automotive, and aviation needs. Highly efficient power electronics system can improve electric vehicles thereby reducing demand for bio-fuels. Reducing bio-fuel demand can help reduce food commodity prices. A shift from fossil fuel-based to electric based tools for agricutural production also improves sustainability.
Computation and Cyber-Physical Systems
Manufacturing, Robotics,  Aviation, Machine Intelligence, Data Analytics
Advancement in computer technologies are crucial in decoding genetic information to achieve truly personalized healthcare. Robotics and cyber-physical methods will play key roles as future assistive systems technologies to improve quality-of-life for the elderly or disabled. Cyber-physical sensor networks are emerging as crucial components in environmental and energy grid monitoring. Intelligent transportation, energy grid optimization, and advanced robotics for manufacturing are also key technologies to improve energy efficiency. Autonomous robotic tools for agricultural production are beginning to enter the market, but need significant enhancement to achieve their full potential in achieving sustainable food production for a growing world population.