At WPI, collaboration is at the heart of not only student work, but also faculty research. Open, side-by-side lab spaces foster teamwork and communication among faculty members with different backgrounds, training, and research methods, regularly producing impressive results. From physicists joining forces with biologists on common biophysical problems to humanities professors working with engineers to develop more supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ science and engineering students, the collaboration of faculty members has proven invaluable to the WPI community. Scroll through to learn more.
WPI’s reputation as a rigorous and innovative university rests on the shoulders of its dedicated faculty. Faculty members here are involved in all aspects of campus life and thrill in the discoveries they make working with their students, with faculty colleagues at WPI, and with partners around the globe.
At WPI, the boundaries to multidisciplinary collaboration are low, and both research across disciplines and academic alliances occur easily and often, producing distinctive programs and innovative solutions. Biomedical engineering faculty members might collaborate with colleagues in the Foisie Business School to translate groundbreaking research into a new company, while life sciences and bioengineering faculty from multiple disciplines discover unexpected breakthroughs because they work side-by-side in open lab spaces.
Great Minds Multiplied
WPI believes that when great minds work together, great advances follow. Our collaborative environment encourages faculty members, students, and other partners to work together on the project work and cutting-edge research that are hallmarks of the WPI experience.
Driving Autonomous Car Research
From their different areas of self-driving car research, mechanical engineering professor Raghvendra Cowlagi and electrical and computer engineering professor Alex Wyglinski are joining forces on an NSF-funded project that is bringing together Cowlagi’s study of decision making for autonomous cars and Wyglinski’s study of wireless communications to create a network of self-driving cars that can share information about everything from traffic congestion to icy road conditions and accidents snarling traffic ahead.
From traditional manufacturing in the Washburn Shops to innovative manufacturing in biology at the Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center (BETC), WPI faculty from multiple disciplines work as one to advance the field. In keeping with this dedication to collaboration and in recognition of its research expertise in the field, WPI has earned a membership in eight of the 14 Manufacturing USA Institutes, which “connects people, ideas, and technology to solve industry-relevant advanced manufacturing challenges.
Collaborating on Solar Energy
Researchers from the physics, mechanical engineering, and chemical engineering departments are joining forces develop materials that can generate and store more energy from the sun, which could make solar energy more efficient, less expensive, and more widely available. Their work is being funded by two significant National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and an award from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
A Perfect Blendship
Erkan Tüzel is a physicist who builds models that simulate complex systems. Luis Vidali is a biologist who studies plant physiology at the molecular level. They’ve combined their expertise and their passions into an interdisciplinary partnership that is yielding remarkable fruit.
Guiding Them Further
Albania Project Center co-directors Peter Christopher, professor of mathematical sciences, and Bob Hersh, instructor in Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, discuss their work with sponsors and students, reflecting on how it changes and inspires their teaching and outlook.
Building a More Equitable Faculty Promotion Process
A multidisciplinary team representing Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and Business received a $1 million ADVANCE grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to examine the university’s faculty promotion processes, identify areas of bias that may be impacting female faculty, and implement more equitable policies and practices. The grant, part of an NSF program to increase the participation and advancement of women in STEM careers, comes as universities nationwide are striving to recruit, develop, and retain a more diverse and gender-balanced faculty that better reflects their student bodies and the population as a whole.