$16 million NSF renewal grant to fund fluid power center based at University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota announced that the Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) based at the Twin Cities campus has received a four-year, $16 million renewal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Industry partners will augment NSF funding with cash and in-kind contributions, and the center's seven university partners will contribute an additional $3.2 million.

An NSF site visit team, which includes experts in fluid power from across the country, will visit the University of Minnesota this week to review the program and learn more about current research, education, outreach and industry partnerships.

More than 30 faculty, 300 undergraduate and graduate engineering students, and 57 industry sponsors across the country have been involved in the CCEFP since its inception in 2006 through an initial NSF grant. More than 25 research projects focus on a variety of fluid power applications including hydraulic hybrid vehicles, rescue robots, medical devices and energy efficiencies for excavating machinery. Results are already impressive with 14 inventions disclosed and more than 100 technical papers published.

The center's education and outreach program is equally ambitious, with more than 20 projects designed to attract pre-college students to science and engineering, educate all mechanical engineering undergraduate students about fluid power, raise the general public's awareness of fluid power, increase the diversity of students and researchers in fluid power, and establish lasting forums where industry and academia can exchange ideas.

"The CCEFP has already made landmark breakthroughs," said Kim Stelson, center director and University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor. "The center has transformed hydraulic and pneumatic research in this country from isolated efforts by a few to a cohesive, strategically-directed collaborative team linking seven universities and many leaders in the fluid power industry. Recognition of these efforts continues to grow, as the center's work impresses academic and engineering audiences worldwide. Our efforts in education and outreach show significant results, too, as the CCEFP works with established, effective partners to maximize program impact."

The CCEFP is headquartered at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and is a research center within the University's Institute of Technology (soon to be called the College of Science and Engineering). Other universities in the center's network include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University and Vanderbilt University. Outreach universities include the Milwaukee School of Engineering and North Carolina A&T State University. Outreach institutions include the National Fluid Power Association, Project Lead The Way and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The CCEFP is one of 15 NSF-funded Engineering Research Centers charged with conducting pioneering research in emerging technologies and in training the next generation of engineers to be leaders in innovation.

Additional information about the Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power is available at www.ccefp.org.