Seven University of Texas at Austin researchers are confronting what the scientific community has defined as this century's grand challenges in drug design, environmental sustainability and improved oil recovery using Moncrief Grand Challenge Faculty awards for 2011-12.

Professors Tom Hughes and Mark Mear of the department are among those selected.

The awards, funded by the private donations of oilman and philanthropist W. A. "Tex" Moncrief of Fort Worth and an anonymous donor, enable scientists and engineers to work at the Institute for Computational and Engineering Sciences (ICES) on challenges that affect the competitiveness and international standing of the United States.

Hughes' research project is on modeling the behavior of nanoparticles in blood vessels to design drug delivery systems.

Mear's research project is on modeling the behavior of soil and rocks to improve recovery of natural resources such as groundwater and oil.

Grand challenges are problems that must be addressed to achieve a sustainable, economically robust and politically stable future. These involve using computational methods to study such topics as cardiovascular engineering, water sustainability and weather. Other vitally important areas include carbon sequestration, drug design and delivery, advanced materials, rising seas modeling, national security, nano-science and engineering, and computational medicine and biomedicine.

Over the past three years the Moncrief Grand Challenge Awards Program has provided more than $1 million in funding for university faculty to pursue research in computational science and engineering.


nasa insight mars lander

Alumni Spotlight

ASE Longhorn Prepares for NASA Mars InSight Launch

Alumnus Drew Penrod, a NASA-JPL systems engineer, took the time to answer a few questions about his experience working on the NASA InSight mission to Mars.

Read More

moriba jah

Faculty Op-Ed

Space is the Next Frontier for Environmentalism

Dr. Moriba Jah authored this op-ed piece in the Dallas Morning News on the growing number of space objects orbiting Earth.

Read More

faculty recruiting image

Faculty Positions

Join Our Faculty

Learn more about our faculty openings for tenured faculty and non tenure-track positions.

Read More

Department News

March 5, 2018

2018 SXSW Speakers

ASE/EM associate professor Luis Sentis and visiting researcher Pulin Wang who is working with associate professor Nanshu Lu, will be speaking at SXSW this year.

February 7, 2018

Srinivas Bettadpur Named Director of Center for Space Research

Dr. Srinivas Bettadpur has been named director of the Center for Space Research at the Cockrell School of Engineering.

Upcoming Seminar

April 12, 2018

Microstructure-based modeling of interface-facilitated mechanisms in structural materials

Dr. Irene J. Beyerlein

Location: WRW 102
Time: 3:30 pm

Image Gallery

  • GRACE Follow-on Satellites
    GRACE Follow-on Satellites
    Dr. Srinivas Bettadpur is leading the launch of the GRACE Follow-On Mission, replacing the twin GRACE satellites that have been measuring Earth's water and mass movement for 15 years. The new satellites will take more accurate measurements and provide important data on the rate of melting ice, rising ocean levels and depleted aquifers.
  • Deepwater Horizon Spill
    Deepwater Horizon Spill
    This Landsat 5 image of the Mississippi Delta was collected in May 2010 and used to observe and forecast the movement of surface oil slicks during the Bp Deepwater Horizon spill. -Center for Space Research (Dawson and Wells Research Groups)
  • Simulation of Perturbed Jet
    Simulation of Perturbed Jet
    A shallow water simulation of a perturbed jet (at day 6) on the earth's surface using an upwind Hybridized Discontinuous Galerkin method. The figure shows the (relative) vorticity field of a barotropcially unstable (zonal) flow. -Computational Engineering and Optimization Group (Bui-Thanh)
  • Stretchable Electronics
    Stretchable Electronics
    A researcher is handling a 1um thick semi-transparent polyimide film as a substrate for stretchable electronics inside a glove box because polyimide is sensitive to moisture during the curing process. -Mechanics of Bio-Integrated Electronics Lab (Lu Research Group)
  • Flexible Rotor Blade
    Flexible Rotor Blade
    Dr. Jayant Sirohi and his research team are using this flexible rotor stand to conduct experiments that could improve helicopter blade design and increase efficiency during natural disasters, emergency situations and military missions.
  • Ground Communication System
    Ground Communication System
    Student members of the Texas Spacecraft Lab with the ground communication system that will be used to communicate with the ARMADILLO satellite
  • Materials Research: Graphene Transfer
    Materials Research: Graphene Transfer
    Dr. Kenneth Liechti and his research teamhave found that graphene can be transferred to new materials by peeling, a technique that has potential to break a bottleneck that’s limiting the use of this versatile material in the next generation of electronics. 
  • Soft Tissue Biomechanics Lab
    Soft Tissue Biomechanics Lab
    Dr. Manuel Rausch (right) and his students are researching the mechanical properties of blood clots and chordae tendineae—heartstrings—with the goal of improving treatment for medical issues like heart disease and pregnancy complications.
  • RadioLynx
    The "RadioLynx" is a dual-antenna, dual-frequency GNSS front-end developed in collaboration with the UT Austin Radionavigation Lab led by Dr. Todd Humphreys. It will enable robust and precise positioning for pedestrians and cyclists at a very low cost.
  • Earth's Time-Averaged Gravity Field
    Earth's Time-Averaged Gravity Field

    This image of Earth's time-averaged gravity field shows features in the continental and oceanic crust with unprecedented detail for use in studies of ocean circulation, structure and properties of the Earth's crust, surveying, and terrestrial space navigation. -Center for Space Research

  • Texas Spacecraft Laboratory
    Texas Spacecraft Laboratory
    Dr. Noble Hatten works with a student in the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory. Dr. Hatten is director of the TSL, where undergraduate and graduate students work together to design, fabricate, test, and operate space-based tools.
  • HexaCopter
    Todd Humphreys and his research team successfully performed GPS spoofing attacks on a 213-foot superyacht while it traveled on the Mediterranean Sea. A hexacopter with an HD video camera flies near the superyacht's satellite antennas. -Radionavigation Lab (Humphreys Research Group)
  • Plasma Streams
    Plasma Streams
    Pulsed plasma jets are used to control separation in a shock wave/boundary layer interacion. The photo was captured in a mach 3 wind tunnel at the JJ pickle Research Campus. The flow is from left to right and the shock is induced by the compression ramp at right. -Flowfield Imaging Lab (Clemens Research Group)
  • Computational Fluid Physics Laboratory
    Computational Fluid Physics Laboratory
    Computational layer transitioning from laminar-to-turbulent behind a roughness element. -Computational Fluid Physics Laboratory (Goldstein Research Group)
  • Graphene Grown on Copper
    Graphene Grown on Copper
    This scanning electron microscope shows monolayer (lighter) and bilayer (darker) graphene grown on copper. The underlying copper grain structure and ridges within its grains can be seen. Bilayer graphene has a characteristic wrinkling pattern. -Liechti Research Group

  • Simulation of Boiling and Condensation
    Simulation of Boiling and Condensation
    Vapor bubbles are generated at discrete sites of the heated bottom surface. The vapor flows are condensed to liquid droplets on the top cooled boundary. Density isosurfaces and velocity streamlines are depicted. -ICES Computational Mechanics Group (Liu and Hughes)

  • Rippling of Graphene Sheet
    Rippling of Graphene Sheet
    An atomistic landscape: Rippling of a graphene sheet (a monolayer of carbon atoms) -Huang Research Group
  • Humanoid Robotics Research
    Humanoid Robotics Research
    Dr. Luis Sentis presents the HCRL/Apptronik Draco Leg, a joint effort between UT Austin and Apptronik Systems, at the Office of Naval Research Science and Technology Expo.
  • Chaotic Flames
    Chaotic Flames
    This chaotic flame, which is burning jet fuel in the Flowfield Imaging Laboratory, helps to assess the sooting characteristics of new types of fuels, like those derived from natural gas. (Clemens Research Group)
  • Air Systems Lab Design
    Air Systems Lab Design
    The student Air Systems Lab supports our capstone aircraft design course and provides work and meeting areas for our AIAA Design/Build/Fly and UT Unmanned Vehicle Systems teams and the Longhorn Rocket Association. 

8th Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program

U.S. News & World Report

8th Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Program

U.S. News & World Report

4th Most Influential Research Institution in Aerospace

Thomson Reuters State of Innovation Report

9th Aerospace Engineering Program

Center for World University Rankings