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Research Centers, Institutes, and Consortia

The College hosts ten research units and is affiliated with numerous other University of Kentucky research centers and institutes:

Center for Aluminum Technology

The Center for Aluminum Technology is a partnership involving the aluminum industries, the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet, the U.S. Department of Energy, and UK. The mission of the center is to provide industry with trained personnel, new knowledge and emerging technology know-how needed to be globally competitive in the 21st century. The multidisciplinary research center trains undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students to provide leadership in aluminum technology, develops programs in aluminum technology for non-degree students in conjunction with community colleges and technical schools, and provides research on the fabrication and use of aluminum. The center enlists the skills of researchers from a variety of disciplines, including materials engineering, chemical engineering, mathematics, chemistry, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Shridas Ningileri, Director, (859) 514-4989

Visit the CAT website

Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering

CeNSE (Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering), formerly known as CMMED (Center for Micro-Magnetic and Electronic Devices) is a shared-use facility to encourage the development of device research at the nano-scale. Nearly $2 million has been invested in the basic fabrication techniques of film deposition, lithographic pattern definition, and material etching that will enable cutting edge research in a variety of fields. For example, in addition to more conventional silicon-based transistor devices, simple metal/insulator circuit patterns that incorporate the self-assembly chemistry of tailored receptors could be used for biological sensors. Thus highly multi-disciplinary research efforts are strongly encouraged. This facility is a resource for Kentucky ’s development of both innovative academic research and the realization of emerging commercial ideas.

J. Todd Hastings, Director, (859) 218-6544

Visit the CeNSE website

Electron Microscopy Center

The central campus Electron Microscopy Center, located in the Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC), houses a suite of instruments for state-of-the-art materials characterization. A variable-pressure scanning electron microscope (SEM) is outfitted with a light-element energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) and a back- scattered diffraction camera for orientation imaging microscopy (OIM). A field-emission SEM is available for ultra-high resolution and low-voltage imaging. The facility offers two transmission electron microscopes, one with a LaB6 gun and the other with a field-emission gun; both TEMs are outfitted with light-element EDS detectors, and the field-emission TEM has an electron energy-loss spectrometer and imaging filter. A scanning probe microscope, which can be outfitted with heating, cooling or liquid cell stages, is also available. Instrument users are trained and assisted by facility staff.

John Balk, Director, (859) 257-4582;

Visit the EMC website

Institute for Decarbonization and Energy Advancement

The mission of IDEA will be to develop, demonstrate and commercialize reliable and low-cost CO2 capture, removal, and utilization and other sustainable operation technologies for carbon neutral or carbon-negative goods production across the state of Kentucky, with minimal secondary environmental impacts. The research and technology development scope will include all aspects of decarbonized energy production and utilization, and environmental mitigation, covering applied fundamentals, bench-, pilot- and industrial demonstration-scales. All efforts should be made to minimize overlap and duplication of, and competition with the research missions of other energy-related centers on campus. At the same time, coordination and collaboration with other energy-related centers is encouraged.

Kunlei Liu
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Director, IDEA 859-257-0293

Visit the IDEA website

Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing

The Sustainable Manufacturing Research Program brings together faculty from across the College of Engineering, from other UK colleges and centers, and from universities in the U.S. and a dozen foreign countries. The goal is to pursue multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research projects intended to help manufacturing achieve long-term profitability while offering societal benefits and without harm to the environment or to the needs of future generations. Researchers work closely with industry to ensure the relevance and practicability of the projects.

Faculty teams are currently engaged in work on modeling and optimization of sustainable manufacturing processes covering machining, forming and brazing operations, product and process design for sustainability, sustainable supply chain operations, sustainability enhancement in biomedical implants, dry, near-dry and cryogenic machining. Projects are funded by the US Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, and manufacturing companies such as Toyota, Boeing, Semicon Associates and Caterpillar. The sustainable manufacturing research group is actively involved in research collaboration with a wide variety of defense and commercial manufacturing organizations through the Next Generation Manufacturing Technology Initiative (NGMTI).

I.S. Jawahir, (859) 859-257-6262 ext. 207

Learn more about ISM

Institute of Research for Technology Development

The Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD) addresses industry problems, with a goal of technology development, by fulfilling all three missions of the University of Kentucky – education, research, and outreach. It is made up of two operations with different, yet overlapping missions.

Nelson AkafuahDirector

Learn more about IR4TD

Research and Development (R&D)

R&D directly responds to industry’s immediate and long-term needs for solutions to process problems and challenges in seven key areas, including energy and combustion, nondestructive testing, and scale modeling. It is an outgrowth of the highly successful Painting Technology Consortium (PTC) which joined academic researchers and industrial resources to develop a new generation of energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly painting technology. R&D supports postdoctoral and visiting scholars, and students on multiple levels – graduate, under-graduate and secondary – with research opportunities that enhance their learning experience, a new painting technology course and the recently implemented Toyota Production Engineering Program.

Learn more about IR4TD's R&D

Kentucky Transportation Center

Serving as the focal point in the state for interdisciplinary transportation research, the center works closely with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Federal Highway Administration, and various other private and governmental agencies to develop innovative transportation technological advances. An ongoing technology-transfer program provides services to local government transportation agencies as well as the private sector through training programs, workshops, conferences, technical publications, and on-site consultation. The center’s research capabilities span a wide range of areas with a major & focus on applied research and problem solving for the Transportation Cabinet. Their areas of expertise closely follow the traditional civil engineering discipline, including pavement, materials, structures, traffic/safety, geotech, construction management, environmental analysis, intelligent transportation systems, and policy and systems analysis. The center provides a myriad of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to benefit from hands-on experience addressing transportation issues.

Doug Kreis, Ph.D., P.E.
Director, Kentucky Transportation Center

Visit the KTC website

Lean Systems Program

The result of an ongoing partnership with Toyota initiated in 1994, the lean program offers training courses and coaching services of the Toyota Production System (TPS) directly to businesses and organizations. Over a 20-year history, the program’s instructors and staff have worked with clients worldwide across a broad spectrum of business sectors. In addition to courses for professionals, the Lean program offers several academic courses and one non-academic week-long course to UK students, as well as the Graduate Certificate in Lean Systems. Students who earn a master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering can choose lean as an area of concentration.

Visit the Lean Systems Program website

Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK)

The Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) at University of Kentucky (UK) attracts and educates the next generation of power and energy engineers. Established in 2010 with multi-million dollar support from the Department of Energy (DOE), PEIK successfully continues its activities with generous support from UK, industry, utilities, and private donors. PEIK has a revitalized nationally-acclaimed curriculum in power and energy with hundreds of annual course enrolments and issues undergraduate and graduate certificates. Research on power and energy topics, including sustainable and efficient power systems and electronics, energy storage, smart grids and buildings, and others, as well as wide outreach and collaboration with the regional and professional community are an integral part of PEIK's mission.

Dan M. Ionel, Director, (859) 257-3926

Learn more about PEIK

Vibro-Acoustics Consortium

The Vibro-Acoustics Consortium is a group of companies who support the noise and vibration related research at the University of Kentucky. The objective of the research is to assist the companies in the understanding and use of vibro-acoustic simulation and experimental methods. The research group is well-known for their work in muffler and silencer, acoustic material, simulation, and transfer path analysis research. The vibro-acoustics laboratory has excellent facilities including a 60 square meter hemi-anechoic chamber and state-of-the-art simulation software (including Siemens Virtual.Lab, MSC Actran, and ESI VA-One), and test equipment. Consortium projects are designed to be practical, short term, and beneficial to the full membership. There are two primary meetings each year in the spring and fall as well as several satellite meetings. Meetings are excellent opportunities to network with other members and have access to excellent graduate students.

David W. Herrin, Director, (859) 218-0609

Visit the VAC website

Affiliated Research Centers

Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC)

ASTeCC is UK’s premier business incubator housing new and emerging technology-based companies. Located in the middle of campus within the engineering complex, ASTeCC opened in 1994. The 80,000 sq. ft., $17 million building was funded by the Economic Development Administration and the Small Business Administration. Startup companies in ASTeCC have licensed UK intellectual property or have a connection to UK faculty or staff. ASTeCC is also home to faculty labs for research with commercialization potential, and shared-use facilities for the entire campus, including the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the electron microscopy center and the mass spectrometry facility.

Tanya Floyd, ASTeCC leasing and operations manager, (859) 218-6563

Visit the ASTeCC website

Center for Applied Energy Research

CAER is an energy technology research facility whose broad mission is to conduct basic and applied research designed to generate information on Kentucky energy resources; ascertain the associated environmental impacts; and produce, test and evaluate new technologies. Current activities include coal cleaning, catalysis, emissions control, separation technologies, coal combustion byproducts research, and activated carbon research. CAER’s industrial support group works with industry to solve industrial problems through the utilization of the center’s analytical services expertise and facilities. The Center for Applied Energy Research each year sponsors seminars by distinguished experts on current scientific topics of interest to the academic and research communities.

Rodney Andrews, Director, (859) 257-0305

Visit the CAER website

Center of Membrane Sciences

The Center of Membrane Sciences was established to foster multidisciplinary research on biological and synthetic membranes and their interface. The center provides scientific and technological leadership and facilities to develop basic research in a new generation of membranes and to promote partnerships fundamental to knowledge – and technology transfer.

As one of only a small number of academically based Centers of Membrane Science, the UK center has already received international recognition as a focal point of research among biological and synthetic membrane experts. The center faculty from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Medicine, and Human Environmental Systems comprise multidisciplinary research teams who combine to develop new areas of integrative membrane research and to respond to intriguing challenges of membrane sciences and technology.

The center’s strengths in the interface of biological and synthetic membranes are bolstered by the availability of diverse state-of-the-art research equipment and facilities for the fabrication and characterization of a new generation of membranes.

Center of Membrane Sciences

Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute

KWRRI stimulates and supports water research and education by identifying current and emerging water issues for Kentucky and the nation. Institute programs include the Environmental Systems Certificate curriculum, which offers graduate students an understanding of the interactions of physical, social, biological, economic and legal parameters of environmental issues. Environmental Protection Scholarships support both undergraduate and graduate students with full scholarships in exchange for employment with the state upon graduation. KWRRI assists the state Cabinet for Health Services with environmental oversight of federal facilities located in Kentucky, and administers Water Resources Research Grants, which stimulate research activities by supporting faculty members, research staff and graduate students in a broad spectrum of research topics. The institute’s technology-transfer activities include short courses, seminars and conferences, and distribution of research results.

Lindell Ormsbee, Director, (859) 257-1299

Visit the KWRRI website

Center for Computational Sciences

The University of Kentucky’s (UK) Center for Computational Sciences (CCS) is a leader in High Performance Computing (HPC) for scientific research and teaching. These supercomputing facilities are available to the faculty at UKY and to research institutions throughout the state of Kentucky. CCS represents a vibrant, interdisciplinary partnership engaging numerous schools and departments across UK. CCS bridges UK’s unique strengths in scientific computing by supporting more than 75 research groups in a variety of disciplines, including genetics, physics, materials science, engineering, biological sciences, and health sciences.

CCS is expanding its current traditional High Performance Computing (HPC) system to include loosely coupled high memory/storage nodes suited to today’s big data science research needs (See Current Systems). In addition to providing multiple systems and technologies relevant to varying application challenges, CCS also provides consulting, technical documentation and training to assist researchers in using these resources effectively.

Visit the CCS website

Institute for Biomedical Informatics

The Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI) is a multidisciplinary center for informatics research. The Institute translates data into knowledge to improve human health and effectively uses the latest technology and tools for the advancement of biological sciences. The IBI promotes translational team science and engages the entire campus to develop and grow informatics and data science training programs, share research and data infrastructure, and enable technology innovation.

Visit the IBI website