Agile Research Centers

Idea Scholars

Relevance and Excellence

New research centers help industry connect with teams of professors and graduate students

In 2014, the Jacobs School of Engineering reinvented the way it launches and runs new research centers. Two years later, eight “agile research centers” are the result of this move; and more centers are on the way. Each center is focused on issues critical to society and serves as a platform for interactions between research teams at UC San Diego and industry partners with mutual research interests.

“We are a big school, a powerful school, a diverse school,” said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “We launched the agile research centers program to harness the creativity of the faculty for maximum impact. Each agile center is built around a research vision that addresses big challenges facing society that no individual profes-sor, lab or industry partner could take on alone.”

The latest two centers are the CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials and Systems (pg. 6) and the Center for Microbiome Innovation (pg. 7).

“We maintain all the science, engineering fundamentals and rigor as we focus on relevance to society,” said Pisano.

The Center for Wearable Sensors was the first agile center to launch. Professors Joseph Wang and Patrick Mercier pulled together a broad palette of expertise and built a research center focused on develop-ing and integrating the hardware, software, sensors, and data-analysis tools required to realize the promise of wearables for human health, medicine, environmental monitoring and much more.

“Our faculty self-organize around research areas and challenges, where they can have an outsized impact in both academia and in re-al-world applications,” said Pisano.

Rob Knight, a pediatrics and computer science professor, recently launched the Center for Microbiome Innovation (pg. 7). The center pulls together many existing strengths across campus to harness com-plex microbial communities for the benefit of humanity. Improved hu-man health and agriculture as well as nearly limitless renewable energy are just a few of many possibilities.


Jacobs School

Agile Research Centers

  • CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials & Systems
  • Center for Extreme Events Research
  • Center for Microbiome Innovation
  • Center for Visual Computing
  • Center for Wearable Sensors
  • CHO Systems Biology Center
  • Sustainable Power and Energy Center

Want to connect with the Jacobs School about an agile center or another university-industry collaboration?

Anne O'Donnell
Executive Director, Corporate Research Partnerships | +1 (858) 822-5963

Table of Contents