More than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, I continue to be inspired by the many people inside and outside the Jacobs School of Engineering who enable us to do the work that matters, in terms of education, mentoring and research.
Together we continue to build momentum. We hired 23 inspiring and motivated faculty this year; our Task Force on Faculty and Student Racial Equity in the Jacobs School of Engineering has begun work (more on this soon); our community has raised more than $5 million since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to support students traditionally underrepresented in engineering and computer science; and we will soon be announcing the inaugural faculty director for the Jacobs School Research Ethics Initiative. This is just a sampling of the work that matters.
I want to thank everyone who is working so hard under incredible pressure to create learning, research, and career opportunities for the Jacobs School and the entire UC San Diego community. (See below for Return to Learn and Research Ramp-up information.) Experiencing everyone come together to leverage engineering for good motivates me to take on more.
NAE Deans’ Roundtable
I am the inaugural chair of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Deans’ Roundtable, and I am using this opportunity to bring attention to "a missing link" in how we do research in this country. Fixing this missing link will have direct positive impacts on our students, innovation workers, communities, industries, and our nation's long-term prosperity.
Capturing more value from research
We know that federally funded science and technology researchers across the US make important breakthroughs every day. The problem is that we do not capture enough of the value of the breakthroughs. That's the missing link. We need to increase the flow of innovation from academic research labs into US companies, organizations and communities. In short, we need to get better at capturing the value of the US research enterprise.
To do this, the students and postdocs who are making so many of these breakthroughs need new kinds of tools: virtual and democratized tools that empower them to build on each others' work in contexts that are relevant for industry.
I envision accomplishing these related goals together through new forms of public-private research partnerships that bring industry, academia and government together early on through "pre-competitive research" on influential technologies (which I call "platform technologies") that can be rapidly pivoted to solve emerging problems.
I will continue to work on these projects at the national scale through the NAE Deans' Roundtable, and regionally through the Jacobs School Dean's Council of Advisors, and through other organizations. One of our first case studies is 6G wireless networks. A few more thoughts on this project are outlined here.
Please get in touch if you have thoughts or ideas. I can be reached at DeanPisano@eng.ucsd.edu
You make engineering matter
Engineering and computer science education and research matter more now than ever. I'd like to thank the Jacobs School staff and faculty for the incredible work that each of you do — so much of it behind the scenes. Your efforts make all the difference.
Take care and stay safe. We are all in this together.
~Albert P. Pisano, Dean
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering