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Stevens Institute of Technology Leveraging Research to Shape the Future

By April 20, 2020 May 1st, 2020 No Comments

Founded by the American pioneers of rail and steam transportation, Stevens Institute of Technology is a premier, student-centric technological research university dedicated to nurturing and educating tomorrow’s leaders. Known for their contributions to solving many of the most challenging issues of our time, Stevens is a Carnegie classified research institution that helps advance societal knowledge in many important areas, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and cybersecurity; data science and information systems; biomedical engineering, healthcare and life sciences; and coastal and urban sustainability.

Enrollment rates at the undergraduate and graduate levels continue to grow. The very talented incoming class of 2023 has nearly 1,000 students, with an average SAT score of 1416. “The relevance and the rigor of the education that students at Stevens receive is notably reflected in student outcomes,” says Dr. Dilhan Kalyon, Vice Provost for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Stevens. 96% of the class of 2018 secured employment, with an average starting salary of over $71,000, or admission to a prestigious graduate school. Stevens is dedicated to further growing the scale and impact of the University’s cutting-edge research and helping enhance the community both intellectually and economically.

Advancing Research and Discovery

At Stevens, technology is at the core. Technology and innovation have been the legacy of the University for nearly 150 years and that tradition continues today.  Technology drives every program offered at the institution, from medical device design to cybersecurity to music and arts coursework. “In a quickly evolving world, research and technological discovery at Stevens are strongly focused on areas where the University has significant expertise and in fields that can have the largest impact on society,” shares Kalyon. As a long-standing contributor to the economic vitality of the local community and the State of New Jersey, Stevens seeks to expand their education and research capacities to enhance their impact at a regional level and beyond. Stevens is home to 18 research centers and labs, including two National Centers of Excellence, with many externally-funded research projects underway.

Stevens continues to generate new technologies and startup ventures that frequently take root in the Hoboken area. “One important research project involves developing new ways to clean New Jersey’s lakes and rivers,” says Kalyon. “Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) via the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC), teams of University faculty and graduate students are testing several methods to blunt the effect of runoff laden with waste, fertilizer, toxic chemicals, and excess nutrients from the densely populated metro region.”

Another research focus includes a cluster of projects funded by Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the field of sustainable energy. “Researchers are looking to develop new materials and processes for harvesting solar energy, developing affordable and secure batteries, and finding ways of more efficiently converting biomass,” shares Kalyon.

Notable Accomplishments

In 2015, Stevens won the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, an international competition for the design, construction and sustainable operation of the SURE House, a prototype of a net-zero energy home resilient enough to withstand hurricane-force winds and flooding in vulnerable areas along the coast. The home combined innovative engineering methods with the latest renewable energy technologies and state-of-the-art building science.

Stevens is leading the way in quantum communication with a research team that demonstrated the first operational quantum communication link in an installation on campus. The hybrid-quantum network will serve as a testbed for engineering innovations and provide an open platform to engage students and faculty. Quantum communications provide a secure way to transfer data and this technology has the potential to allow ultra-secure financial transactions and provide improvements in the defense, medical and other sensitive data storage and computation areas. Future iterations of this research plans to include students from other departments beyond physics, including computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and financial engineering.

In the field of stem cell research, Stevens recently demonstrated that the differentiation fate of stem cells can be altered via changes in substrate geometries on which they are proliferated; opening the way to new stem cell-based therapies. “Many more ground-breaking developments and discoveries are likely on the horizon as Stevens continues to address society’s pressing challenges through focused research,” reveals Kalyon.

The AI and Big Data Frontier

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data science are embedded in multiple areas of research at Stevens, leading to discoveries in defense and security, the development of functionalities of autonomous vehicles, and numerous medical applications. “Over fifty faculty members from engineering, business, systems, and arts and music have formed the Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence,” says Kalyon. “This collaboration explores complex problems and develops creative solutions that impact our society while advancing the engineering and science of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data.”

The data revolution also informs important work in the University’s School of Business. “The Hanlon Financial Systems Center, for example, encourages the application of cutting-edge technologies in unique and creative ways to solve complex, systemic financial problems,” states Kalyon. Technology in the Hanlon Financial Systems Center creates unique opportunities for both students and faculty in a location minutes from Wall Street and aims to uncover and exploit new opportunities through statistical analysis and modeling.

Shaping the Future

Stevens strives for excellence in both education and research—conjoined activities that significantly strengthen and support one another. “Undergraduate students are impacted and enriched through their inclusion in various research programs and receive invaluable insights into the frontiers of their fields,” says Kaylon. In FY2018, the University received more than $45 million in research funding and Stevens faculty authored 726 publications—an increase of more than 30% since 2014. Students are able to integrate into various funded programs that strive to reach beyond the boundaries of current knowledge and are gaining the confidence and problem-solving skills that will be essential as they grow as professionals. In addition, Stevens has added over 50 new faculty members during the past two years and the University will continue to expand their expertise to further increase the scope and reach of their research and technology development and commercialization efforts.

As Stevens continues to grow, the University will be an invaluable partner in building the future of the community and New Jersey. The focus on entrepreneurial thinking aims to go beyond the classroom, with Stevens offering students and faculty opportunities to turn technology into thriving businesses. “The University established the Stevens Venture Center (SVC), a technology incubator, to help with the commercialization of the intellectual property that is generated by Stevens’s students and faculty,” shares Kalyon. “The SVC provides the resources, training, support, and infrastructure to turn ideas into reality.”

Stevens has several projects underway that will be critical to national and global planning, governance, infrastructure, safety, security and well-being. Among the extraordinary research, Stevens is developing flexible and lightweight organic solar cells that could transform the way we generate energy. In addition, research teams are creating new brain machine interfaces for rehabilitation, exploring tissue reconstruction for unique and less invasive medical procedures, and improving brain imaging for state-of-the art medical diagnostics. At the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship since the late 1800s, Stevens will continue to empower inventors, business pioneers, and visionaries to modernize and shape the future.