The Hub for Hubs

For business and government leaders who want to get things done, there’s no better destination than NC State. The strength of our research enterprise has attracted dozens of partners from around the globe. They come to us with a common project: solving the big problems.

When America needs ideas, NC State takes action.

An aerial view of Centennial Campus with the Raleigh, NC, skyline in the distance.NC State houses more than 70 partners on Centennial Campus, an award-winning research environment that boasts 4 million square feet of constructed space. Through its College of Engineering, the university is one of only two institutions in the country currently leading two National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Centers. And the most recent NSF data ranks NC State 10th in the country among public universities without a medical school for total research expenditures — and fifth for industry-sponsored research.

9 Federal Research Hubs

Tackling America’s Grand Challenges

Smart Energy

Without the electricity supplied by the national power grid, everything would grind to a halt. Yet that grid is outdated and prone to failure. That’s why NC State is leading the FREEDM Systems Center, an NSF Engineering Research Center, in its efforts to develop the new smart grid, a multidirectional “energy Internet” that routes power to where it’s needed, maximizing efficiency and minimizing outages. The smart transformer FREEDM has built as part of this energy overhaul was named one of the world’s 10 breakthrough technologies by MIT Technology Review.

Leading the Charge

Nanotech Health Monitoring

Improving global health is a big, complex problem that demands input from almost every discipline. Parts of the solution, however, are too small for the eye to see. At the ASSIST Center, the second of NC State’s NSF Engineering Research Centers, researchers are pioneering wearable nanodevices that are powered by the human bodies they monitor. These tiny sensors will help doctors and scientists gather bioinformatic data, improve our health and combat chronic disease.

Advancing Nanotech

Climate Change

In the years ahead, humankind will face few greater challenges than global climate change. As federal agencies seek to coordinate a national response to the looming threat, they have turned to NC State to spearhead dual efforts in the southeastern United States. NC State leads both the Southeast Climate Science Center — in partnership with the Department of the Interior — and the USDA’s Southeast Regional Climate Hub, which is tasked with providing practical tools and solutions for the southeast’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

Helping America Adapt

Nuclear Nonproliferation

The devastating potential of nuclear weaponry is all too clear; how to keep it from being realized is the murky problem. In 2014, the National Nuclear Security Administration awarded NC State a five-year, $25 million grant to head up the Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities, a new partnership of seven top-ranked U.S. universities and three national laboratories. Together, they’re working to develop the next generation of tools, technology and talent needed to detect nuclear weapons.

Stopping the Spread
Red network cables connected to a router.

Big Data

As the world’s total store of data continues to double in size every year or two, a new challenge arises: making sense of those mountains of information. NC State has emerged as a leader in data science, which is why the National Security Agency awarded us $60 million in 2013 to create the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences on our Centennial Campus. A unique collaboration among the NSA, academia and business, the lab is an invaluable proving ground for new big-data analytic methods — and new big-data analysts.

Leveling Mountains of Data

Next-Gen Power Electronics

With power electronic devices projected to consume 80 percent of all electrical energy by 2030, the semiconductors they rely upon must become less costly and more efficient. In 2014, President Obama came to NC State to announce the university’s leadership of PowerAmerica, a $140 million advanced manufacturing institute that unites government, academia and 18 industry partners in an effort to overhaul electronics. The wide bandgap semiconductors being advanced on Centennial Campus will spark a revolution in how we use energy.

Remaking Manufacturing

Manufacturing Innovation

The future of manufacturing in the southeastern United States is threatened by rising energy and technology adoption costs and by a lack of skilled workers. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, NC State has been charged with leading the Southeast hub of a new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute that will overcome those challenges. Together with four other regional hubs, NC State will focus on research and development of new technologies, workforce development initiatives, and the development and creation of test beds.

Energizing Industry
Nuclear reactor inside NC State's Burlington Labs.

Improved Nuclear Power

Nuclear reactors supply one-fifth of our nation’s electricity, so their safety and efficiency remains paramount. That’s why the Department of Energy recently provided a further $121.5 million in funding for the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, an Energy Innovation Hub of which NC State is a founding partner. Led on our campus by Maria Avramova, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, the 24-partner hub is striving to develop the next generation of nuclear reactors and overhaul the performance of existing ones.

Revamping Reactors

#2 for Industry-Sponsored Research

Among U.S. Public Universities Without a Medical School