Grace J. Wang

Talk title: “The changing landscape in engineering research, education and innovation”.


The Directorate for Engineering (ENG) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) aims to invest in engineering research and education and foster innovations for the benefit to society. Fundamental research supported by ENG, combined with the creativity of well-educated engineers and the resources of state-of-the-art facilities, has resulted in many important discoveries. These discoveries have fueled exciting technological innovations that in turn have stimulated economic growth and are improving the quality of life for all Americans.

Today, the landscape of engineering research, education and innovation is rapidly changing. With growing and aging population, we are facing many societal challenges including pressing demands for food, land, energy and water, urgent need for educating students from diverse backgrounds, requirement of security in an increasingly connected world, more effective and affordable healthcare, and sustainable economic growth for employment. Wireless and communication technologies will no doubt play an important role in enabling novel solutions to address these challenges. Moreover, the engineering education ecosystem continues to face major challenges in attracting women and underrepresented minorities. These and other such challenges are likely to become even more important in the coming years. In this talk, the changing landscape in engineering research, education and innovation will first be introduced, followed by a discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing the wireless and communication research and education communities.


Grace WangGrace Wang was named Deputy Assistant Director for Engineering at the National Science Foundation in July 2014. Prior to that, Grace was the Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) at NSF since February of 2012. Grace joined NSF in June 2009 as a Program Director for the SBIR/STTR Program. She also served as the Cluster Leader for the Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (NM) Cluster in SBIR/STTR Program. Before joining NSF, Grace was a Senior Development Scientist at Hitachi, where she led a team to successfully develop and launch a few generations of products into the market. While in Hitachi, Grace also led task forces both in the US and overseas that identified and executed effective and viable solutions to major technical crises, and helped mitigate impact on revenue generation. Grace started her career as an Advisory Development Scientist at IBM. Grace is the recipient of many leadership and technical achievement awards. Grace holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University.