Message from the Chair


Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor and Department Chair Eric Loth

Challenges and Excitement!  This past year has been electric with vitality, accomplishment, and recognition for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia.  Our department is a leader in scholarship and research enterprise and has substantially grown our graduate programs with record-breaking GRE & GPA scores as well as unprecedented increases in the number of women and underrepresented minority graduate students.  This powerful combination has led to our best rankings year ever and multiple awards for our students and faculty.

Going forward, our focus is on the Grand Challenges in Mechanical Engineering, which represent the most difficult and important problems in our field, with a focus on

  • robotics, autonomy in transportation and manufacturing 
  • energy and materials, and
  • engineered safety and health for humans  
  • advancing propulsion systems
  • clean and efficient energy for aircraft
  • drones and autonomy

We have developed an enthusiastic strategic research plan to impact these areas of societal importance, building on new infrastructure in the department and school of engineering including:

  • the $4M LinkLab in cyber-physical systems  
  • the $8M Multifunctional Material Integration
  • the $10M Center for Engineering in Medicine 
     

These are in addition to our world-renowned Center for Applied Biomechanics, Center for Rotating Machinery, and the Bioinspired Engineering Research Laboratory (all founded by MAE faculty).  Our forward strategy includes several new faculty openings and a Grand Challenges Lecture Series for AY 2018-19 led by department chairs from Berkeley, Georgia Tech, GW, Illinois, Michigan, MIT, Penn State, and Texas.

Our enterprise and scholarship excellence, strong graduate program growth, new infrastructure and vision for the future, has us excited to take on the biggest and most important challenges in mechanical engineering - to solve problems and change lives.