Message from the Chair

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Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor and Department Chair Eric Loth

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia is disrupting research and educational boundaries like never before. Our research breakthroughs are being reported by media including BBC, CNBC, the National Academy of Engineering and Scientific American and world-renowned journals such as Advanced Materials, Applied Energy, Nature Nanotechnology, PNAS and Science Robotics. Our faculty also lead a $7.2 million Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary Research Initiative, which supported development of the fastest-ever bio-inspired robotic tuna, and a
$6.1 million ARPA-e award project to design the world’s largest wind turbine. Our tenured faculty metrics reached new highs of $681,000/faculty in research expenditures with an average H-index of 29. In 2019, new nationally recognized fellows in our department included Harsha K. Chelliah and Patrick E. Hopkins (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), George T. Gillies (National Academy of Inventors) and Houston Wood (Institute of Nuclear Materials Management). The future is even brighter with eight new MAE faculty who strengthen our research in autonomous systems, biomechanics, energy and AI manufacturing.

The size, diversity and quality of our graduate programs is also setting new records. Since 2016, our Ph.D. enrollment has increased 30 percent, among which women and students from populations traditionally underrepresented in engineering increased by 107 percent. In addition, we awarded our highest-ever number of graduate fellowships and attracted students with top GRE scores; our online master’s degree program is now ranked No. 3 nationally. Our undergraduates also placed 1st in the NASA Aeronautics University Design Challenge, 1st nationally and 3rd worldwide in the Design, Build, Fly
competition. Our trajectory continues to point up as we instituted the largest changes in decades to our undergraduate and graduate curricula, while generous alumni drove a major renovation of all our student laboratories. 

With this tremendous growth and success we look forward to an exciting future driven by more excellence, diversity and world-impacting research.

Please see the University of Virginia Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Newsletter for more about this year's news and advances.