Clemson Division of Research

Our Peers are Taking Notice

A man in a dark suit jacket with a Clemson tiger paw on the lapel
Tanju Karanfil

In late November, we were afforded a distinct opportunity to showcase our facilities, our capabilities, and most importantly, our people to one of the nation’s most influential scientists.

National Science Foundation director Sethuraman Panchanathan left our Greenville campus impressed with what we are building here together, particularly with our success in collaborating with industry and community partners to advance meaningful, impactful research.

“Seeing the synergistic and symbiotic systems of students, public funding and private industry happening here, we should determine how we scale activities here and use Clemson as an example all around the country,” Dr. Panchanathan said during his visit.

Use Clemson as an example.

You can hear some of Dr. Panchanathan’s remarks here and learn more about his visit here.

The visit followed a string of successes for our research enterprise that our peers are certainly noticing.

A man in a suit surround by students
NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan speaks with students.

In February, we welcomed U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to the Dominion Energy Innovation Center at our Lowcountry campus as she was highlighting advancements in clean energy innovation. While visiting the Clemson facility, Granholm said South Carolina had a real opportunity to be a leader in energy technology.

The same month, the chief scientist for the U.S. Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center, David Gorsuch, visited Clemson to help celebrate another $22 million to support the Virtual Prototyping of autonomy-enabled Grounds Systems (VIPR) Research Center project at Clemson. Our facility and expertise made Clemson uniquely positioned for the project, he said.

two men stand in front of a presentation screen and two test vehicles
NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan tours the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

At Clemson, we continue to make a name for ourselves as a top research institution, and the scholarly community is taking notice. We are building a winning culture. We are thinking big and winning big and proving that we can handle large, interdisciplinary research projects. The VIPR project involves 62 faculty members and 125 graduate students spread across 10 departments.

Clemson recently received its first Energy Frontier Research Center project from the Department of Energy, a $10.35 million grant that involves five Clemson departments and numerous partners, including two national labs.

Two men talking
NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan learns about research at Clemson.

The new USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities project marked the largest single grant Clemson has ever received from a federal funding agency – $70 million.  The project involves 29 Clemson faculty and 20 graduate students across 11 departments, as well as an impressive state coalition of 27 community partners.

We now have four NIH Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, the most active COBRE projects a university can have at one time. What a feat for a university without a medical school. We have EPSCoR projects from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. These involve dozens of faculty members and students.

And, importantly, it is not just the grants. The number of Clemson-authored journal publications has increased 42 percent over the past decade, and citations of Clemson research have increased 82 percent. Clemson faculty members have recently earned lifetime achievements awards from InnoVision, the American College of Healthcare Architects, and the Society of Wetlands Scientists, and Universities Council on Water Resources. Clemson has its first ever member of the prestigious American Philosophical Society. The Production and Operations Management Journal named a research award in honor of a Clemson faculty member. Faculty members from every college have earned national and international fellowships in their fields – art, education, architecture, health care, global studies, leisure and recreation, engineering, business, agriculture, physics, and so many more. There are too many to list but I see them and proudly report many of them each quarter to the university’s Board of Trusts.

And, we have exceptional students carrying the Clemson torch – our first Rhodes Scholar; our first Gates Cambridge Scholar; a Truman Scholar; a Hertz Fellowship recipient; and on and on.

These are only a few examples; I should apologize for unintentionally leaving others out. There are so many shining examples of great research happening at Clemson (There are nearly 1,800 research projects happening across Clemson’s footprint right now, by the way, and that’s an increase of nearly 25 percent from 2016.)

These projects and recognitions shine a light on what is possible. Keep going.

Congratulations to everyone on another successful semester. As we head into another calendar year, I challenge us all to continue to think big.

Thank you for your support of scholarship and discovery at Clemson. Have a wonderful holiday season and a restful break.

Go Tigers!