Penn State named collaborator in first DoD-funded Systems Engineering

January 21, 2009

University Park, Pa. — Penn State will serve as a designated research collaborator in a first-of-its-kind center funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), to focus on systems engineering issues facing the DoD and related defense industries. 

Known as the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), the effort is the nation's first University Affiliated Research Center devoted to systems engineering research. Penn State will participate as part of a consortium of 18 leading collaborator universities and research centers throughout the United States. The center will be led by Stevens Institute of Technology, with the University of Southern California serving as its principal collaborator.

SERC will be responsible for systems engineering research that supports the development, integration, testing and sustainability of complex defense systems, enterprises and services. The center will serve as the systems engineering research engine for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. It also will offer systems engineering programs and workshops for the DoD and intelligence community employees and contractors.

The Penn State team is led by Allan Sonsteby, associate director at the Applied Research Laboratory and graduate faculty member in the College of Information Sciences and Technology.

"This award is a major recognition of the quality and breadth of research across Penn State," said Sonsteby. "The diverse research programs at Penn State will greatly enhance the ability of the SERC to develop new and innovative ideas for understanding and improving systems engineering across the DoD."

Penn State's Applied Research Lab, College of Information Sciences and Technology and Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies will be involved initially with the center.

"This center is a major step forward that will bring the best minds from academia and government together to develop wholly new solutions for extremely complex problems that face our nation in the realms of intelligence, national security and defense," said Henry 'Hank' Foley, dean, IST. "In partnership with Penn State's Applied Research Laboratory, we in the College of Information Sciences and Technology look forward to contributing to this extraordinary center and to the team of institutions led by the Stevens Institute of Technology, a school whose venerable history can be traced back to our nation's birth."

James Nemes, engineering division head at Penn State Great Valley, said the center will help unify much of the research taking place in systems engineering across the country and Penn State is well-positioned to make a significant contribution.

Other SERC collaborators include: Air Force Institute of Technology, Auburn University, Carnegie Mellon University, Fraunhofer Center at the University of Maryland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, University of California at San Diego, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Virginia, and Wayne State University.

Additional information regarding the SERC and the Department of Defense is available at and

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009