Volume: 135(2) - February, 2013
The bill for creating the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) was signed into law by President Truman on May 10, 1950. Accordingly, the NSF is “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense …” Many of the papers published in the Journal of Mechanical Design (JMD) acknowledge support from NSF and, in particular, the NSF’s program in engineering design. The engineering design program of NSF was recently renamed as “Engineering and Systems Design (ESD)” and its focus somewhat changed. According to the NSF, the ESD program “supports research leading to design theory and to tools and methods that enable implementation of the principles of design theory in the practice of design across the full spectrum of engineered products and systems. The program focus is on gaining an understanding of the basic processes and phenomena underlying a holistic, life-cycle view of design where the total system life-cycle context recognizes the need for advanced understanding of the identification and definition of preferences, analysis of alternatives, effective accommodation of uncertainty in decision-making, and the relationship between data and knowledge in a digitally-supported process and environment. The program funds advances in basic design theory, tools, and software to implement design theory and new design methods that span multiple domains, such as design for the environment, for manufacturability, and for systems.”
Dr. Paul Collopy was recently appointed as the Program Director of the ESD program. He joined the NSF from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Dr. Collopy has many years of experience in industry and academia and is an internationally recognized leader in the area of complex system design and design process for large systems.
I invited Paul to write about his views on engineering design research. I am pleased that he has agreed to share his thoughts with our JMD community with a guest editorial.