Final Workshop

  • Final Report (pdf)
  • Agenda
  • Webcast

  • Introduction to the Study

    This is a statement of work for a worldwide assessment of the state-of-the-art of systems engineering theory, application and education with a focus on clean and renewable energy.




    A particularly important challenge of the 21st Century is the development of clean and renewable energy supplies. There are several candidate technologies, including wind, tidal, geothermal, nuclear, solar, biomass and direct conversion of sunlight, air and water to hydrocarbon fuels. Each of these alternatives has been demonstrated at scales ranging from laboratory to prototype. However, in order to have a significant impact on world energy supplies, they must undergo scale-up by orders of magnitude. This demands systems engineering at a level never before achieved. Thus, the underlying purpose of this study is to examine the current state-of-the-art of systems engineering and systems engineering education to determine what research and pedagogy are needed to prepare the nation to meet this challenge.


    An accurate evaluation of the status of systems engineering requires an assessment of current practices on a worldwide basis. Although broadly based, this assessment will focus particularly on the status of systems engineering in support of clean and renewable energy sources that appear to have high potential to replace nonrenewable fossil fuels. The assessment will be accomplished through visits to academic and other institutions around the world identified as having developed the most advanced capability for systems engineering. These visits will identify the worldwide strengths and gaps in systems engineering capabilities for clean and renewable energy manufacturing and also the efforts being made to close those gaps, particularly in academia. Finally, the study will identify actions that the U.S. might employ to take the lead in the development of systems engineering for energy manufacturing, and to take or maintain the lead in systems engineering education. This will better position the U.S. to both train an engineering workforce and to provide the underlying academic research needed to lead the nation and the world into an era of secure and abundant energy supplies.
    This on-site peer review process has been developed by the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. (WTEC). Since 1989, WTEC has provided such assessment studies in over 60 technology fields under grants from NSF. Other agencies, including NIH, NASA, NIST, DOE and DOD, have co-sponsored these studies. Recent projects related to this study include Nanotechnology Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020 (2010), International Assessment of R&D in Simulation-Based Engineering and Science (2009), and International Assessment of R&D in Catalysis by Nanostructured Materials (2009).




    This study would support several Areas of Emphasis for the NSF Engineering Directorate for FY2012. These include Science Engineering and Education and Clean Energy; Advanced Manufacturing, which includes energy manufacturing; the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Program; and the NNI Signature Initiative in nanotechnology for solar energy collection and conversion.




  • NSF: CMMI, CBET, ECCS, EEC, ENG head office

    Related Literature


    1. Energy Choices: A Guide to Facts and Perspectives
    2. Advanced Manufacturing Partnership


    Contact Information


    1. Patricia Foland, WTEC,, 443-458-3433
    2. Duane Shelton, WTEC,, 717-299-7130