Stu­dents of all ages came together on Sunday to kick off the National Sci­ence Foundation’s annual Engi­neering Research and Inno­va­tion Con­fer­ence, which is being hosted by North­eastern University’s Col­lege of Engineering.

The con­fer­ence will focus on trans­forming the engi­neering field through the for­ma­tion of robust part­ner­ships with acad­emia, industry and society.

Pre-​​conference events included K-​​12 STEM out­reach activ­i­ties; a graduate-​​level boot camp ded­i­cated to helping stu­dents build their future career net­works; and a future fac­ulty work­shop hosted by North­eastern ADVANCE, an NSF-​​funded pro­gram designed to increase the rep­re­sen­ta­tion and advance­ment of women and minori­ties in aca­d­emic sci­ence and engi­neering careers.

Michael Bunis, a lit­i­gator with Choate Hall and Stewart LLP, dis­cussed intellectual-​​property con­cerns; Penn State Uni­ver­sity asso­ciate pro­fessor Michael Alley offered strate­gies for effec­tively pre­senting engi­neering research; and free­lance health and sci­ence jour­nal­ists Carol Morton and Karen Wein­traub lead an inter­ac­tive ses­sion aimed toward improving engi­neers’ engage­ment with media and the public.

Some 2000 engi­neers from around the country will con­verge at the Hynes Con­ven­tion Center on Monday to present NSF-​​funded research through lec­tures and poster ses­sions. Ten North­eastern grantees are among the pre­sen­ters, including engi­neering pro­fessor Con­stan­tinos Mavroidis; civil and envi­ron­mental engi­neering pro­fessor Peter Furth; and asso­ciate pro­fessor of mechan­ical and indus­trial engi­neering Yung Joon Jung. Both grad­uate and under­grad­uate stu­dents will present another 21 research posters.

North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun will address the atten­dees in a keynote speech focused on the strate­gies with which research uni­ver­si­ties will con­front future funding and sci­en­tific challenges.

Directly fol­lowing the con­fer­ence, the NSF-​​funded George E. Brown Net­work for Earth­quake Engi­neering Sim­u­la­tion will host its annual Quake Summit. The orga­ni­za­tion focuses on devel­oping the inno­va­tions nec­es­sary to reduce the impact of seismic dis­as­ters. North­eastern civil and envi­ron­mental engi­neering pro­fessor Dion­isio Bernal and asso­ciate pro­fessor Mehrdad Sasani will present their research.

Of this year’s con­fer­ence theme, Stephen Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, said “part­ner­ships reflect one of Northeastern’s core values from part­nering with industry in edu­ca­tion through our grounding in coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion to part­nering with industry, gov­ern­ment and other uni­ver­si­ties that are fun­da­mental to our many cen­ters of excellence.”