Dawn Tilbury: Shaping engineering research

Dawn TilburyDawn Tilbury (M.S.’92, Ph.D.’94 EECS) exemplifies the type of leadership nurtured through a Berkeley Engineering education. In 2017, Tilbury was appointed head of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Engineering, which provides academic institutions more than 40 percent of the federal grants for fundamental engineering research. In her role, Tilbury can help shape the nation’s direction in engineering research and education, fostering a nurturing environment for innovation excellence.

In 1995, one year after getting her UC Berkeley Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer sciences, Tilbury joined the faculty at the University of Michigan’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. There, her research spanned networked control systems to human-machine interfaces. She led research in the field of robotics and autonomous vehicles, and served as director of Michigan’s Ground Robotics Research Center at the University of Michigan. From 2014 to 2016, she was associate dean of research at Michigan’s College of Engineering.

Tilbury’s statement when she was appointed head of the engineering directorate signaled some of the key research areas to be tackled.

“As the primary funder of basic research, NSF is uniquely positioned to bring people together to discover new approaches to renewable energy, reliable transportation, enhanced health and safety, and other national challenges,” she said.

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