Research & Scholarship at UMBC

Scholarly Accomplishments

Faculty:US News Schools to Watch

For the second year in a row, UMBC was ranked number one in the list of “Up-and-Coming” national universities in the 2010-2011 U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges Guide. In addition, UMBC was recognized in a new book, Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids— and What We Can Do About It, as a research university that effectively connects research with undergraduate education.

The University is fourth among U.S. research universities in the production of IT degrees and certificates, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education. The data also shows that UMBC ranks second among U.S. research universities in undergraduate IT degrees awarded, and it is the largest producer among those universities of IT graduates in Maryland, DC and Virginia

UMBC ranks second among U.S. universities in NASA research funding. The University’s NASA-funded centers are the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, the Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute and the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology.

The UMBC Public Policy program is ranked 10th nationally in faculty scholarly productivity, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2006-2007, UMBC ranked second nationally in public policy doctoral degrees awarded. According to Thomson Scientific's Science Watch, UMBC's geoscience research ranked third nationally in citation impact for 2001-2005. The only other U.S. universities producing more frequently cited papers were Harvard and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Faculty advising students

The Rise of American Research Universities, a book ranking university research achievement on a per-capita basis, found that UMBC scholars in the arts and humanities ranked 13th among all public campuses in the nation in prestigious awards.

UMBC ranks 76th in the nation for prestigious faculty awards. Recent honors include a Mellon Research Fellow, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, Guggenheim Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow.

UMBC faculty are consistently among the winners of the NSF Career Awards, grants made to young scientists who show exceptional promise in their research. In recent years (2001-06), 13 UMBC faculty members received these prestigious awards, a rate of success that compares favorably to Georgetown, Brandeis and Tufts.

UMBC faculty attract nearly $180,000 in per-capita research funding, a rate higher than that of George Mason University, the University of Delaware and the University of Virginia.

UMBC has joined with Princeton to create a new Engineering Research Center (ERC) expected to revolutionize optics.

A collaboration between UMBC and IBM will create The Multicore Computing Center (MC2), a unique facility that will focus on supercomputing research related to aerospace/defense, financial services, medical imaging and weather/climate change prediction. IBM awarded UMBC a significant gift to support the development of this new center, which researchers describe as an “orchestra” of one of the world’s most powerful supercomputing chips.

UMBC researchers are leading a six-university team on a $7.5-million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to translate recommendations

by the 9-11 Commission for more effectively sharing classified information into a secure technology network.

The National Science Foundation awarded UMBC a $2.9 million grant to establish an innovative interdisciplinary doctoral training program in “Water in the Urban Environment.”

CUERE Researchers in a Stream

A paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, the world’s most-cited journal of environmental science and ecology, praised research by Erle Ellis, associate professor of geography and environmental systems, as ‘seminal.’ Ellis’s current work focuses on remapping global ecosystems to account for human impact.

UMBC has been designated a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research for 2008-2013.

UMBC historians have a long record of excellence in scholarly research and publication. Within the past decade the department (with an average of just 16 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty) has produced more than 50 books for some of the most prestigious presses in academic publishing.

Exhibitions organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture have traveled to the International Center for Photography, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Chicago Cultural Center. Library Gallery

Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery exhibitions (right) have traveled to the American Institute for Graphic Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbus Museum of Art and the University of Pennsylvania.

John Sturgeon, professor of visual arts, was named the Lipitz Professor of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences for Academic Year 2008-09.

In 2006, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Rachel M. Brewster was one of just three biologists in the U.S. to receive the nation’s top honor for promising young scientists, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry Katherine Seley-Radtke was one of only six 2006 Jefferson Science Fellows in the nation.

Anne Rubin, associate professor of history, received a 2008 American Council of Learned Societies’ Digital Innovation Fellowship. Rubin’s

Valley of the Shadow: The Eve of War, an innovative website and CD-ROM, won the first-ever e-Lincoln Prize one of the most prestigious awards in the field honoring scholarly work in new media.

In 2006, Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Chair of Biochemistry, was one of 15 Marylanders appointed to serve on the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. 

Julie RossJulia Ross (left), associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, was elected fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE), one of the highest scientific recognitions in the biological and biomedical sciences. Ross also received the 2007 American Society of Engineering Education Sharon Keeler Award for Women in Engineering Education.

Tulay Adali, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, was also elected fellow of the AIMBE in 2007. Ross and Adali received National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Awards in 1997.

Shlomo Carmi, professor and chair of mechanical engineering, was elected to serve on the Board of Governors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering.

Ray Hoff, professor of physics and director of the NASA-UMBC research centers JCET and GEST, was named a fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Marie des Jardins, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering , and Haijun Su, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, both recently received NSF Career Awards,which recognize a young researcher's dual commitment to scholarship and education. 

Theodosia Gougousi, assistant profesor of physics, received an NSF Career Award for her research in nanostructures materials, thin films and interfaces.

Michael Summers and students.Michael Summers, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is one of only two Howard Hughes Medical Investigators at Maryland public universities. Summers is conducting groundbreaking AIDS research with both undergraduate and graduate students. He is the recipient of a 2000 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Professor Emerita of History Sandra Herbert was the 2006-07 “Distinguished Visiting Scholar” at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, where she helped with plans for the 2009 celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday and 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species.

Public policy professor Tim Brennan is the first American selected as the T.D. MacDonald chair in Industrial Economics for the Canadian Competition Bureau.

Professor of Psychology Robert Provine’s essay “Yawning” was selected for inclusion in the Best American Science Writing of 2006 (Ecco/Harper International). The essay was originally published in the November/December 2005 issue of American Scientist


Technology Transfer:

bwtech@UMBCbwtech@UMBC, the University’s integrated research park, incubator and accelerator, is home to nearly 50 companies, which generate over $200 million annually in total business sales.

Two bwtech@UMBC companies received 2007 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year awards. Lentigen Inc. was named Life Science Company of the Year and BDMetrics, Inc., was named Graduate Company of the Year.

Twelve new technology companies were created through UMBC’s ACTiVATE (Achieving the Commercialization of Technology Ventures Through Applied Training for Entrepreneurs),and over 70 women have been trained to date in technology entrepreneurship. ACTiVATE is supported by a highly competitive NSF partnership for Innovation Program grant and is a collaboration among the public, private and academic sectors. The program received a 2007 Innovation Award from The Association of University Research Parks and the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s 2008 award for Best Specialty Entrepreneurship Education Program.

The University’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship received $2 million from the Kauffman Foundation to build entrepreneurship education across the campus.



The University is one of 22 select institutions, including Yale, Cornell and Duke, to receive a three-year grant from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) to support increased completion rates in doctoral programs.

Through a $2.5 million National Science Foundation PROMISE grant, UMBC leads an effort by Maryland’s three public research universities to increase the number and diversity of Ph.D. graduates in the sciences and engineering who go on to academic careers.

UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholarship Program is a national model for educating talented students from all backgrounds in science, engineering, mathematics and computer science. The university is a leading producer of blacks who go on to receive Ph.D.s and M.D./Ph.D.s. The program is currently expanding to biomedical studies graduate students thanks to an NIH - MBRS - Initiative for Minority Student Development (IMSD) grant.

The University is among the top three Ph.D.-granting universities in the U.S. in the production of information technology (IT) degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, according to the National Science Foundation. According to current NSF education data, UMBC ranks second in degrees awarded by U.S. colleges that grant bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees in the computing sciences. UMBC continues to be the largest producer of IT graduates in the Maryland area, according to the NSF.

Two members of the Class of 2008, Philip Graff, physics, and Simon Gray, chemical engineering, won one of the world's most selective academic awards, the Gates Cambridge Fellowship. Graff will enter Cambridge’s Ph.D. program in Astrophysics, while Gray will enter its M. Phil program in Advanced Chemical Engineering.

Kristi Harris, Ph.D. candidate in physics, is UMBC's first Department of Energy Computational Science Fellow. The fellowship will fund her doctoral studies through 2010. Harris conducted research in nanowire technology at Sandia National Labs in New Mexico in summer 2007.

Jonathan Grabe, biological sciences, was one of just 40 students nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Award of Excellence for 2008-2009 to aid in his pursuit of an M.D. degree.

Christopher Hofmann, a biological sciences Ph.D. candidate, was one of two 2006 American Institute of Biological Sciences Emerging Public Policy Leaders. As a recipient of this award, Hofmann spoke on Capitol Hill about his research.