Industry Engagement

Industry Partnerships: Accelerating Innovation

The School of Engineering is always looking for industry, corporate, and government collaborations in areas of common research interest. These partnerships are mutually beneficial in advancing R&D efforts and spurring innovation. We seek these connections to help facilitate faculty and student interactions with industrial and thought leaders in the U.S. and globally, and focus our research on the most relevant and impactful applications. Collaborations may take the form of industrial sponsored research projects, discretionary funding in support of faculty research, faculty consulting, access to shared research facilities, or sharing of material samples, data sets, or pre-commercial devices.

Ways to Get Involved

The Brown School of Engineering actively encourages students and faculty to engage with industry and provides various opportunities for industrial partners to gain access to the wealth of intellectual potential of our faculty and students. We encourage you to learn more about the current research interests of our faculty.

Student Recruitment:

Research Collaborations and Commercialization:

  • Faculty Consulting - Faculty host your researchers in their labs or visit your R&D sites to share cutting edge techniques and/or research methodologies
  • Industry sponsored research projects - A research project is conducted in collaboration with Brown faculty to address one of your big R&D questions
  • Commercialization & Licensing - Brown fosters commercialization through licensing of existing intellectual property and launching of new ventures


Our industry engagement team includes:

  • Jennifer Casasanto, Associate Dean (areas include recruiting and programmatic collaborations with industry partners)
  • Brian Demers, Brown Technology Innovations Director of Business Development (areas of focus include Chemical, Environmental, Electrical, and Computer Engineering, Fluids and Thermal Sciences, Materials Science, and Solid Mechanics);
  • Melissa Simon, Brown Technology Innovations Director of Business Development (areas of focus include all Biomedical Engineering research and technologies as well as other engineering discoveries with biomedical applications)

To learn more about Brown's intellectual property portfolio and licensing, please connect with Brown Technology Innovations.

Successful Partnerships

GM logoThe laboratory for computational materials research at Brown University was founded in 2001 by General Motors to accelerate the pace of innovation in strategic technology areas. More than 10 faculty, 15 postdocs, and 30 students, along with 12 staff members from GM R&D have participated in the lab since its inception.

The goal of the laboratory is to use a combination of computer simulations and experiments to develop and assess new materials that could lead to low-cost, high-performance and environmentally friendly components for vehicles. Notable achievements of the laboratory include computer aided design of advanced high-strength steels and aluminum alloys with improved strength and formability, and the development of new experimental and theoretical methods to characterize and predict damage in battery electrode materials.

The current research combines our expertises on alloys and interfacial electrochemistry to develop next generation Li-metal based high energy batteries.

“General Motors has one of the top industrial research labs in the world, and Brown’s partnership with GM over the past 20 years has helped us to solve problems that we could not have tackled on our own. Our students and faculty are excited to be part of a team working with GM to help make vehicles safer, lighter, and more fuel efficient.” 
- Brian Sheldon, director  
Collaborative Research Laboratory, Brown University School of Engineering

“I have worked on both sides of the GM/Brown CRL and solved problems that I could not have tackled by either side alone. In the last 20 years, GM/Brown CRL has played an important role for vehicle electrification and energy efficiency with battery materials research and lightweight materials development.” 
- Yue Qi 
Joan Wernig Sorensen Professor of Engineering
Deputy Director, Initiative for Sustainable Energy (ISE)


Cognex logoCognex Corporation, in Natick, Mass., is the world’s leading provider of vision systems, vision software, vision sensors and  industrial ID readers used in manufacturing automation. The company designs, develops, manufactures, and markets a range of products that incorporate sophisticated machine vision technology that gives them the ability to “see”, including barcode readers, machine vision sensors, and machine vision systems. During a 2012 recruiting event, Cognex’s President and CEO  Rob Willett ’89 traveled back to his alma mater, and decided it was time to start working with the engineering talent on College Hill.  

The partnership between Cognex and engineering and computer science professors Gabriel Taubin and Pedro Felzenszwalb began when the company was looking for research related to three-dimensional vision. The cooperative agreement has expanded into a mutually beneficial collaboration between the two entities, giving Cognex a unique opportunity to work with Brown faculty and gain valuable resources and technologies, while at the same time providing real-world educational and research opportunities to both faculty and students on campus. The partnership supports students, equipment purchases, and research breakthroughs such as more affordable and accessible 3D scanning. Among several patented applications, is a system and method to capture the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object in a scene using unsynchronized structured lighting. In addition, over the past five years, several Brown engineering undergraduate and graduate students have gone on to work at Cognex.

“It seems trite to describe the collaboration between Cognex and Brown as a win-win situation, but that’s truly the case,” Michael said. “This association is important for Cognex because it gives us insight into quality student researchers and approaches that are germane to our business of applying machine vision technology to robotics and automation. For Brown, it provides unrestricted gift funding to faculty - and through them to students – that can be used to further their research.”  

Dr. David Michael 
Cognex’s Director of Core Vision Tool Development