Research Focus Areas

At the School of Engineering, our active researchers are involved in the creation of new scientific and technical knowledge as part of their commitment to research-driven education. When marketplace conditions reveal an opportunity to apply this knowledge to products or devices, we assist commercialization to create economic value and jobs based on faculty breakthroughs.

The 2007–2010 Poly Strategic Plan identified three strategic areas for Poly: Urban Systems, Health and Wellness, and the Global Information Economy. As part of this mission, all three are infused by i2e (invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship).

Urban Science, Engineering, and Technology

For the first time in history, more than 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities. The fundamental structures that support our urban infrastructure - such as transportation, energy, water, energy, communications and waste - are aging and the likelihood of failures is at an alarming level. As urban populations continue to grow, these complex, multi-layered systems will be further stressed. The School of Engineering faculty work across engineering and science disciplines along with public policy, finance, management, medicine and legal experts, to identify and deliver the next wave of technological and operational solutions targeted to urban communities ranging from designing smarter power grids to engineering sustainable building materials capable of withstanding natural disaster or manmade hazards. Of particular interest is research into IT- and data-driven aspects of urban systems and smart cities.

Urban Science, Engineering and Technology at the School of Engineering is part of NYU’s university-wide initiative on “The Future of Cities,” called the Institute for Cities and Environmental Sustainability (ICES), which encompasses city planning, design, and development; the social sciences of cities; legal issues of cities; health in cities; the ecology of cities; urbanization and the coastal zone; and very broadly urban engineering (which includes, among others, cyber-physical systems such as sensors, sensor systems, and actuators; cyber-communication and control systems; smart grid and integration of renewable energy). Urban Science, Engineering, and Technology at the School of Engineering also provides the foundation for the center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), a NYU-led consortium of university partners, industrial partners, and, and several NYC agencies.


The School of Engineering faculty are engaged in a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach that will accelerate the process of extending scientific discovery into tools that will deliver health care benefits to the people of the world. At the microscopic level, bio-molecular interactions cross a broad spectrum of applications, including metabolic engineering to create beneficial biochemical pathways in plants and microbes, surface protein-interactions to optimize therapeutic and catalytic activity, and bioactive matrices for tissue regeneration. By understanding and tailoring interactions and orientation between living systems and biomaterial drug delivery systems, drugs can be directed towards desired tissues, cells and cellular compartments. Understanding of enzyme-structure-property relationships will enable the design of biocatalysts with extraordinary properties for therapeutic and biocatalytic functions. Engineered biocatalysts will provide safe green fabrication methods to replace hazardous chemical methods that rely on diminishing petroleum supplies. “Smart” biomaterials will respond to biochemical cues in their cellular environment to release drugs.

The School of Engineering is a key partner in NYU’s university-wide Institute for Bioengineering, which also includes faculty from the NYU Medical School, the NYU College of Dentistry, the NYU Courant Institute, and the NYU Faculty of Arts and Science.

Information and Communication Technology

The global layer of cyber-information is continually becoming denser, thicker, and “dirtier” with information from more and more sources that are often in inconsistent and sometimes incompatible formats. As a result, there is a need to better understand the “geography” of the information, so that it can be mapped, ultimately permitting intelligent searches. Intelligent interfaces must be created that will allow users to instantly retrieve reliable information from multiple sources and formats. Because users will have broader access to information, computers will need to be more agile at finding information and systems will need to be more secure to protect sensitive information and prevent compromise of information. This broad research area includes NYU university-wide activities in Data Science, Statistics and Biostatistics, and Broadband communication with a special emphasis on Wireless, Digital Media, Gaming, and Cybersecurity.

In these research efforts the School of Engineering faculty collaborate with their colleagues from NYU Computer Science, NYU Tisch, and NYU Steinhardt.

Of course, the School of Engineering researchers pursue many other interesting and exciting research topics that fall outside the broad areas described above.