Nebraska Engineering’s Daniel Linzell has been named director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.
One of five divisions within the NSF’s Engineering Directorate, the institute funds research and education initiatives that focus on advancing the future of manufacturing, the design of innovative materials and building technologies, infrastructure resilience and sustainability, and tools and systems for decision-making, robotics and controls.
The position includes interactions with officials in the federal government, such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and learning about the engineering research enterprise from new perspectives and collaboratively helping shape its future.
“In the College of Engineering, I get to interact with a lot of incredibly smart people — faculty colleagues, administrators, students and staff — and I learn a lot from them,” said Linzell, associate dean of graduate and international programs. “(As division director) I’ll get to do that on a larger scale and learn about all the incredible engineering research activities happening around the country and the world.
“I will be working with people who set national science and technology policy, will learn about their goals and strategies, and hope to help further those initiatives and develop new, inclusive strategies.”
Linzell begins his NSF term on May 22. He will continue to serve the College of Engineering as the Leslie D. Martin Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and will continue with his research in structural engineering. The work includes a focus on structural health monitoring and resiliency, particularly as it relates to steel and concrete structures, effects on their performance, and the ability to withstand strong blasts and impacts.
“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Linzell, whose outstanding leadership, partnership experience, and technical expertise will help propel NSF’s expanded impact on national priorities,” said Susan Margulies, NSF assistant director for engineering. “Dr. Linzell also has demonstrated the ability to establish and grow initiatives in faculty and student development and in diversity, equity and inclusion, which will strengthen our efforts to broaden participation in engineering across the Nation.”
Linzell said directing the institute will afford him the chance to expand his knowledge base in many areas, such as quantum manufacturing, biomanufacturing, robotics, and system resilience.
“It’s about innovation. People are doing amazing things, and there’s infinite possibilities for amazing engineering and technology advances,” Linzell said. “To in some way be part of that innovation is intriguing and very exciting.”
Linzell joined UNL in 2013 to serve as the Voelte-Keegan Professor and chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering, which he held until becoming associate dean in 2018. Previously, he was the John A. and Harriette K. Shaw Professor of Civil Engineering and the director of the Protective Technology Center at the Pennsylvania State University.
Linzell is a fellow and active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers as well as the society’s Structural Engineering Institute. He chairs the Structural Stability Research Council and has served on numerous technical committees of the ASCE and the Transportation Research Board. He was a co-chair of the ASCE Education Summit in 2019. He is a licensed professional engineer and has worked as a structural engineering consultant.