NSF Research Traineeship

Thinker

NSF Research Traineeship

Program

Technology-Human Integrated Knowledge Education and Research

THINKER is a graduate traineeship backed by the National Science Foundation where participating students in engineering graduate programs (including automotive, mechanical, industrial, human factors and computing) study collaboration, manufacturing, human behavior, and big data analysis along with special workshops in career education and planning. These students tackle industry-sponsored collaborative projects focusing on multi-level human and system research to solve complex manufacturing challenges.

Collaboration

Graduate students enrolled in THINKER will collaborate with teams of other graduate, undergraduate and technical college students on industry inspired research projects.

Communication

Throughout the program, students focus on building communication skills as they tackle research team projects to solve complex manufacturing challenges.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an important aspect for program participants as they learn to interpret human and machine data to design systems that work on industrial problems.

Thinker Progress

Research

Preparing graduates who are ready for today’s manufacturing challenges

Our Focus

THINKER is closely aligned with automotive manufacturing and research and its related industries located in the Upstate. Undergirding the program is a strong focus on generating new research that brings about sustainable solutions to the complex challenges of advanced manufacturing.

Our research investigates interactions between humans and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT 4.0 paradigm). We expect this research will lead to the development of manufacturing enrichment technology such as wearable data devices for use in assembly and production, and smoother, more efficient integration of human-generated data with machine-generated data for enriched continuous improvement.

NSF Research Traineeship

Thinker Skills

Workforce

Preparing graduates who are ready for today’s manufacturing challenges

Partnership

Industry + Academia

Economic expansion and baby boomer retirements will likely create a need to fill 3.4 million manufacturing jobs between 2015 and 2025, but only 1.4 million are projected to be adequately filled, according to a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. This could leave a skills gap of as many as 2 million workers by 2025 creating a critical issue for South Carolina, where manufacturing accounts for more than 17 percent of the overall economy.

Key Elements

Clemson is responding to this need with research, education, and partnership programs such as THINKER, which is designed to equip students with both technical skills and critical job skills such as collaboration and teamwork.

Collaboration Focus

Collaboration is a key feature of THINKER. Students from different fields, along with multidisciplinary faculty, work with industry representatives to generate novel solutions to industry problems.

Multidisciplinary Technical Education

Students in the THINKER program have a unique opportunity to broaden the scope of their education by enrolling in courses from other disciplines, including multiple engineering fields, human factors, and computer science.

Cross-Functional Project Teams

Project teams are comprised of students and faculty from various backgrounds, including several engineering areas, human factors and computer science fields. Roles shift and blur as teams move toward innovation.

Industry-Driven Responsiveness

THINKER works closely with industry and each research project is derived from an industry need. Student teams work directly with manufacturers to solve specific challenges that impact real-world productivity and efficiency.

Interinstitutional Design

THINKER engages students from multiple educational institutions to work together on research projects that are structured to tap their unique backgrounds and skill sets. Technical college students team with university undergraduate and graduate students bringing diverse perspectives and abilities that positively influence project outcomes.

Career Preparation

THINKER students receive career readiness and professional development training throughout their tenure with the program. They also meet regularly with industry representatives and distinguished speakers from a variety of fields. This preparation means graduates enter the workforce ready to make significant contributions from the start of their careers.

New Model

This National Science Fund sponsored program focuses on creating a new national model for graduate education while emphasizing research on how to effectively integrate human-generated data with machine data in the rapidly-evolving digital workspace.

Thinker Infrastructure

Facilities

Preparing graduates who are ready for today’s manufacturing challenges

Our Campus

Clemson University is home to a remarkable array of research and simulation resources across the state. This technological advantage gives the THINKER program access to unique benefits that engender exemplary student learning, research development, and hands-on training.

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research is an award-winning campus located along the I-85 corridor. Home to five technology neighborhoods, the 250-acre campus has been making an economic impact on development and research since 2003. Its central location between Atlanta and Charlotte lends itself to promoting a community that fosters partnerships, cutting-edge design, and originative development among industry and academia.

NSF Research Traineeship

International Center for Automotive Research - ICAR

Founded in 2007, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research is an advanced technology research campus where education, research, and economic development collaborate to create a global venue for the automotive industry.

LOCATION
5 Research Drive, Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (864) 283-7100

GENERAL INQUIRES
David Clayton
CU-ICAR Interim Executive Director
dwclayt@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-283-7119

Campbell Graduate Engineering Center - CGEC

The 90,000-square-foot graduate building houses the automotive engineering graduate program and is the center for systems integration research activities. The industry-focused and interdisciplinary program utilizes facilities that include full vehicle and engine/powertrain testing.

LOCATION
4 Research Drive, Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (864) 283-7200

GENERAL INQUIRES
Zoran Filipi
Chair & Executive Director
zfilipi@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-283-7222

Vehicle Assembly Center - VAC

The Vehicle Assembly Center is a collaboration of CU-ICAR, Greenville Technical College, BMW Manufacturing and Siemens. The 4,000-square-foot center will have a full vehicle assembly line, joining lab, sub-assembly lab, embedded devices lab, collaborative robotics center, and autonomous factory vehicles.

LOCATION
575 Millennium Blvd, Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (864) 250-8000

GENERAL INQUIRES
Laine Mears
Professor
mears@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-283-7229

Center for Manufacturing Innovation - CMI

Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) offers convenient access to all of our partners. This campus doubles the capacity of advanced manufacturing training for Greenville Technical College, and the innovative curriculum features integrated project-based learning experiences on real-world projects.

LOCATION
575 Millenium Blvd, Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (864) 236-6750

PROGRAM INQUIRES
Kelvin Byrd
Associate Dean
kelvin.byrd@gvltec.edu
Phone: 864-236-6753

CU Center for Advanced Manufacturing - CAM

CU-CAM consolidates all interdisciplinary education, research, innovation, and engagement manufacturing-oriented activities under one umbrella with the overarching goal to improve manufacturing effectiveness, quality, and sustainability

LOCATION
1 Research Dr, 2nd Floor, Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (864) 250-8000

GENERAL INQUIRES
Mark Johnson
Director
majohn@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-656-9748

CU Department of Automotive Engineering - AUE

CU-ICAR is home to the nation’s only graduate Department of Automotive Engineering. Here, over 200 Clemson University students are pursuing Master of Science and/or Ph.D. degrees in Automotive Engineering.

LOCATION
4 Research Drive, Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: (864) 283-7200

PROGRAM INQUIRES
Zoran Filipi
Chair & Executive Director
zfilipi@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-283-7222

team

Thinker

Contact

Dr. Laine Mears

professor and bmw smartstate chair in automotive manufacturing professor

MEARS@CLEMSON.EDU

Want to be a Part of Thinker?

team

Thinker

Contact

Dr. Laine Mears

professor and bmw smartstate chair in automotive manufacturing professor

MEARS@CLEMSON.EDU

Want to be a part of Thinker?