What starts here changes the world. The Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering is known for numerous discoveries, leading to solutions for global challenges in water, health, energy, and the environment. The true goal of research is to discover technologies, standards, methods, products, and processes that improve the world we live in.

Top Ranking in the U.S.

Department of Atmospheric Science1

1: National Research Council (2010); 2: US News and World Report (2016)

$80 Million

Total Research Expenditures
Fiscal Year 2018

Top six

Average Research Funding per Faculty Among Public Land Grant Engineering Colleges2

Featured research

Distinguished Researchers and Honors

University Distinguished Professors

University Distinguished Professors comprise less than one percent of Colorado State University faculty. Over 31 years of the program’s existence, only a selected few have received this special honor across the university.

V. Chandrasekar, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, .April 9, 2010
V. “Chandra” Chandrasekar, 2016, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Colorado State University Distinguished Professor Carmen Menoni
Carmen Menoni, 2016, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sonia Kreidenweiss
Sonia Kreidenweis, 2014, Atmospheric Science
Dave Randall, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, April 20, 2018
David Randall, 2012, Atmospheric Science
Jorge Rocca, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Jorge G. Rocca, 2007, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Graeme Stephens, Atmospheric Science, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Graeme L. Stephens, 2005, Atmospheric Science (emeritus)
Thomas H. Vonder Haar, 1994, Atmospheric Science (emeritus)
Thomas H. Vonder Haar, 1994, Atmospheric Science (emeritus)
Jack E. Cermak, 1986, Civil Engineering
Jack E. Cermak, 1986, Civil Engineering (deceased)

University Distinguished Teaching Scholar

University Distinguished Teaching Scholars have records of performance ranking them among the most outstanding teachers and educators in their disciplines.

Faculty members must be approved through an extensive process that includes a panel of current University Distinguished Teaching Scholars at Colorado State University.

Branislav Notaros, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Branislav Notaros, 2016, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Darrell Fontane, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Darrell Fontane, 2013, Civil and Environmental Engineering (emeritus)

National Academy of Engineering Logo

Current faculty who are National Academy of Engineering members:

  • Bruce Ellingwood, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Emeritus faculty who are National Academy of Engineering members:

Jack Cermak, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Ray Chamberlain, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Marvin Jensen, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Larry Roesner, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Graeme Stephens, Atmospheric Science; Tom Vonder Haar, Atmospheric Science

National Academy of Sciences Logo

Current faculty who are National Academy of Sciences members:

  • A.R. Ravishankara, Atmospheric Science and Chemistry
Seal for fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Current faculty who are Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors:

  • V. “Chandra” Chandrasekar, 2020, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Susan James, 2020, Mechanical Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering, and School of Advanced Materials Discovery

Areas of Excellence

water icon


CSU has a rich legacy of excellence in water research, dating back to the earliest days of the University. Today, engineering faculty working in hydrology, hydraulics, water resources, and water infrastructure and management are continuing and expanding upon this legacy, helping us maintain a national and international prominence in this societally critical area. 

Atmospheric Rivers | Sub-Seasonal to Seasonal Prediction of Extreme Events | Satellite-, Aircraft-, and Ground-Based Cloud and Precipitation Observations | Radar Meteorology | Watershed Modeling | Precipitation, Soil Moisture, and Vegetation Interactions

Observational capabilities from a variety of platforms are leveraged to produce new insights into regional and global precipitation amounts and patterns, and their impacts on climate, agriculture, transportation, and ecosystems.

Open and Closed Channel Flows | Turbulence | Erosion and Sediment Transport | Assessment and Repair of Hydraulic Structures | River Mechanics

Our unique laboratory facilities enable the physical modeling of hydraulic systems at true scales, complementing our modeling and theoretical work in this area.

Watershed Modeling and Management | Hydrometeorology | Groundwater and Surface Water Flow | Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions | Contaminant Transport | Flooding

Combined observational and modeling approaches are applied to environmental preservation and resilience via the study of surface and groundwater flows, controls on soil moisture, and transport of containment.

Monitoring and Evaluation of Irrigation and Drainage Systems | Precision Irrigation | Pipeline Systems | Radar Infrastructure for Flood Mitigation | Dam Safety | Erosion and Sedimentation | Bank Revetment and Stabilization | Hydraulic Structures | Urban Water Systems

Our faculty conduct research on the safety, security, and optimization of water delivery systems for agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses.

Water Resource Systems Modeling, Optimization, and Control | Chemical Fate and Transport in Watershed Systems | International Water Development | Urban Water Management | Water Quality | Desalination Technologies | Environmental Remediation | Wastewater and Graywater Reuse

Providing access to clean water is one of the National Academy’s Grand Challenges for Engineering. Our faculty are leaders in developing technologies for water treatment, recycling, and reuse, and for optimizing water systems management.

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Partnering with other CSU researchers, our faculty are making contributions to the improvement of human, animal, and environmental health. Our research includes development of new diagnostic tools and biomedical devices, tissue engineering, innovative pharmaceutical production processes, and human health impacts of degraded air and water quality.

Tissue Engineering | Allografts | Bone Regeneration Scaffolds | Artificial Blood | Superhydrophobic and Superhydrophilic Materials | Biocompatible Polymers

Next-generation materials are being developed to solve one of the most complex problems in biomedical engineering: biocompatibility.

Orthopaedic Implants | Cornea Replacement | Cartilage Replacement | Heart Valve Technologies | Computational Modeling of Orthopaedic Conditions | Surgical Robots

In partnership with the CSU Veterinary School and our partners at medical schools, we have invented and patented new technologies that will improve medical care and outcomes.

Biomedical Imaging and Microscopy | Biosensors | Lab on a Chip | Organ on a Chip | Point of Care Diagnostics | Personal Exposure Monitoring Devices | Water and Air Quality Sensors

Our expertise in development of sensors employing microfluidics and nanotechnology has led to breakthrough devices in several key application areas.

Exposure Monitoring and Assessment | Disease Outbreak Monitoring | Water Infrastructure Assessment | Health Impacts of Climate Variability and Climate Change | Cyberbiosecurity | Citizen Science

CSU research is put into action through our efforts in applying technology to increase public awareness of health threats and to engage citizens in active participation in personal and community monitoring and protection.

Proteomics | Metabolic Engineering | Protein Engineering | Quantitative Biology | Microbiome Analysis and Engineering

CSU researchers are working to apply quantitative engineering principles to describe and manipulate complex biological systems, from single cells to entire organisms.

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Access to clean, reliable, and abundant energy is central to every major challenge the world faces today. Developing innovative solutions to global energy problems, our faculty conduct research in clean technology, renewable energy sources, next-generation photovoltaics, CO2 capture, and advanced power grid technologies.

Industrial Engine Technologies | Dual-Fuel Engines | Engine Exhaust Characterization and Aftertreatment Systems | Alternative Fuels | Modeling of Reactive Turbulent Flows | Laser Ignition; Cookstove Design and Testing

The mission of CSU’s acclaimed Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory is “to create innovative energy solutions and entrepreneurial models that benefit the human condition and achieve global impact.”

Smart Grids | Electric Grid Systems and Security | Natural Gas Supply Chain Testing and Monitoring | Flooding Prediction and Mitigation | Resilient Structural Design | Single and Multiple Hazards and Extreme Event Testing and Modeling | Community Resilience Modeling

Much of the nation’s infrastructure, from roads and buildings to the energy grid, must be renewed and sustained. We are working on infrastructure design and new technologies for planning community resilience.

Air Quality, Climate, and Health Interactions | Air, Water, and Soil Contamination and Remediation | Emissions From Oil and Gas Production | Climate and Ecosystem Responses

We work with industry and government to understand emissions during the lifecycle of energy production and use, and their impacts on humans, animals, and the environment.

Extreme Ultraviolet Laser Technology Development and Applications | Soft X-Ray Photonics | Nonlinear and Ultrafast Optics and Lasers | Molecular Optoelectronics | Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy | Nano-Microscopy and Nano-Spectrometry | Optical Interference Coatings | Laser Ignition Technologies | Laser Diagnostics

Our faculty conduct cutting-edge research on advanced technologies that enable breakthrough applications from materials science to medical diagnostics.

Algae-Based Biofuels | Biodiesel and Alternative Fuels | Photovoltaic Films and Solar Panel Technologies | Wind Energy | Energy Storage and Conversion Systems | Waste Heat Recovery | Electric Grid Design | Carbon Dioxide Capture

Our researchers are innovators in several renewable and sustainable energy technologies, including development of algae-based biofuels and transformational photovoltaic technologies.

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Our programs in atmospheric science and environmental engineering and science are ranked among the top in the world. Focus areas include hurricanes and severe weather, environmental monitoring using radar and satellite technologies, emissions and transport of pollutants, global carbon and nitrogen cycles, and water sustainability.

Large-Scale Climate Variability | Stratosphere / Troposphere Coupling | Ocean Atmosphere and Land/Atmosphere Interactions | Cloud-Climate Studies | Dynamics of Geophysical Vortices and Annular Modes | Tropical Meteorology; Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation Studies | Climate Response to Anthropogenic Forcing | Geoengineering; Development and Application of Climate Models

Observations and modeling of key climate variables are used to understand the drivers of variability and change, on a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Satellite-, Ground-, and Ship-Based Radars | Satellite-Based Measurements | Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality Measurements | Emissions Monitoring and Modeling | Soil and Groundwater Contamination | Bioremediation | Waste Management and Recycling | Sensors and Sensor Networks | Wireless Networks and Cellular Systems | Computer and Communication Networks | Resource Allocation and Management | Robotics

A wide range of technologies is being developed and applied to monitoring of the environment, including state-of-the-science radars, sensors and sensor networks, and in situ sampling for contaminants in air, water, and soil.

Tropical Cyclogenesis | Hurricane Dynamics | Monsoons | Mesoscale Convective Systems | Storm Organization | Tornadogenesis | Precipitation Extremes | Hail Formation | Flash Floods | Societal Impacts of Weather

Our world-class research has led to new insights into tropical cyclone genesis and evolution, initiation of convection and storm intensification, and severe weather observations and forecasting.

Atmospheric Chemistry | Global and Regional Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles | Nitrogen Deposition to Ecosystems | Emissions From Energy Development Activities | Biomass Burning | Transportation Emissions | Emissions From Domestic Heating and Cooking | Soil and Groundwater Contaminant Transport and Mitigation

Emissions from both anthropogenic and natural sources can have local to global impacts on air and water quality, ecosystem health, and climate. We study the lifecycles of these emissions using observational and modeling approaches.

Structural Dynamics and Engineering | Reliability Analysis | Multihazard Resiliency | Geotechnical Engineering | Soil Mechanics | Transportation Systems | Autonomous Vehicles | Smart Buildings | Energy Infrastructure | Robotics | Cybersecurity

Our researchers focus on many aspects of “smart and connected” communities, including structural and geotechnical engineering, transportation systems, smart buildings, energy infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

Centers & Labs

Located on- and off-campus, the College’s centers and labs make cutting-edge research possible, and facilitate practical, hands-on learning experiences for students.

Center for Sustainable and Intelligent Transportation Systems (CSITS)

The Center for Sustainable and Intelligent Transportation Systems (CSTIS) conducts multi-disciplinary research, education, and outreach for promoting the sustainability of critical transportation infrastructure systems, subjected to normal and hazardous conditions.

CSTIS website

Colorado Climate Center

The Climate Center is a recognized State Climate Office by the American Association of State Climatologists (ARSCO designated). As a recognized State Climate Office, the Center collects and observes data with the purpose of monitoring the climate, placing individual events into historical perspective, disseminating climate information to the user community, and providing climate expertise as part of the decision-making process.

Researchers develop tools and methods to better communicate the climatology and climate variability of Colorado to scientists, educators, stakeholders, media, and the general public. In an effort to better understand Colorado’s climate, and how it is changing, the staff also regularly conduct (and collaborate on) research projects.

Colorado Climate Center website

Composite Materials, Manufacture and Structures Laboratory (CMMS)

The Composite Materials, Manufacture and Structures Laboratory (CMMS) houses equipment to model composites manufacturing processes and perform mechanical testing and microstructural analysis.

The focus of the lab’s research efforts can be broken into broad categories including process development, shape and warpage control, and materials response simulation.

CMMS website

Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA)

CIRA’s mission is to serve as a nexus for multi-disciplinary cooperation among Cooperative Institute and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research scientists, University faculty, staff and students in the context of NOAA-specified research theme areas in satellite applications for weather/climate forecasting.

Important bridging elements include the communication of research findings to the international scientific community, transition of applications and capabilities to NOAA operational users, education and training programs for operational user proficiency, outreach programs to K-12 education and the general public for environmental literacy, and understanding and quantifying the societal impacts of NOAA research.

CIRA website

CHILL Antenna

CSU-CHILL National Weather Radar Facility

The CSU-CHILL National Weather Radar Facility is an advanced, transportable dual-polarized S-band weather radar system. Staff also maintain and operate a second S-band weather radar, the CSU-Pawnee. Access to the CSU-CHILL Facility and its archived data is available to the general research and education communities.

CSU-CHILL website

Earth System Modeling and Education Institute

The Earth System Modeling and Education Institute (ESMEI) engages in Earth system modeling with an atmospheric focus, and welcomes interdisciplinary collaborations to explore research problems and optimize education outcomes.

ESMEI is the institutional legacy of CMMAP, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center that was active from 2006-2016.

ESMEI is housed at the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University and receives base funding from the department, the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering and CSU’s Vice President for Research.

ESMEI website

Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology

The Center aims to make extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light available routinely in a broad variety of laboratory settings, for applications like high-resolution imaging, spectroscopy, elemental- and bio-microscopy, and nano-fabrication.

Breakthroughs in both EUV Lasers and in High Harmonic Generation sources facilitated by the Center have greatly expanded laser spectral coverage down to 1 nm, increased average power by several orders of magnitude, and in some cases reduced the source size down to desk-top scale.

In partnership with industry collaborators, the compact coherent sources developed at the Center are now commercially available and are making an impact in institutions world-wide.

EUV-ERC website

Engines and Energy Conversion Lab logoEngines and Energy Conversion Lab

The Colorado State University Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory was founded in an abandoned power plant in 1992 and has since grown to become a globally recognized energy research and educational facility. We have developed technologies to reduce emissions from large industrial engines, worked to define future electric grids, and brought clean energy solutions to the developing world.

We have employed hundreds of undergrad and graduate students from all across the university, have helped to develop a new generation of energy leaders, and are globally recognized as leaders in the use of entrepreneurship to maximize the impact of our research.

Engines and Energy Conversion Lab website

Chris Thornton, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, with a wave simulator at the Engineering Research Center, July 20, 2011

Hydraulics Research Laboratory

The Hydraulics Laboratory is part of a unique research facility designed for hydraulic model studies, hydraulic performance testing and research in the fields of open channel and closed conduit hydraulics.

Facilities and equipment on site can test valves, flow meters, and pumps for flow capacity, pressure loss, energy output and efficiency.

Hydraulics Laboratory website

International School for Water Resources (ISWR)

The International School for Water Resources provides advanced training for engineers and managers concerned with water resources engineering and technical management alternatives.

Typical ISWR participants are water agency managers, academic faculty, engineers, and technical support staff who already hold a college degree or title, but want advanced training in a water-related field without having to complete requirements for a formal degree.

ISWR website

Laboratory for Advanced Lasers and Extreme Photonics (L-ALEPH)

Our group is international recognized for the development of advance ultra-high intensity solid state lasers that are used as drivers of table-top X-Ray and Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lasers. The group demonstrated the first table-top soft x-ray laser. These lasers have made possible systems that can image, pattern, and probe chemical composition at the nanoscale. 

We are also investigating the interaction of ultra-high intensity laser beams with matter using one of the world’s most intense lasers, developed in-house. Research on this area encompasses the creation and study of relativistic laser-matter interactions leading to ultra-high energy density plasmas that produce matter at extreme conditions such as encountered in stars, leading to the production of intense bursts of x-rays and fusion neutrons, and the study of physical processes that affect material damage in interference coatings for ultra-high intensity lasers. 

Our research is highly interdisciplinary, covering ultrashort pulse laser physics and engineering, optical thin film materials for lasers, and laser material interactions. Our team is part of US and international collaborations, including LaserNet US, a network of the most as the most powerful lasers in the US funded by the US Department of Energy, and the LIGO Collaboration (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory Scientific Collaboration)

L-ALEPH ​website

Sustainable Bioenergy Development Center (SBDC)

Several factors are driving the search for sustainable alternative energy sources: projections of increased demand and decreased supply of petroleum, concerns about increasing greenhouse gas levels, and the desire for increased domestic energy production. Colorado State University created the Sustainable Bioenergy Development Center (SBDC) to address these needs and achieve the goal of energy production that is economically and environmentally sustainable.

The SBDC enhances the capability of America’s bioenergy industry to produce transportation fuels and chemical feedstocks on a large scale, through processes that are efficient as well as economically and environmentally sustainable.

The SBDC supports Colorado State University bioenergy researchers through research initiation grants, initial financial support of new bioenergy faculty positions, student and postdoctoral fellowships, equipment purchases, and travel grants; the SBDC also enhances CSU’s abilities in collaborative efforts with other entities committed to the development of alternative energy sources.


Kenneth F. Reardon
(970) 491-6505

CSU Urban Water Center

Urban Water Center

The Urban Water Center at Colorado State University was created to foster education and research, and provide municipalities with information to assist them with better management of their urban water systems.

The mission of this organization is to promote adoption of sustainable and innovative urban water management approaches through teaching, research and extension. 

Specific topics  include:

  • Water Reuse (Graywater, Stormwater and Wastewater)
  • Water Efficiency
  • Addressing Aging Water Infrastructure
  • Stormwater Management
  • Energy Efficiency in Water Management

Urban Water Center website