Neuroengineering as a discipline is still very young- journals devoted to it were first published less than ten years ago. The emerging discipline of neuroengineering, or neural engineering, seeks to understand, enhance, and interface with neural systems. By incorporating knowledge from various fields ranging from neurology to robotics, this discipline aims to bridge the gap between computers and living organisms. Neuroengineering has huge potential to benefit humanity; neuroengineers hope to attach neurally controlled limbs, create augmented realities, develop new experimental and clinical tools for neurologists, and fundamentally change the way people interact with the surrounding world.
Neuroengineering is interdisciplinary by nature. With interdisciplinary work becoming increasingly more common, researchers are realizing that important new areas of scientific research are emerging at the interfaces of conventional disciplines. Through the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is educating the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers in both neuroscience and engineering. This blend of disciplines, neuroengineering, has the potential to impact society not only by advancing neuroscience and engineering but may also result in new areas of medicine and in the production of new consumer products altering the way people interact with the everyday world. The interdisciplinary background acquired by the students in the IGERT nueroengineering program will allow them to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with neuroscientists and engineers alike.
To highlight cutting edge neuroengineering achievements and showcase the collaborative work being produced by Neuroengineering IGERT students at the University of Illinois, we are hosting the university's third annual IGERT Neuroengineering Symposium. On June 20th, 2013, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will welcome experts in the fields of auditory information processing, neuroimaging, and brain-machine interfaces in an exposé of the current state of neuroengineering. By gathering to review and discuss the current advances in neuroengineering, we will have an opportunity to foster collaborations across academic networks, and to reach beyond the conventional limits of our disciplines.
The 2013 Neuroengineering IGERT Symposium will provide an opportunity for IGERT students, graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty alike to participate in a forum for the communication of ideas in the emerging field of neuroengineering. This symposium will provide a unique and invaluable educational and research experience for students and faculty, bringing speakers and students from peer institutions to the University of Illinois campus to share cutting-edge research. This symposium will develop not only students' technical knowledge, but hone their professional and personal skills.
Overall, the goal of the National Science Foundation's IGERT program is to prepare scientists for the challenges of working in a multidisciplinary world. By encouraging truly interdisciplinary education, the IGERT program seeks to educate researchers with deep knowledge in their chosen disciplines, breadth in interdisciplinary fields, and the professional and personal skills to become leaders and creative agents for change. As a part of the IGERT program, the National Science Foundation encourages schools to provide opportunities for the communication of ideas and to foster collaboration. The 2013 Neuroengineering Symposium is an excellent opportunity to further the educational goals of the University of Illinois and the IGERT program.
Benefit to Students
As the artist Henry Hartman once said, "Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity." University of Illinois students are some of the best prepared in the nation for future careers in industry and academics. As these students' peers, colleagues, and fellow Illini, our job is to provide the right opportunities for their preparation to meet with success. During our symposium, we want University of Illinois students to develop connections and collaborations with invited speakers, faculty, and fellow students. Additionally, we hope to introduce students to a wealth of cutting-edge research, expanding their knowledge beyond the classroom. In particular, the laboratory tours, technical demonstrations, poster session, and reception will allow students to connect with each other and explore exciting new research directions. We hope that, even if students do not develop active collaborations from this event, the symposium will broaden students' horizons and allow them to view their own work in a new light.
Objectives and Impact
The main objective of this symposium is to create a forum for students, faculty, and guests to meet and learn from each other. By bringing together diverse laboratories from across campus, our proposed symposium aims to exploit the strengths of the myriad of research programs at the University of Illinois. Given the interdisciplinary nature of Neuroengineering, the interaction between people across campus and across institutions is absolutely critical. Our goal is to give participants the opportunity to forge new relationships by taking them out of their laboratories, away from their computers, and exposing them to new ideas.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology,
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Department of Bioengineering,
Department of Psychology,
Student Organization Resource Fund (SORF)
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Beckman 1005, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL