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Dutta Named to Key NSF Post


Dutta ME Professor Deba Dutta ( ) has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to serve as Program Director for the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, which operates within the Division of Graduate Education. The two-year appointment begins in June 2004.

The IGERT program was developed in 1997 to bring about a cultural change in graduate education, impacting students, faculty, and institutions. The goal is to establish innovative new models for graduate education and training in collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is a foundation-wide endeavor, involving all Directorates in the NSF.

In making the announcement, ME Chair Dennis Assanis said, “The IGERT is an important and growing program that cuts across all NSF divisions. I am certain that Deba will make a significant contribution in the growth of IGERT, particularly in new areas emphasizing interdisciplinary and global features.”

Chief among Dutta’s tasks will be the full responsibility for managing all aspects of the growing IGERT program and its $75 million budget. He will also be responsible for working with the various NSF Directorates to develop new directions for the IGERT, as it is slated for a significant growth in the next three to four years.

“I think the primary reasons for my selection are my interest and experience in graduate interdisciplinary education at the University of Michigan,” said Dutta. “I’ve served as Graduate Chair in ME and as Director of the Program in Manufacturing in the College of Engineering. I am also the founding Director of the College of Engineering’s InterPro, a unit within the College of Engineering that houses a number of interdisciplinary professional programs.”

Taking the position opens a number of personal and professional opportunities for Dutta. Professionally, he sees it as an opportunity to broaden his perspectives in graduate education beyond engineering. He will be able to devote time to exploring issues of importance in the social and behavioral sciences, biological sciences, and computer and information sciences, in addition to engineering. On a personal level, he cited personal growth as a primary motivating factor for accepting the position. It will enable him to focus on issues that are at the interfaces of engineering and non-engineering disciplines.

Professor Dutta joined the ME faculty in 1989, after having earned his PhD at Purdue University. Previously, he received an MS (’83) from the University of Evansville in Indiana. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is the Director of the Product Lifecycle Management Development Consortium. This industry consortium has participation from the leading PLM vendors and users including Ford, General Motors and several tier-1 suppliers. Professor Dutta also serves as the Director of the Globalization, Technology, and Culture initiative at the University of Michigan International Institute. This is an interdisciplinary group interested in researching, cataloging best practices, and developing new concepts on how global companies can create products that succeed in world markets. He is the recipient of both the ME Teaching Excellence award and the Service Excellence award in the College of Engineering.

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