University collaborations

'By partnering the researchers from the ABB Corporate Research Centers with the best graduate students and professors from around the world, ABB plans to support a truly collaborative innovation ecosystem.'

During 2012, ABB Corporate Research, invited  proposals from academic and research institutes around the world to support promising graduate students and senior researchers with projects that combine academic research with industrial application in the power and automation area. ABB already collaborates with a number of academic research groups world-wide. The ABB Research Grant Program is intended to enlarge and complement the circle of our university partners. Through this university collaboration program, ABB reinforces its commitment to an Open Innovation approach. By partnering the researchers from the ABB Corporate Research Centers with the best graduate students and professors from around the world, ABB plans to support a truly collaborative innovation ecosystem.

The application process started on November 1, 2012 and closed on November 30, 2012. In response to our call for proposals on 35 research topics, we received 530 proposals from universities world-wide. We are pleased to announce the following 40 proposals for funding (we list the professors/main contact, project titles, universities, and the countries below):

  • Prof. Paris Avgeriou, “Tool support for documenting architecture decisions,”  University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


  • Prof. Michael Baldea, “Integration of Scheduling and Control using an Internal Coupling Model,” University of Texas at Austin, USA.


  • Prof. Markus Bregulla, “Scalable Multilayer Integration Architecture,” Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences, Germany.


  • Prof. Rolando Burgos, “Reliability-Oriented Design of Modular MV and HV Power Converters,” Virginia Polytechnic Institute, USA.


  • Prof. Aranya Chakrabortty, “Distributed Data-Centric Algorithms for Next Generation Transmission Management Systems,”  North Carolina State University, USA.


  • Prof. Martin Cryan, “Feasibility Study for A Nanoantenna Array Enhanced Fluorescence Sensor For Water Monitoring (NanoFluor),” University of Bristol, UK.


  • Prof. Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia, “Distributed and Resilent Voltage Control of Distributed Energy Resources in the Smart Grid,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.


  • Prof. Prasad Enjeti, “New Converter Topologies for Off-Shore Wind Farms HVDC Link,” Texas A&M University, USA.


  • Prof. Alessandra Flammini, “Advanced Industrial Real-Time Ethernet Network Co-Simulation: AIRnetS”, University of Brescia, Italy.


  • Prof. Thomas Fritz, “Capturing and Visualizing Developers’ Context Models,” University of Zurich, Switzerland.


  • Prof. Branislav Hredzak, “Advanced control methods and converter topologies for modular hybrid energy storage system,” University of New South Wales, Australia.


  • Prof. Gabriela Hug, “Distributed Optimization in the Operation of the Future Electric Power System,” Carnegie Mellon University, USA.


  • Prof. Jürgen Jasperneite, “Automated Test Generation and Hardware in the Loop Solution for Industrial Automation Systems”, Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe/Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, Germany.


  • Prof. Pavel Kolpahchyan, “Working out of scientific and technical bases of creation of linear electric motors,”  South-Russian State Technical University, Russia.


  • Prof. Dimitris Labridis, “Advanced Control Methods for Superconducting DC Grid,” Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.


  • Prof. Klaus Lackner, “Air Capture of CO2 : Technological and economic feasibility study of various end-to-end process alternatives,” Columbia University, USA.


  • Prof. Thomas Lipo, “Design and Implementation of a Rare-Earth Free Permanent Magnet Low Speed Motor Using the Vernier Principle,” University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.


  • Prof. Matt Mason, “In-hand manipulation with a simple gripper,” Carnegie Mellon University, USA.


  • Prof. Gerrit Meixner, “Development of a Software Tool for Automatically Checking User Interfaces Against Usability-Related Standards and Guidelines (DeSTIny),” Heilbronn University, Germany.


  • Prof. Holger Neubert, “Magnetic shape memory actuators for future switch gear,” Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.


  • Prof. Tien Nguyen, “Integrating Historical Knowledge on Code Patterns into IDE to support Code Completion, Defect Prevention, and Fixing Recommendation,” Iowa State University, USA.


  • Prof. Johan Ölvander, “Optimal balancing of Serial Mechanisms using Fluid Power Technology,” Linköping University, Sweden.


  • Prof. Roberto Ottoboni, “Towards a smart sensor approach in DC current measurement for circuit breaker applications,” Politecnico di Milano, Italy.


  • Prof. Thomas Parisini, “Increased Functionality Energy-autonomous Sensor Networks for self-monitoring Industrial Environments,” Imperial College of London, UK.


  • Chris Parnin, “Auto-Blogging Software Development Experiences,” Georgia Tech, USA


  • Prof. Sergio Cavalieri, “Engineering and assessing condition-based maintenance product-service solutions,” University of Bergamo, Italy.


  • Prof. Ram Rajagopal, “Leveraging smart meter data for customer segmentation and data-driven, targeted interventions,” Stanford University, USA.


  • Prof. Christian Rehtanz, “Techno-economic analysis and evaluation of fast corrective actions for ensuring (N-1)-security of transmission system operation under uncertainties,” Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany.


  • Prof. Xiong  Rong, “Research on learning from demonstration based system for small parts assembly,” Zhejiang University, China.


  • Prof. Sandip Roy, “Decision-Support Tools for Renewables-Rich Power Systems: A Stochastic Futures Approach,” Washington State University, USA.


  • Prof. Joachim Rudolph, “Loss optimized control of doubly fed induction generator systems,” Universität des Saarlandes, Germany.


  • Prof. Dominique Sauter, “Proactive Plant Asset Management – pPAM,” University of Lorraine, France.


  • Prof. Julie Shah, “Human Inspired Techniques for Programming Flexible Human-Robot and Multi-Robot Coordinated Work,” MIT, USA.


  • Prof. Kenji Shimada, “Automated work piece localization and manipulation,” Carnegie Mellon University, USA.


  • Prof. Pertti Silventoinen, “Acoustic emission in Power Semiconductor Module,” Lappeenranta University of technology, Finland.


  • Prof. Raj Srinivasan, “Cost-Benefit Analysis of Integrated Scheduling and Production Control,” National University of Singapore, Singapore.


  • Prof. Muhammet Toprak, “MONO – Metal Oxide Nanoparticles in Oil – new nanofluids,”  Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden.


  • Prof. Fred Wang, “New Voltage Source Converter Topology with Fault Current Blocking Capability for HVDC Transmission System,” University of Tennessee, USA.


  • Prof. Le Xie, “Smart Targeting of Embedded HVDC for Enhanced Grid Flexibility,” Texas A&M University, USA.


  • Prof. Qiming Zhang, “Novel Polymer Dielectric of High Dielectric Constant, Low Loss,” Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Successful project leaders were notified on Jan. 15, 2013, and funding will commence as soon as the contracts are signed with the universities. While each of the 40 projects will be initially be funded for one year, we expect most of these projects to be continued for multiple years. In addition to these 40 new proposals, about 100 existing research collaborations between ABB Corporate Research and universities will continue from 2012. As the projects end on a 3 year cycle, we will be able to fund 40-50 newer research collaborations every year. We expect to issue another global call for proposals around August 2013 for a new set of collaborations for 2014.

We thank all the professors from the various universities for their hard work in submitting 530 proposals.  We received many more high-quality proposals than we could fund this year. We will try to explore alternate ways of collaborating with many of these universities. We also thank all the reviewers and program managers at ABB Corporate Research who went through all the proposals and selected 40 for funding.

We look forward to excellent collaborations between researchers at ABB and the universities.

Prith Banerjee                                                 Willi Paul
Chief Technology Officer                                   Head of Global Lab Power

Franz Schmaderer                                           Daniel Wäppling
Head of Global Lab Automation                         Program Manager


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About the author

Prith Banerjee

I'm Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of ABB.  Previously, I was the Senior Vice President of Research and Director of HP Labs at Hewlett Packard for 5 years. I spent about 22 years in academia at three universities (Dean of College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Walter Murphy Professor and Chairman of Electrical and Computer Engineering  at Northwestern University, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana).  I've founded two companies (AccelChip in 2000, and BINACHIP in 2004).  I'm also a Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and AAAS, and have received both the ASEE Terman Award and the IEEE Booth Award. I am the author of 350 papers, and have supervised 37 Ph.D. students. I have a B.Tech degree in Electronics from IIT Kharagpur, and a MS and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana.
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