The ASPIRE Engineering Research Center (Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification) explores a diverse range of transportation questions, from electrified highways that energize vehicles to the placement of charging stations, data security and workforce development. The $26 million center is led by Utah State University with many partner institutions including CU Boulder, Purdue University, University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Auckland New Zealand. Other Colorado partners include researchers at Colorado State University, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and the National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder.
Engineering Research Centers are the National Science Foundation’s flagship program for transformative, federally funded, industry-partnered, multi-institutional research. They have a proven record of transforming industries and spurring economic development in their regions and across the nation. ASPIRE is one of four new such centers announced in 2020, providing a holistic and convergent research approach to advancing equitable transformations across the transportation and electric utility industries.
CU Boulder is a key partner in the center with faculty from multiple departments in the College of Engineering and Applied Science serving in leadership roles. Qin (Christine) Lv is CU Boulder’s campus director, a co-principal investigator of the center and will lead the data research thrust within it. While Dragan Maksimovic is the co-director of ASPIRE’s engineering workforce development initiative. Additionally, center director Regan Zane worked as a professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering at CU Boulder before starting at Utah State University.