Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Roadmap Profile: ODU

Old Dominion University (ODU) was founded in 1930 in Hampton Roads as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary. In 1962, it became an independent institution and, seven years later, gained university status. Today, ODU is a dynamic public research institution in the coastal region of Virginia excelling in rigorous academic programming, creating strategic partnerships, and active civil engagement. ODU offers a wide range of programs, including liberal arts, science, technology, and professional programs; the university offers over 70 bachelor's degrees, 60 master's degrees, and 35 doctoral degrees in various fields.

ODU's location in a major international maritime and commerce gateway enhances the university's engagements in key fields such as marine science, aerospace, ship design and construction, advanced electronics, national security, and nuclear physics. Relative to its location to national and international military commands, ODU is also strong in programs with global outreach such as business, economics, international studies, geography, and the sciences.

Research priorities in science and technology at ODU can be categorized into four sectors, all of which have strong capabilities and market opportunity: lifespan biology, including bioelectrics; modeling, simulation, and visualization; alternative energy, including photovoltaics and biofuels; and transportation, a multi-modal focus that encompasses all possible avenues of movement. A fifth area, nanotechnology, is also considered a priority sector due to the university's strengths, close working relationship with the Jefferson Lab, and multitude of applications. Collaboration between ODU and the Jefferson Lab focuses on micro- and nanotechnologies, especially for use by or in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. Other areas of focus include accelerator physics, specialized accelerators and instrumentation, and specialized sensors and particle detectors.

Within these key sectors, ODU's work is targeted, yet widespread. ODU has a strong and active photovoltaic program, with heavy emphasis on smart grid technologies, including the resiliency of grids in the coastal area. Within their work on transportation, researchers are focused on autonomous vehicle technology, human factors engineering, biomechanics, lean manufacturing with regards to shipbuilding technologies, and planning for emergency evacuations through traffic advisory and signaling systems. Additional work in nanotechnologies includes nanomaterials, both with nanoparticles that carry drugs into human bodies and microfluidics, or the flow of fluids into micro entry points; nanoscale electronics, especially microelectron mechanical systems (MEMS); and the targeted delivery of nanomedicine through bioelectrics and pulse signaling.

Over the next few years ODU expects to see growth in numerous sectors, and particularly in bioelectrics, modeling and simulation, photovoltaics, and micro- and nanotechnologies.