Prof. Chen Li to receive Young Investigator Program award from Army Research Office

July 25, 2017

Chen Li, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has won the highly competitive Young Investigator Program award from the Army Research Office (ARO). The ARO award will provide $360,000 over the next three years to support Li’s research on a project titled “Towards Terradynamics of Dynamic Legged Locomotion in Complex 3-D Terrains.”

Li’s “terradynamics” research is focused on developing a new framework of locomotion energy landscapes to understand how legged locomotion emerges in complex 3-D terrains. This research will help scientists better understand how animals like insects and lizards traverse natural habitats like forest floor. A larger goal of the project is to improve how legged robots navigate tough terrains like landslides and building rubble.

The Young Investigator Program award is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the Army on outstanding young scientists. The objective of the program is to attract young university faculty members to pursue cutting-edge research in areas relevant to the Army, to support their research in these areas, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.

In addition to the ARO award, Dr. Li is recipient of a Miller Research Fellowship (2012-2015) from University of California, Berkeley and a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface. Li’s terradynamics research has been featured in many national news outlets, including IEEE Spectrum, Digital Trends, and WIRED.

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