Funded Research Grant Projects

Current Funded Research Grant Projects

Project Title: FW-HTF-P: Interactive Multi-Human Multi-Remote-Robot Operations for Future Construction Field

Project Period: 10/2022-09/2023

Project Synopsis: The overarching goal of this Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier (FW-HTF-P) project is to create a collaboration framework for multiple human workers to team with multiple remote construction robots of various types. These human-robot teams have the potential to improve operational efficiency and scalability and thus anticipate imminent problems challenging the future of the construction industry, including a shortage of skilled labor, an aging workforce, occupational safety challenges, and stagnant productivity. However, realizing the best outcomes will require new approaches for human-robot collaborative operations in constrained and complex construction workplaces. Potential benefits to the nation are significant, given the critical economic and societal roles of the construction industry. Activities under this Project Development award will include development of a proof-of-concept worker-in-the-loop interface to support preliminary studies with industry partners at construction sites with varying work environments and operation scenarios. The preliminary studies will be supported by workshops, focus groups, training sessions, and surveys. Expected outcomes of the project include improvements to work efficiency, overall work productivity, worker safety and well-being, and recruitment and inclusion of a diverse workforce, including older workers. Ultimately the project has potential benefits for the fields of construction engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, learning sciences, and workforce training, as well as architecture, engineering, construction, and human and social science.


This award will build an interdisciplinary team of academic researchers and industry stakeholders with a deep understanding of the applicability and potential of multi-human-multi-remote-robot (MHMRR) collaboration, toward the goal of an innovative and interactive MHMRR collaboration framework with Avatar Construction Workers able to collaborate with remote heterogeneous construction robots through transparent and reliable on-site knowledge transfer. Two project development activities will be conducted to achieve this goal. First, the research team will build a prototype of a worker-in-the-loop MHMRR interface that is reconfigurable for various construction operations and integration of different new and emerging technologies. Second, the research team will draw upon partnerships with relevant stakeholders in both the construction and technology industries to design and conduct preliminary studies of MHMRR collaborations under a representative selection of realistic conditions. Experimental design and recruitment of additional partners will be accomplished through multiple activities, including workshops, focus groups, training sessions, and surveys. The Project Development activities supported by this award will result in the formation of an integrated team including academic researchers, engaged industry partners, specialized research infrastructure, a foundation of supporting preliminary results, and a research agenda tailored to advancing the critical field of MHMRR for construction. The outcome has the potential to revolutionize existing construction industries and to provide convergent solutions for technical and workforce bottlenecks.

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Project Funding Amount: $150,000



Project Title: Developing Virtual Reality Training Simulations to Advance Agricultural Safety Curricula for Safer and Immersive Learning Experiences

Project Period: 07/2021-07/2025

Project Synopsis: Advanced Applicator Technicians are critical to retail agribusiness organizations and large-scale crop production growers. The goal of this project is to support the Advanced Applicator Technicians Associate degree established by Parkland College, Illinois, in 2018 by enhancing their agricultural equipment safety course through development of adaptive virtual reality (VR) simulations. A total of four modules will be developed focusing on improving students experience and skillsets on 1) pre-checklist survey, 2) understanding instrument panel gauges, 3) cargo securement, and 4) driving under various load conditions. A core component of this project is utilization of a decision-tree algorithms, providing students with an interactive learning environment that that can adapt the training module based on the student knowledge and skill set. Another core feature is utilization of portable, relatively scalable VR headsets will result in off-site training to industry partners, and increase likelihood of adoption by other community colleges and industry. We partner with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Parkland College in this project.

Funding Agency: The U.S. Department of Agriculture, The National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Project Funding Amount: $500,000



Project Title: Cyber Resilience Adaptive Virtual Reality Experiences (CRAVRE)

Project Period: 09/2020 – 08/2023

Project Synopsis: Purdue University and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is using an innovative training approach to develop awareness of the connectivity created by the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies among public safety officials and impacts of cyberattacks on these technologies could have on incident response and recovery. In doing this, we will increase the community’s ability to prevent an attack and continue to enhance the community’s resilience. Our approach includes a series of scenario-based, immersive, experiential learning opportunities in which cyber incidents occur concurrently with another disaster. Through these scenarios, participants will observe cause-and-effect reactions to the ubiquitous connected IoT technologies and identify strategies and techniques to adapt and prevent IoT-based attacks. Utilizing artificial intelligence techniques, we will develop an AI-powered customizable learning module. In addition, our course will be adaptive to the learner and easily accessible through a web-based platform tailored to operate on individuals’ personal devices. We will evaluate and assess the effectiveness of this cutting-edge training program.

Funding Agency: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Project Funding Amount: $1,500,000



Project Title: Collaborative Research: Developing Business Communication Skills in Manufacturing Technician Education

Project Period: 09/2020 – 08/2024

Project Synopsis: Advanced manufacturing and production are changing from a demand for manual laborers toward s demand for skilled technicians in automation and data exchange who can communicate effectively in teams.  Recognizing the need for advanced manufacturing technicians who have the technical knowledge/skills and the soft-skills to work efficiently and effectively in the changing workplace, the research and development project will develop and test a “smart factory” approach, embedded in course case studies and in a virtual reality (VR) platform, that prepare manufacturing technicians to meet current and future workforce demands.  To support the use of case studies and adaptive VR learning experience in courses, faculty in advanced manufacturing programs will participate in extensive professional development activities that include development of materials and externships in industry.  To strengthen the alignment between coursework and job tasks, the project draws on the long-standing partnership of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Purdue University, and their industry partners to develop the technical and soft skills needed to meet the demand for a technical and communication savvy middle-skills workforce in advance manufacturing.  Recognizing that the manufacturing workforce is maturing, the project also focuses on fostering and investigating the communication skills that facilitate the transfer of highly specialized technical skills and knowledge (expertise) across the multiple generations in the manufacturing workforce.

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Project Funding Amount: $580,511


Project Title: REU Supplement for Collaborative Research in Developing Business Communication Skills in Manufacturing Technician Education

Project Period: 08/2021 – 08/2023

Project Synopsis: Supplemental fund for the Collaborative Research in Developing Business Communication Skills in Manufacturing Technician Education (#2000779) project for developing and testing an adaptive virtual reality (VR) platform to help manufacturing technician students learn business communication skills. The project will train and engage two undergraduate students in data collection, analysis, and publication/dissemination efforts relevant to grant activities.

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Project Funding Amount: $20,000



Previously Funded Research Grant Projects


Project Title: Purdue Cyber Apprenticeship Program (P-CAP)

Project Period: 07/2019 – 07/2022

Project Synopsis: The Purdue Cyber Apprenticeship Program (P-CAP) was developed as part of the US President’s effort to “promote apprenticeships and effective workforce development programs”, through collaborations among trade and industry groups, employers, educational institutions, unions, joint labor-management organizations, and other third parties to create new apprenticeship solutions. The Program supports sector-based approaches to expanding efforts to develop and implement apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors such as cybersecurity. The P-CAP is a scalable cyber apprenticeship program that creates a steady pipeline of skilled workers to both solve employers’ workforce shortages and create a successful pathway to high-paying jobs for participants. The purpose of this program is to develop and deliver an apprenticeship training program in cybers fields. Participants work for an employer that pays for their education while participants gain paid industry experience and training. Upon completion of the program, participants will have earned either an associate degree in IT, a Bachelor of Science degree in computer and information science majoring in cybersecurity, or a Master of Science in cybersecurity and trusted systems. Additionally, participants will have opportunities to sit for various industry recognized certifications, earn other specialty certificates, and earn a certificate from the P-CAP Leadership Academy.

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Labor

Project Funding Amount: $16,000,000



Project Title: Archives Leadership Institute @ Purdue

Project Period: 08/2018 – 07/2022

Project Synopsis: The Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) is a program funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Purdue University is the host site for ALI for the years 2019-2021. ALI@Purdue offers advanced training for 20 archival leaders each year, providing the knowledge, tools, and community of practice to enable these leaders to effect positive change within the profession.

Funding Agency: U.S. National Archives & Records Administration

Project Funding Amount: $451,099



Project Title: Developing Young Innovative Entrepreneurial Leaders in STE(A)M Fields in Eastern Marmara Region

Project Period: 10/2019 – 06/2021

Project Synopsis: The project aims to promote innovation and foster entrepreneurship among Turkish youth in the Eastern Marmara region who have earned or are pursuing technical degrees. The program will develop a cadre of 300 new leaders in STE(A)M fields as well as scalable educational resources that can be used for future cohorts. Other anticipated outcomes include strengthening economic prosperity in the region, reinforcing democratic values, and fostering ties between the US and Turkey.

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of State

Project Funding Amount: $40,000