College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Clemson University’s STRIDE to channel research brilliance to real-world results


Clemson University’s labs and classrooms buzz every day with the excitement of new discoveries. Now, thanks to substantial funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, more of those discoveries could make the leap to the real world.

National Science Foundation logo

A $6-million Accelerating Research Translation (ART) cooperative agreement from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF-2331364) will anchor an ambitious suite of programs collectively termed STRIDE. The program is aimed at engaging the University at every level, ranging from students and faculty to staff and external collaborators.

The goal of the NSF ART program is to amplify “translational research,” which is the business of channeling academic discoveries into practical, real-world applications. NSF’s investment will enable academic institutions to accelerate the pace and scale of translational research that will grow the nation’s economy. To read more about the ART program, visit

The principal investigator on the grant is K.C. Wang, the C. Tycho Howle Chair of Collaborative Computing Environments, Provost Distinguished Professor and executive director for STRIDE.

Key to STRIDE’s mission is diagnosing what currently hampers translational research at Clemson and then bolstering the University’s support mechanisms.

Faculty and students will gain tools and opportunities to transform their academic research into tangible outcomes. STRIDE will also strategically allocate resources to projects showing promise to make a significant impact outside the academic realm.

“NSF endeavors to empower academic institutions to build the pathways and structures needed to speed and scale their research into products and services that benefit the nation,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “The Accelerating Research Translation program in NSF’s new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate identifies, and champions institutions positioned to expand their research translation capacity by investing in activities essential to move results to practice.”

Top Clemson administrators congratulated the team on the grant.

“This significant grant from the National Science Foundation reinforces our unwavering commitment to advancing academic research and ensuring its real-world application for the greater good,” said Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robert H. Jones. “With STRIDE, we are accelerating our efforts to build prosperity within South Carolina and far beyond its borders.”

Members of the Clemson University STRIDE team work in a Freeman Hall lab. Among those pictured are: Chris Gesswein (far left); K.C. Wang (orange shirt and gray tie); Divya Srinivasan (working with the skeleton); Shelia Cotten (second from left) and Tia Dumas (far right).

STRIDE is an acronym for Stimulating Translation of Research via Intentional Development and Ecosystem. The plan envisages:

* Infusing the ethos of research translation into academic milestones, such as tenure, promotion, and reappointment

* Curating programs that empower faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students to effectively channel their research into actionable benefits

* Enhancing research translation support both centrally and across colleges, including new capabilities for the Clemson University Research Foundation, a non-profit that handles technology transfer for the University

* Launching several cornerstone initiatives to cultivate a more comprehensive and effective research translation culture, including an “Innovation Front Desk” to guide newcomers and connect them with a myriad of resources and programs, including the recently launched entrepreneurial hub Brook T. Smith Launchpad.

Co-principal investigators are: Chris Gesswein, executive director of the Clemson University Research Foundation; Shelia Cotten, associate vice president for research development; Divya Srinivasan, McQueen Quattlebaum Professor of Industrial Engineering; and Tia Dumas, associate vice president for strategic alliance.

As part of the project, NC State will serve as a mentor to Clemson University. NC State will provide Clemson with research- translation training and support and help foster a campus-wide culture for research translation.

“We are excited to join forces with NC State as they serve as mentors, providing invaluable research-translation training and support,” Wang said. “This collaboration aligns seamlessly with our mission to bridge the gap between academic brilliance and societal change, shaping a brighter tomorrow for the state of South Carolina, our country, and the world.”

Clemson will be building on a strong foundation for innovation and research translation.

Guided and driven by the Clemson Elevate strategic plan, the University has started the Brook T. Smith Launchpad, a comprehensive incubator space overseen by the President’s Office.

The University is also accelerating growth of its acclaimed undergraduate research program, Creative Inquiry, and expanding the Grad 360° program to infuse industrial innovation skills into graduate studies. The newly established Faculty ADVANCEment Office will facilitate research-informed programs to support faculty mentoring and faculty review. The Office of Research, the Clemson University Research Foundation, and all colleges will work closely together to identify and support research translation.

“For decades, Clemson has been at the forefront of pioneering research,” Wang said. “With STRIDE, we’re taking our land grant commitment a notch higher. This initiative embodies our ambition to bridge the gap between academic brilliance and societal change. As we embark on this journey, we’re not just shaping the future of Clemson but crafting a brighter tomorrow for the state of South Carolina, our country and world.”

Launched by NSF’s TIP Directorate, the ART program directly addresses a long-standing gap between academic research and the products, services and solutions Americans need. While ART seeks to build capacity and infrastructure for translational research at U.S. IHEs, the program also aims to enhance the role of IHEs in regional innovation ecosystems and effectively train graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in translational research, benefiting them across a range of career options. The program is authorized by the “CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.” For more information, visit the ART program webpage:

To read the NSF press release, visit:

To learn about the NSF’s Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP), visit:

To learn about Clemson’s Brook T. Smith Launchpad, visit

To learn about the NSF award, visit

To learn about NC State, visit

To learn about Clemson’s strategic plan, visit:

Want to Discuss?

Get in touch and we will connect you with the author or another expert.

Or email us at

    This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.