At A Glance

Technology is changing how the world does business, and manufacturing is no exception. Mark Johnson stays ahead of trends through his research on topics ranging from robotics and virtual reality to artificial intelligence and lightweight materials. Johnson’s work seeks to drive collaboration between the next generation of students and manufacturing companies, applying technology in a forward-looking way to drive international competitive advantage. His expertise ranges from materials science and semiconductors to renewable energy technology and efficient manufacturing. 


Johnson joined the University in 2018 with the charge to develop the Clemson Center for Advanced Manufacturing’s research and education programs, while serving as a conduit that connects manufacturers, faculty, students and other resources.

With a focus on advanced manufacturing, Johnson looks at a variety of topics from robotics and virtual reality to artificial intelligence and lightweight materials. His primary research has focused on crystal growth and device fabrication of compound semiconductor materials with electronic and photonic applications. He also focuses on the development of new energy-efficient manufacturing processes and materials technologies, particularly those enabling energy applications.

By understanding all facets of manufacturing, he seeks to fulfill the University’s land-grant mission by bringing together the next generation of students with the state’s manufacturing companies, connecting those students with real problems to solve during their education.

In addition to his role with the Center, Johnson also serves as the Thomas F. Hash Endowed Chair in Sustainable Development. He is the former director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and he previously served as a program director in the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E). Prior to Johnson’s work in higher education and government, he helped lead several successful startup businesses focused on semiconductor materials and device technology.

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The driver behind U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing on a global scale is our connection to world-class higher education. If manufacturers don’t have a connection to higher education, they’re not pushing for the next generation of know-how and the next generation of technical leadership. What makes a place like Clemson so exciting is that we’re bringing together that human talent of the next generation of students and connecting them with real problems in manufacturing through our industry partnerships.

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    • Advanced, energy-efficient manufacturing
    • Materials science
    • Semiconductor materials - electronic, photonics devices
    • Renewable energy technology

    Degrees, Institutions

    • Board member, The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
    • Ph.D. materials science and engineering, North Carolina State University
    • S.B. materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology