Assistant Director, Directorate for Engineering (ENG)
National Science Foundation
Dawn Tilbury leads the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Engineering (ENG), which supports engineering research and education critical to the nation’s future and fosters innovations that benefit society. Tilbury comes to NSF from the University of Michigan (U-M), where she is a professor of mechanical engineering and served as associate dean for research in the College of Engineering. As associate dean, Tilbury led the development of interdisciplinary research teams to advance both large- and small-scale projects.
A professor at U-M since 1995 in both mechanical and electrical engineering, Tilbury has a background in systems and control engineering. As the first chair of the Robotics Steering Committee at U-M, she identified and capitalized on opportunities to advance robotics research at the university. In 2016, the U-M Board of Regents approved a $75 million building for research and teaching facilities, including laboratories for walking and flying robots and autonomous cars. She has written or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed papers, reports, book chapters and books, and holds a patent with two other researchers for logic controllers for machining systems.
Tilbury has been active in professional society and academic leadership positions, and has received numerous honors and awards for outstanding research and leadership. She has acted as a principal investigator on dozens of highly competitive federal awards, including an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant in 1998. She has supervised dozens of graduate students and planned the Big 10 Women’s Workshops, a multi-university mentoring and networking workshop series for junior women faculty in engineering.