Washington State University’s research in advanced materials, engineering and smart systems make it a crucial part of Washington’s $76 billion aerospace industry. Because of those strengths, local companies look to WSU for help in solving technological challenges, and to engage with students who will soon enter the workforce. Government programs like the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) help initiate these mutually beneficial relationships.

The program launched in 2012, and WSU researchers have been involved since day one. The 2015-16 funding was recently announced, and we wanted to take the moment to share two great videos about what WSU is doing for local companies:

Building cost-effective parts for rockets

“There is nothing like it when you really deal with industry, and look at the real life applications of materials you are making in your lab. It is very satisfying, not only to us, but to our students.”

Susmita Bose, Ph.D.
W.M. Keck Biomedical Materials Research Lab
WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Researchers Amit Bandyopadhyay, Susmita Bose and their students worked with Aerojet Rocketdyne to explore the possibility of 3D printing mixed-material parts for space satellites.

Safer fueling for UAVS

“[JCATI] is amazing and absolutely essential. The…funds from a JCATI project helps us get an experiment set up, and that experiment leads to future students and future funding.”

Jake Leachman, Ph.D.
Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research Lab
WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Researcher Jake Leachman and his graduate students worked with Insitu Inc. to design an insulation-free cryogenic hydrogen fuel tank for the unmanned aerial vehicle ScanEagle.


WSU researchers were involved in six other JCATI projects during the 2014-2015 funding cycle, bringing the university to a total of 19 JCATI projects over the past three years. Eight more researchers are working with industry through JCATI in 2015-2016.

Based in Seattle, staff from WSU’s Office of Economic Development are also involved with JCATI. Acting as a liaison between the state’s economic priorities and WSU’s strengths and expertise, our staff helps WSU researchers expand relationships started by JCATI, or to find other similar opportunities based on their research. By attending events like the JCATI symposium, we also gain insight into what Washington’s companies are looking for in tomorrow’s workforce. Find out what assistant director Alexis Holzer learned at the 2015 symposium.