UMass Lowell Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Julie Chen

Julie Chen, Ph.D.

Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

University Crossing, 4th floor


Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Co-Director of the Advanced Composite Materials & Textiles Laboratory


Julie Chen, Ph.D., is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on nanotechnology and innovations in materials processing and manufacturing. She directs UMass Lowell’s $65 million research enterprise, which spans all academic departments and 14 research and engagement centers and institutes.

Chen has served on editorial boards, advisory committees and review panels for several journals and federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and has also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and briefed the Massachusetts Legislature. She has also served as the 2010 Technical Program Chair for the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition.

As Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Chen carries out UMass Lowell’s mission to grow the innovation economy by overseeing the transfer of technology toward applications, and ensuring that research partners—which include large corporations and various federal and state agencies – are well served.

Chen brings the experience she gained as a program director and proposal reviewer for the NSF to her current role overseeing the faculty’s federal grant submissions. From 2002-2004, she served as an NSF program director in its Materials Processing & Manufacturing and Nanomanufacturing Programs.

She served as one of the three founding co-directors of the UMass Lowell Nanomanufacturing Center (she was responsible for the state-funded Center of Excellence component), is the co-director of the UMass Lowell Advanced Composite Materials and Textile Research Laboratory and is a member of the UMass Lowell Wind Energy Research Group.

At the Massachusetts State House, Chen co-led a spring 2011 briefing on the importance of state matching funds in securing federal research grants. She also testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, on “The Transfer of National Nanotechnology Initiative Research Outcomes for Commercial and Public Benefit” in 2008.

With more than 20 years experience as a faculty member in mechanical engineering, her research into mechanical behavior and deformation of fiber and composite structures has helped to prevent manufacturing defects, improve performance, and create new innovations in experimental characterization and manufacturing.

Chen received her Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. degrees from MIT in Mechanical Engineering.