2019 - 2021
Systems Engineering is primarily an industry-driven activity, and industry recognizes the value of improving the methods for designing and managing large, complex systems development activities. This project supports a series of three workshops devoted to identifying fundamental research challenges in systems engineering. While there have been numerous recent workshops supported by NSF related to fundamental research in systems engineering, the academic community has struggled to identify research directions that will fundamentally improve systems engineering processes. What makes this workshop different and valuable is that it is focused on obtaining input directly from industry participants. It is important to note that systems engineering is not a natural phenomenon that academics can observe in a laboratory setting. Therefore, mechanisms such as these workshops, through which academia can learn about the needs and opportunities in the area, are crucially important to hypothesis generation and the advancement of knowledge. Intellectual merit lies in the potential to collect practitioner community perspective regarding the challenges in designing and managing complex systems that require fundamental research to overcome. This workshop series is designed to identify and articulate fundamental challenges faced by the practitioner community. Two \"practitioner listening workshops\" will be held in early 2020 to elicit input from industry stakeholders. The workshops will feature a mix of inquiry based on predetermined questions and open discussions led by industry participants. Workshop organizers will aggregate and synthesize observations from the initial workshops to produce a recommendation for a prioritized fundamental research agenda. A final \"feedback\" workshop will be held in the second half of 2020 during which organizers will present and solicit feedback about the research agenda. Participants of the original workshops will be invited to participate in the feedback workshop. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.