The Francis College of Engineering at UMass Lowell has a proud heritage, spanning more than a century, for providing outstanding, practical and affordable engineering education. Formerly known as the Lowell Technological Institute (and before then the Lowell Textile Institute), the College is intimately connected to the economy and industry of the area.
In the 19th century, the city of Lowell was the acknowledged cradle of the Industrial Revolution in America, through its systematic harnessing of water power for the textile industry. Throughout the twentieth century, as the economy of the region has evolved and diversified – from textiles to minicomputers, telecommunications and information technology and more recently to biomedical and biopharmaceutical technology - the Francis College of Engineering at UMass Lowell has been intimately involved through its training of many scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs and its close partnerships with local industry.
In the new millennium, Lowell is again positioned as the cradle for the New Economy: a revolution in large-scale implementation of nanoscale technology, which is projected to have broad and beneficial impact on potentially every facet of our lives. With a new Center of Excellence for Nanomanufacturing funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-Rate Manufacturing funded by the National Science Foundation, UMass Lowell’s Francis College of Engineering is poised to be major leader in nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing. A major engineering initiative in bioprocessing and biopharmaceuticals is also underway.
Even with all of this innovation and research activity, our commitment to providing hands-on, real-world learning for our students continues. With a National Science Foundation-funded initiative for integrating Service-Learning throughout the curriculum in engineering, students will be exposed to projects that “make a difference” throughout their undergraduate experience. These include projects in Assistive Technology, where engineering students assist handicapped or disadvantaged individuals through applications of innovative problem-solving; Sustainable Infrastructure and Development, where engineering and nursing students assist with providing infrastructure and public health needs in developing foreign locations; or other needs originating from the community.