Research Clusters

History of UNT Research Clusters

UNT Research Clusters are collaborative, cross-disciplinary teams composed of leading researchers, faculty and students, which promote the synergistic exchange of ideas and resources.

During the legislative session of 2009, the State of Texas approved an ambitious plan to support its seven emerging research universities, including the University of North Texas, into the ranks of National Research Universities. In April 2010, UNT submitted a ten-year “Strategic Plan for Research” to the State that envisions the university as a comprehensive research institution with the aspiration to be ranked as a Carnegie Very High Research Activity University. The plan centers on the following:

  • Facilitating and maximizing the success of current faculty
  • Hiring highly accomplished senior and junior faculty
  • Expanding research space, infrastructure, and funding
  • Enhancing research collaborations and partnerships
  • Increasing philanthropic funds for research (to be matched by the State)
  • Increasing number and quality of doctoral students
  • Improving quality of freshmen class

As part of the implementation of the research plan, UNT has created fifteen research clusters and has selected six additional strategic areas for investment. Among those fifteen are the following two engineering clusters. Research aims solve complex scientific, technological, environmental and societal problems through interdisciplinary collaborations and innovation.   

Mechanical and Energy Engineering Research Clusters

Renewable Energy and Conservation Research Cluster

Providing abundant, cheap, renewable energy for homes, businesses and other end users is a global, conservation imperative that requires innovative research strategies across disciplines. Next generation renewable energy and energy conservation solutions are needed to address complex scientific, technological, environmental, and societal problems. The Renewable Energy and Conservation (REAC) research cluster combines expertise in materials science, mechanical and energy engineering, electrical engineering, engineering technology and other physical and social science fields to conduct research in three thrust areas: Distributed Renewable Power Generation, Smart Grid Transmission, and Building Energy Conservation. 


Technology outcomes

  • Affordable PV systems and wider utilization of wind power
  • Cost effective, high energy efficient building products
  • Key grid-tie solutions for wide penetration of distributed renewable energy


Renewable Bioproducts Research Cluster

A new discipline of engineering is emerging based on green chemistries. Plant scientists and other biologists in the Renewable Bioproducts research cluster forge intellectual partnerships with academic colleagues, industries, government agencies and international colleagues. They design, develop and implement sustainable, multifunctional biosolutions and discover how to harness the unique chemical properties of plants, bacteria and various bioagents to achieve ecologically safe, green solutions that outperform their non-renewable counterparts. 

Multifucntional bioproducts

  • Building materials
  • Lubricants
  • Adhesives
  • Composites
  • Concrete
  • Packaging
  • Textiles
  • Insulation
  • Tissue Scaffolds
  •  Drug delivery

Compostability and biodegradability


  • Seeds 
  • Fiber and corn
  • Fermentation and polymerization
  • Processing