Clemson hires Paul Venhovens from BMW’s R and D in Munich as fourth endowed chair for CU-ICAR automotive engineering program

ATE: July 24, 2008

CONTACT: Imtiaz Haque, (864) 656-2482
[email protected]

WRITER: Sandra Woodward, (864) 656-1220
[email protected]

CLEMSON, S.C. — A leader in the complex field of automotive systems integration will join the Clemson University faculty as BMW Endowed Chair in Systems Integration in the automotive engineering graduate program at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).

Paul Venhovens comes to the university from BMW’s Research and Development headquarters in Munich, Germany, where he worked in the field of systems integration since joining the company in 1995. He most recently served as the leader for Functional Concept Design for the 1 and 3 series with responsibility for functional design and integration of vehicle safety, NVH (noise/vibration/harshness), durability, performance, fuel economy and vehicle dynamics.

Imtiaz Haque, Clemson’s mechanical engineering department chairman, to whom Venhovens will report, said the university’s decision process for this position was the most challenging of the four CU-ICAR-related chairs funded by the state and private investors in 2003 as part of the S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence program.

“Systems integration is the unique focus, one might say the ‘brand’ of CU-ICAR research and education efforts,” Haque said. “The graduate engineering program is designed to meet the complex needs of the worldwide automotive industry and ultimately of consumers by conducting cutting-edge research into the process of integrating the many systems and people that result in the automobile of today and of the future.

“It was essential that we find an individual with both academic and industry perspective to lead our team, to provide our students with a depth of understanding of both academic and industry environments and to deliver on the promise that CU-ICAR will be the premier automotive and motorsports research and educational facility in the world. In our five-year search, Dr. Venhovens stood out as the candidate who clearly fulfills our needs. We are very excited about the broad range of experience he brings to the program.”

In addition to Venhovens, the other CU-ICAR endowed chairs include Tom Kurfess, BMW Endowed Chair in Manufacturing and director of the Carroll A. Campbell Graduate Engineering Center at CU-ICAR (hired in 2005); John Ziegert, Timken Endowed Chair in Automotive Design and Development (hired in 2006); and Todd Hubing, Michelin Endowed Chair in Vehicular Electronic Systems Integration (hired in 2007).

Venhovens received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1993 from Delft University of Technology in his home country of the Netherlands. Before joining BMW, he conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) in Ann Arbor, Mich., in the area of simulation and control design for ITS (lane departure warning and control) applications.

At BMW his experiences ranged from supervising research projects in Driver Assistance Systems and software engineering at such major universities as Stanford, UMTRI and the University of California-Berkeley, to developing new methods of testing and software tools for functional integration of BIW (literally body-in-white, refers to the basic steel vehicle frame before any components are added), chassis and drivelines to mitigate noise, vibration and harshness.

Tom Kurfess, who chaired the search committee that recommended Venhovens for the position, said he and faculty colleagues welcome the perspective Venhovens brings.

“The concept of this program, with a campus that includes both academic and industry partners in daily contact, offers students, faculty and our partners the best of both worlds,” Kurfess said. “Adding Dr. Venhovens — with his impressive automotive-industry experience — to the Clemson team gives us additional strength in educating the automotive engineers of the future. We welcome his expertise and believe his presence will attract many young researchers to our program.”

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