Fenves Award for Systems Research

The Steven J. Fenves Award for Systems Research will be presented to an individual or group of individuals within the college of engineering who have made a significant contribution to systems research. The award consists of a certificate and an honorarium. This award will be given annually (if appropriate).


The basis for selection will be the degree to which the nominee has made a significant contribution to systems research, as evidenced by one or more of the following:

  • furthering the goal of interconnecting people, physical systems, and information
  • development and demonstration of an engineered system
  • enhancing education in systems through the development of courses, publishing textbooks (paper or electronic), or a body of knowledge that is of pedagogical importance
  • causing a paradigm shift in systems research


All regular, teaching, research, and special faculty in the College of Engineering who are involved in College of Engineering-related systems research are eligible.

Nomination requirements

Any Carnegie Mellon faculty member may nominate qualified individuals for this award. Nominations can be submitted to the College of Engineering Awards and Recognition Committee for Faculty by the deadline. Documentation to support the nomination should include:

  • a citation of no more than 100 words
  • a nomination letter of no more than two pages that incldues:
    • justification of the nomination
    • a paragraph defining why the work is considered a systems approach
  • a current curriculum vitae for the nominee
  • letters of reference (at least two and no more than five) from Carnegie Mellon and external sources who can attest to the achievements and document their impacts
  • any other optional materials the nominators may consider appropriate, recommended to be not more than 10 pages

Selection of the award winner or winners is performed by the College of Engineering Awards and Recognition Committee for Faculty. All awards will be announced at the Annual College of Engineering Faculty Meeting.

About the donor

Steven Fenves’ research and teaching has been devoted to computer-aided engineering, an emerging discipline that seeks to understand, model, and improve the processes civil and environmental engineers use in the planning, design, construction, and operation of engineered facilities. He was the co-developer of one of the earliest structural analysis systems (STRESS, 1962). His research has dealt with design standards, engineering databases, knowledge-based systems, machine learning, and comprehensive design environments.

Fenves is the author or co-author of six books and more than papers. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Among his awards are the Huber Prize and the Moisseif and Winter Awards from ASCE, the Alumni Honor Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois, and the Teare Award and Doherty Prize from Carnegie Mellon University.

He received his BS (1957), MS (1958) and Ph.D. (1961) degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served on the faculty there (1958-71). He joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1972, serving as head of the Civil Engineering Department (1972-75) and director of the Design Research Center (1980-84), attaining the position of University Professor in 1984. He retired from active teaching in 1998. Upon retirement, Fenves moved to the Washington D.C. area to be close to family and to work with colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.