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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee has been chosen to help train the automotive engineering workforce of tomorrow.

UT-Knoxville is one of nine schools selected for the U.S. Department of Energy’s new Graduate Automotive Technology Education program.

Dr. Jerry Stoneking, UT-Knoxville engineering dean, said the GATE program will provide $500,000 for equipment, program development and graduate fellowships. It also will support joint research between UT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the new National Transportation Research Center in Knoxville.

“Our successful bid to establish a GATE center in the college is indicative of both the reputation and quality of our program,” Stoneking said. “It will help us educate a future workforce of automotive engineers who will develop cleaner, more efficient vehicles.”

Dr. Jeff Hodgson, UT-Knoxville mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, said the GATE center at UT will focus on automobile drive trains powered by electricity, gasoline and alternative fuels.

Hodgson said the program adds to UT’s impressive record in student auto competitions, which includes four wins and several top five finishes since 1989.
“UT’s success in automotive competitions has helped students understand the teamwork and technical knowledge needed in the automotive industry,” Hodgson said. “GATE intends to take it one step further, producing a pool of graduate students who have gone through even more advanced training.

“Industry demand for these students is going to be very high.”