Graduate students and early-career researchers from around the world will be gathering this summer at The University of New Mexico for the 2016 Sandia National Laboratories Nonlinear Mechanics and Dynamics Summer Research Institute, known as NOMAD.

The institute will be held from June 20 to July 29 at the Manufacturing Training and Technology Center (MTTC) at the UNM Science and Technology Park. It brings together technical researchers from various backgrounds with the goal of developing collaborations and making progress toward solving major challenges in the area of joints and interfacial mechanics, as well as structural dynamics.

“The institute is a great example of the strong collaboration that UNM and Sandia share,” said UNM Vice President for Research Gabriel Lopez. “We are pleased to be able to house the institute at MTTC and UNM and showcase our cutting-edge facilities in micro and nanofabrication to this group of accomplished and innovative researchers.”

The NOMAD institute will bring together participants from around the world to work in small teams on projects related to interfacial mechanics and jointed structures, and structural dynamics and projects on nonlinear system identification and structural health monitoring. The theme of this year’s institute is “Friction, Fatigue, and Failure.”

The NOMAD Research Institute was founded in 2014 by Matthew Brake of the component science and mechanics department at Sandia National Laboratories. In 2013, Brake visited with Pascal Reuss from the University of Stuttgart. Brake and Reuss came up with the idea for the institute to capitalize on all the great ideas for research that come from conferences but are often not put into action. The institute uses graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to form collaborations on various research projects that stem from conferences.

“The focus of the NOMAD Research Institute is on graduate student education,” Brake said. “The problems that we highlight within the institute are too large to be solved by individual researchers, and we believe that the best path forward is to develop networks of large collaborations for the next generation of researchers to make significant progress toward them.”

The institute is open to graduate students and early-career researchers from the United States and international communities.

In addition, the Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) is supporting the intense computational efforts required for the institute. Both MTTC and CARC are centers within the School of Engineering.

New this year is a large STEM outreach project, in which students from under-represented groups are participating in a parallel activity that introduces them to both engineering sciences and social sciences through a series of projects, such as a cross-cultural psychology research study, tutorials on how to use engineering software, and direct interaction with the graduate student researchers.

Brake said a goal of the institute is to increase the involvement of UNM faculty. Faculty who would like to get involved or would like more information can contact Brake at

After the institute concludes, participants will be able to present their research at the 2016 ISMA International Conference on Noise and Vibration Engineering, held Sept. 19-21 in Belgium.