SERC combines disruptive space R&D, hands-on education of the second-generation workforce, and industry collaboration that delivers concrete benefits to our students and corporate partners.
The only "engineering teaching hospital" of its kind within the context of a diverse research university, SERC teaches students to build, test and fly actual spacecraft and satellites. We also prepare them for a radically different, democratized environment in which a burgeoning number of nations and private enterprises will compete to reduce costs, enable novel capabilities and re-envision what space means to Earth.
Strength in Diversity
As a joint effort of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and its Information Sciences Institute (ISI), SERC combines the depth of USC academic research with the pragmatism of hands-on space development.
Labs and physical spaces are located both on the USC main campus in Los Angeles and in nearby Marina del Rey, where ISI is based. Leadership includes faculty with diverse academic and industry experience from both institutions. SERC collaborates with government labs, industry and other USC schools and departments. Funding is provided by federal agency grants, industry partners and other sources.
The "Teaching Hospital" Model
SERC operates as the engineering equivalent of a teaching hospital. USC faculty, research faculty and professional staff serve as the practicing physicians. Graduate and undergraduate students are the equivalent of residents and interns. As in a medical setting, faculty and staff steer students at all levels.
More advanced students are able to mentor newer ones. Project implementation is handled by faculty, staff and students. The results are a rich learning environment and teams able to support larger, more diverse research projects than could an academic or applied environment alone.
Lofty Vision, Concrete Goals
Our vision: to conduct research and provide a second-generation workforce with transformative impact on space science and technology. There is no shortage of space challenges. SERC exists not only to help address them, but to create new cross domain innovations to spur imaginations and insight of those who will tackle them next.