Robert Bernhard

Vice President for Research

Robert J. Bernhard, previously associate vice president for research and professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, was appointed vice president for research at the University of Notre Dame in May 2007. In this role, he addresses infrastructure and support of research – the work of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students alike – and the competition for funding dollars, as well as support for the University's technology transfer efforts.

A graduate of Iowa State University, Bernhard worked from 1973 to 1977 as an engineer with Westinghouse Electric Co. in Baltimore. At the same time, he worked on and earned his master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland. He returned to Iowa State in 1977 to pursue his doctorate and to serve on the engineering faculty as an assistant professor of freshman engineering.

After completing his doctoral studies, Bernhard joined the faculty of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue in 1982. He had been affiliated with the Acoustics and Noise Control Research Program at the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories at Purdue, and served as its director from 1994 to 2004. He had been the director of the Institute for Safe, Quiet and Durable Highways since 1998 and for the last three years served as Purdue's associate vice president for research.

Bernhard is one of the nation's leading experts on noise control, with a focus on tire and traffic noise, numerical noise control design methods, noise source identification, active noise and vibration control, and machinery noise control applications. He has directed the research of 49 engineering graduates and is the co-author of more than 170 journal and conference publications on various aspects of noise control engineering, numerical methods, vibrations and design.

Bernhard is a frequent consultant to industry and government and has had his research activities funded by more than a dozen corporations as well as NASA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the National Science Foundation.

Bernhard holds two patents and is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has been the secretary general of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering since 2000, is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of American and was named a distinguished noise control engineer by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering in 2003.

Among his civic duties, Bernhard has served on the St. Thomas Aquinas Pastoral Council in West Lafayette, Ind., for four years and was president in 2006. He was a Little League baseball coach for 13 years.

Bernhard and his wife, Debbie, are the parents of four children ages 25 to 16.