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Honors and Awards

Dr. Philip Bradford Named 2017-18 University Faculty Scholar

Dr. Philip D. Bradford

By Susan Fandel

Philip D. Bradford, associate professor in the Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science department at NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles has been named a 2017-18 University Faculty Scholar by Chancellor Randy Woodson. He is one of 20 early- and mid-career faculty to be selected, each one dedicated to serving the university community and their respective fields through scholarship, research and engagement.

“Exemplary. Exceptional, high impact researcher. Extraordinary and inspiring educator and mentor. Strong collaborator. Highly collegial. Service-Oriented Excellence. Leader. These are some of the words that describe Dr. Philip Bradford and his work. He is the kind of faculty member and growing leader that NC State University needs,” said David Hinks, dean of the Wilson College of Textiles.

Research and scholarship productivity

Bradford (B.S. Textiles Engineering ’05, M.S. Textiles Engineering ’07, Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering ’10) heads the Bradford Research Group, which focuses on carbon nanotubes and developing textile-like structures from those nanotubes that can be used for novel applications, like making fighter jets stronger, batteries more conductive and air filters more effective.

Since 2011, he has generated more than $3.4 million dollars in research and equipment funding from sources ranging from government agencies to industrial research consortiums to private companies.

“I believe it is rare to find an amazing researcher who can deliver theoretical breakthroughs to sustain funding from governmental sources while also delivering what is needed by companies,” said Jeffrey A. Joines, department head, Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science.

In 2016, Bradford received funding from the Young Investigator Research Program, administered by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He was the first researcher in the Wilson College of Textiles history to receive the award.

His research has resulted in 49 total peer reviewed journal articles with 11 publications in 2017 alone in highly impactful journals in his field. Since 2009, he has delivered more than 19 invited research presentations at conferences. He also has one patent and seven patent disclosures.

“His research, knowledge transfer and innovation are world class and advancing rapidly,” said Hinks.

Excellence in teaching and mentoring

A dedicated educator, Bradford teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; courses have included introduction to engineering, textile composite materials, composite materials processing, fiber science lab and textile engineering science lab. He was named Outstanding Teacher for the Wilson College of Textiles in 2014.

“My favorite part of teaching is watching students grow throughout the semester and through their academic careers. I teach TE105 which is designed as the first Textile Engineering course that aspiring TE students will take freshman year. Many of those students are interested in the idea of textiles but do not know anything about them. By the end of the semester I can sense their excitement about what lies ahead for them in our program,” he said. “The other courses I teach are graduate level courses in textile composite materials, which many seniors take as electives. I am always amazed at the academic transformation that has taken place in the three years since I last saw those students in the classroom!”

In September 2017, he became director of the College’s Textile Engineering undergraduate program. In this capacity he leads the curriculum matters and assessment, recruitment, and outreach.


Bradford entered the Wilson College of Textiles as a Centennial Scholar in 2001 after completing the Summer Textile Exploration Program (STEP) as a rising high school senior. He remains committed to those two activities, serving as a Centennial Schoalrship application reader and interviewer and working with STEP campers as a project leader; about 80 percent of students who participate in his STEP project group attend NC State as freshmen.

“Dr. Bradford has a unique history and career development at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles. This perspective gives him an ability to relate to high school students and their parents in ways that few other faculty members can. As a result, he is exceptional at recruiting and advising students on what NC State has to offer. He not only educates the students on what the Textile Engineering program can offer them, he inspires them,” said Hinks.

Additionally, Bradford volunteers at the Textiles Open House and provides tours of the College and his lab to industrial visitors, government officials and school-age children. He is also very active in the science and engineering community, serving as the president of the NC State Chapter of Sigma Xi and as faculty advisor for the Textile Engineering Society for the last seven years.

About the University Faculty Scholars Program

The University Faculty Scholars program, established by the chancellor in 2012, recognizes and rewards emerging academic leaders at NC StateSo far 126 faculty have received this honor. Faculty members selected as University Faculty Scholars carry the title for the duration of their faculty appointment at NC State and receive an increase to their base salary.

A committee of senior faculty reviews nominations submitted by the colleges. Assistant professors appointed for a second term, all associate professors and professors within the first three years of appointment at that rank may receive nominations. The committee evaluates nominees on their research and scholarship productivity, excellence in teaching and mentoring, and leadership in extension, professional societies and public service initiatives.

Previous winners from the Wilson College of Textiles include:

  • Lisa Chapman, associate professor in Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, 2016-17
  • Ahmed El-Shafei, associate professor inTextile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, 2015-16
  • Renzo Shamey, professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, 2014-15
  • Melissa Pasquinelli, associate professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, 2013-14
  • Xiangwu Zhang, professor of Textile engineering, Chemistry and Science, 2012-13

For more on this year’s class of University Faculty Scholars, click here.