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Steven H. McKnight

Vice President, Strategic Research Alliances
Steven H. McKnight portrait.
900 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22203


Steve McKnight serves as the vice president for the Strategic Research Alliances office, facilitating university-wide collaborations and engagement with faculty and staff throughout the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, and with colleges and units across the institution to advance strategic alliances and partnerships.


Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2014, McKnight served as director of the civil, mechanical, and manufacturing innovation division within the directorate for engineering at the National Science Foundation (NSF), a position he held since 2009. McKnight continued the division’s support of fundamental research activities, promoted greater emphasis on interdisciplinary and collaborative research endeavors, and ensured the division’s participation in cross-foundational initiatives and interagency partnerships. McKnight represented NSF on several Office of Science and Technology Policy committees, subcommittees, and interagency working groups. He also led efforts in advanced manufacturing and played a key role in the administration’s advanced manufacturing initiatives and partnership efforts.

Before joining NSF, McKnight served in a number of leadership programs at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. He led the materials division, directing a comprehensive advanced materials and manufacturing intramural research program in collaboration with academic and industrial partners. He was instrumental to establishing the Army's nanotechnology research program and twice co-chaired the Army's Nanotechnology Integrated Product team.

McKnight’s research focuses on advanced polymer composite materials and polymer adhesion science, including innovative composites manufacturing techniques. He has advised graduate and post-graduate researchers at the University of Delaware Center for composite materials, where he holds a visiting scientist appointment. He has twice won Army R&D Achievement awards and the Paul A. Siple Memorial Award for outstanding research presented at the U.S. Army Science Conference. 


McKnight earned a bachelor of science in materials engineering from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Delaware. In 2009 he was recognized by the University of Delaware with the College of Engineering Outstanding Alumni Award.