Robert Canfield, professor and assistant department head for academic affairs of Virginia Tech's Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, will receive the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Award for 2014.

Canfield will be honored with the award "for pioneering research on design optimization methods leading to structural optimization software, application of MDO to advanced aircraft concepts such as sensorcraft and for leadership in the MDO community," as reads the citation.

With more than 35,000 members, AIAA is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, and its mission is to inspire and advance the future of aerospace for the benefit of humanity.

The biennial award was established in 1993 and presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to the development and/or application of techniques of multidisciplinary design optimization in the context of aerospace engineering.

"I am pleased to see Dr. Canfield recognized by the institute for his work in multidisciplinary design optimization," said Eric Paterson, department head of aerospace and ocean engineering at Virginia Tech. "With the institute's mission in mind, it is indeed a high honor for Dr. Canfield to receive this award from AIAA, recognizing his pioneering research on fundamental technology, its application to real-world problems, and his leadership in the field of aerospace MDO."

Through his research on multidisciplinary design optimization, high altitude long endurance sensorcraft, and micro air vehicle conceptual design, Canfield has brought more than $4 million in research funding to the university.

"Dr. Canfield's pioneering research methods for automated structural optimization contributed to new capabilities for designing more efficient flight vehicles," said Pradeep Raj,  professor of aerospace and ocean engineering. He nominated Canfield for the award.

Prior to joining the Virginia Tech community in 2008, Canfield worked for 24 years in the U.S. Air Force. As director of policy and integration at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, he formulated policy for planning and funding the $300 million per year Air Force basic research program.

He is an active member of his program's structures group, and involved in the Air Force Research Laboratory -Virginia Tech - Wright State University Collaborative Center on Multidisciplinary Sciences.

Among his awards, Canfield has received the 2003-05 AIAA Distinguished Service Award, the 2004 Outstanding Engineers and Scientists Award, the Gage H. Crocker Outstanding Professor Award in 2004, the Dr. Leslie M. Norton Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, AIAA Sustained Service Award in 2007, as well as numerous awards from the Air Force.

Canfield has published 46 journal articles, 102 conference papers, and co-authored a textbook on reliability-based structural design.

He graduated from Duke University with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1983. He earned his master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University in 1984, and his doctoral degree in engineering mechanics at Virginia Tech in 1992.