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Grace Bochenek, Director, School of Modeling, Simulation and Training, College of Graduate Studies

Amount Awarded

Funding: $1 million recurring; $2.5 million non-recurring

Matching Funds

Matching: $1 million recurring; $3.1 million non-recurring

Colleges Represented

College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of Sciences, College of Graduate Studies (School of Modeling Simulation and Training)

Project Summary

As the U.S. aspires to become more innovative and competitive economically, modeling and simulation provide an outstanding way to explore and improve concepts before spending money and time to physically build them. Digitally replicating real-world objects or systems – such as the human heart – to help train doctors or aircraft to help train pilots – offers profound benefits for improving our health, safety and quality of life.

Digital twins could be scaled to entail entire cities or large transportation or health care systems with constantly updated data and conditions, allowing designers, builders and architects to test and prove their ideas and concepts before production. Based in the Central Florida Research Park, the heart of Florida’s modeling and simulation hub, a team led by Grace Bochenek, director of the School of Modeling, Simulation and Training, is uniquely positioned to develop a digital twin framework and enabling tools that governments, industry and academia can customize for their needs. Areas of focus will include digital twin applications and tools in behavioral healthcare, smart cities, transportation and defense.

The team includes experts from Engineering and Computer Science, Psychology, Arts and Humanities and strategic community partners. Overall goals include:

  • helping UCF lead the U.S. in developing strategically critical digital twin technology;
  • developing ground rules, protocols, technologies and tools for these new, meta-digital twins;
  • creating a platform with opportunities for large-scale transformative ventures in partnership with industry and government, as well as the ability to attract larger grants and contracts;
  • pursuing the development of multi-disciplinary academic digital twin programs and certificates at the graduate and undergraduate levels to educate the workforce that will be needed in the new digital-twin economy;
  • and optimizing the role of higher education in this emerging innovation landscape to help keep America competitive in key strategic areas of interest.


Carolina Cruz-Neira, Deborah Beidel, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Roger Azevedo, Michael Georgiopoulos, Maggy Tomova, Liz Klonoff