Archives for June 13, 2016

NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program

see National Academy of Engineering Site

The profession of engineering has been, true to its Latin root ingeniare, about invention. For the past one hundred years, about as long as most college of engineering programs have existed, the list of the most important engineering achievements is dominated by devices: planes and spacecraft, cars and agricultural machines, lasers and PET scanners, to name a few from the National Academy of Engineering GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS report.

Almost a decade into the new century, another NAE committee addressed the new engineering grand challenges and came to a much deeper unfolding of invention: Their list includes making solar energy economical, preventing nuclear terror, advancing health informatics, clean water and reverse engineering the human brain. None of them are just devices. Nearly all address complex social issues that require innovative technology and a systems approach to solve but cannot be solved in a vacuum. They will also require engineers to shape public policy, transfer technical innovation to the market place, and to inform and be informed by social science and the humanities. These are challenges to “change the world,” and many of them are inherently global.

By a fortunate coincidence, engineering students of this generation have the “right stuff” to address them. Judging by the survey results of the recent NRC report Engineer of 2020, this generation of students is surely motivated by puzzle solving – but more importantly, by a desire to change the world.

The 14 Grand Challenges


see NSF notice

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Geosciences (GEO), Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS) and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) wish to notify the community of their interest in stimulating collaboration between academic research institutions and industry.

Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) is not a separate program and proposals should not be submitted to this Dear Colleague Letter. An academic scientist or engineer interested in submitting a GOALI-designated proposal to a standing NSF funding opportunity or a GOALI supplemental proposal to an existing NSF-funded award must contact the cognizant NSF program director prior to submission. Special interest is focused on affording opportunities for:

  • Interdisciplinary university-industry teams to conduct collaborative research projects, in which the industry research participant provides critical research expertise, without which the likelihood for success of the project would be diminished;
  • Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students to conduct research and gain experience in an industrial setting; and
  • Industrial scientists and engineers to bring industry’s perspective and integrative skills to academe.

GOALI-designated proposals and supplements should focus on research that addresses shared interests by academic researchers and industrial partners. The research should further scientific and engineering foundations to enable future breakthrough technologies with the potential to address critical industry needs. Industry involvement assures that the research is industrially relevant. Principal Investigators are expected to integrate their research objectives with educational and industrial needs.

Interdisciplinary research and education projects that enable faculty from different academic departments or institutions to interact with one or more industrial partners in virtual industry-university groups or networks are encouraged. Proposals may include the participation of a “third partner” such as a National Laboratory or a non-profit organization. NSF funding can be used for university research/education activities and may support activities of faculty and their students and research associates in the industrial setting. NSF funds may not be used to support the industrial research partner.

Space Technology Research Institutes

see PIVOT notice     $15,000,000

The Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking to invest, via research institutes, in university-led, multidisciplinary basic research and technology development within particular areas of strong interest to NASAand the wider aerospace community. The institutes construct allows for the participation of experts from a wide range of fields and organizations in a single distributed research structure, enabling greater progress and benefit for all involved. Research institutes facilitate a more sustained and coordinated set of research and development efforts than typically arise from separate solicitations and individual research grants. In addition, because the institute maintains this focus for an extended period, more effective and substantial research progress is envisioned for the featured research areas.