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EEC's programs complement those in the disciplinary research divisions of the Directorate for Engineering. The Center programs support interdisciplinary research that is of a scale that requires the center mode of research and that is relevant to industry. The Education programs address reform in undergraduate engineering education content and pedagogy, while the Human Resources programs support a variety of mechanisms to provide opportunities for those participating in or providing instruction leading to engineering education.

EEC programs typically overlap two or more program areas. For example, Centers are involved in education, while Education projects include human resources components. Similarly, Human Resources projects can take place at EEC-funded research centers.

Centers Programs

EEC's centers promote partnerships among researchers in different disciplines and between industry and universities. They focus on integrated engineered systems and produce technological innovations that strengthen the competitive position of industry. Their graduates are well-rounded, professionally oriented engineers with a global outlook, experience in technological innovation, and the ability to assume leadership roles in industry, academe, and government.

Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Program

Provides an integrated environment for academe and industry to focus on next-generation advances in complex engineered systems, with synergy among engineering, science, and industrial practices. ERCs A schematic representation of a human head with an intraocular retinal prosthesis. Click on image to zoom in for more information. integrate research and education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and produce curriculum innovations derived from the engineering systems research focus of the ERC. ERCs build partnerships with industry, develop shared infrastructure, and increase the capacity of engineering and science graduates to contribute to U.S. competitiveness.

Information about individual ERCs, accomplishments, and education and human resources programs is available at: http://www.erc-assoc.org/erc_links.htm.

In addition, ERC Program Funds have been used to support the engineering based Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSEC) and the engineering based Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Teams (NIRT).

The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSEC) program address opportunities that are too complex and multi-faceted for individuals or small groups of researchers to tackle on their own. They will bring together researchers with diverse expertise -- in partnership with industry, government laboratories, and/or partners from other sectors -- to address complex, interdisciplinary challenges in nanoscale science and engineering, and will integrate research with education both internally and through a variety of partnership activities.

The Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Teams (NIRT) activity supports small collaborative groups of three or more investigators at the faculty level or equivalent to address research and education themes where a synergistic blend of expertise is needed to make significant contributions.

Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) Program

Develops long-term partnerships among industry, Picture of the National Advanced Driving Simulator for Virtual Proving Ground Simulation for off-road vehicles, such as the tank, armored personnel carrior, pick-up truck, and SUV (included in the photo).  Click on image to zoom in for more information.academe, and government. The centers are university-based and catalyzed by a small investment from NSF but are primarily supported by industry members. I/UCRCs are led by faculty who have a strong desire to work with industry and who want to pursue fundamental research agendas recommended by industrial advisory boards. Center research projects are conducted primarily by graduate students; the program thus develops students who know how to conduct industrially relevant research and communicate their findings effectively.

Additional information about the IUCRC program is available at: http://www.eng.nsf.gov/iucrc/.

Engineering Education Programs

Engineering Education Program

The Engineering Education Program -- an unsolicited program -- has the goal to increase the quantity and quality of U.S. citizens who earn BS degrees in engineering. We welcome unsolicited proposals from faculty with cutting edge new ideas for undergraduate engineering education improvements. Target Dates for submission of proposals to this program are January 9 and July 9 of each year.

Grants for Department-Level Reform of Undergraduate Engineering Education

Supports departmental and larger units to reformulate, streamline, and update engineering and engineering technology degree programs; develop new curriculums for emerging engineering disciplines; and meet the emerging workforce and educational needs of U.S. industry. These efforts should increase the relevance of undergraduate engineering curriculum to modern engineering practice and induce an increased proportion of students who enroll to complete engineering degree programs. The deadline for submitting proposals to this program is March 12 of each year.

Beyond these programs, the Engineering Research Centers conduct a range of engineering education activities (http://www.erc-assoc.org/educate/programs_index.htm).

In addition to EECís own programs -- the Division participates in:

The Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) program has an emphasis on:
1) introductory undergraduate courses presented through the development of text, software, laboratory and demonstration experiments, and web-based resources;
2) development and dissemination of new teaching modules for nanoscale science and engineering that can be used in existing undergraduate courses;
3) incorporation of undergraduate research opportunities based on nanoscale science and engineering into the curriculum at any level, particularly during first and second year studies;

The Centers for Learning and Teaching (CLT) program addresses the need to enrich and diversify the national infrastructure for standards-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The goal is to increase the number of K-12 educators prepared in content, pedagogy, and assessment methodologies.

The Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program addresses a portion of the President's challenge enunciated in No Child Left Behind to strengthen K-12 science and mathematics education.

The Model Institutes for Excellence (MIE) program is a three-phase program. In the first two phases NSF funded four institutions to develop and refine models for increasing graduates from underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The third phase is to provide funding for the institutionalization of these models. This competition is restricted to the NSF-funded MIE institutions Metropolitana Universidad, Oglala Lakota College, University of Texas at El Paso, and Xavier University in New Orleans.

The Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI) has the goal of improving preK-12 student learning and achievement in reading, mathematics, and science by supporting rigorous, interdisciplinary research on large-scale implementations of promising educational practices and technologies in complex and varied learning environments.

The National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Digital Library (NSDL) builds on work supported under the multi-agency Digital Libraries Initiative, this program aims to establish a national digital library that will constitute an online network of learning environments and resources for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels.

The Division seeks to increase the number of people pursuing engineering education and engineering careers and the participation of underrepresented minorities, women, and persons with disabilities at every level of the engineering education and workforce enterprise. To address these goals, EEC manages the Directorate for Engineering’s involvement in the following programs:

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the REU Scholars work on the real-time remotely controlled actuator/robot testbed at the University of Texas/Arlington's Automation & Robotics Research Institute. Click on image to zoom in for more information.areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specially designed for the purpose. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers.

REU Supplements may be included in proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or as supplements to ongoing NSF-funded projects. REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct undergraduate research participation projects for a number of students. REU Sites projects may be based in a single discipline or academic department or be based on interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a strong intellectual focus.

Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)

RET Site Proposals Due October 12, 2004; see NSF 03-554

The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program supports the active involvement of K-12 teachers and community college faculty in engineering research in Picture of Carl Truxel, a teacher at Dulaney High School in Baltimore County Maryland building a Surgical Robotic simulator. Click on image to zoom in for more information. order to bring knowledge of engineering and technological innovation into their classrooms.

RET Supplements may be included in proposals for new or renewal NSF Directorate for Engineering (ENG) grants or as supplements to ongoing NSF/ENG funded projects. RET Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct research participation projects for a number of K-12 teachers and/or community college faculty.

Besides these programs, Engineering Research Centers conduct a range of research activities by undergraduates http://www.erc-assoc.org/educate/reuprogram.htm and K-12 teachers and students http://www.erc-assoc.org/showcase/education/gradelevel/precollege.htm.

In addition, EEC participates in the following human resources programs:

The NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars (DTS) recognizes and rewards individuals who have contributed significantly to the scholarship of their discipline and to the education of students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), and who exemplify the ability to engage productively in both research and education. This award is part of NSF's efforts to promote an academic culture that values a scholarly approach to both research and education.

The Graduate Research Fellowships(GRF) program promotes the strength and diversity of the Nation's scientific and engineering base, and offers recognition and 3 years of support for advanced study to approximately 900 outstanding graduate students annually in all fields of science, mathematics, and engineering supported by NSF.

The Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) Program supports multi-disciplinary training groups. These might include graduate students, undergraduate students, and post-doctoral students as well.

The Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program supports fellowships and associated training that will enable graduate students and advanced undergraduates in the sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology to serve as resources in K-12 schools. Academic institutions apply for awards to support fellowship activities, and are responsible for selecting fellows.

Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)

Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) program that promotes innovation by bringing together colleges and universities, State and local governments, private sector firms, A picture of High school students and teachers participating in the University of Florida's PFI award program. Click on image to zoom in for more information.and nonprofit organizations. These organizations form partnerships that support innovation in their communities by developing the people, tools, and infrastructure needed to connect new scientific discoveries to practical uses.

The goals of the PFI program are to:

  1. Stimulate the transformation of knowledge created by the national research and education enterprise into innovations that create new wealth, build strong local, regional, and national economies, and improve the national well-being;
  2. Broaden the participation of all types of academic institutions and all citizens in NSF activities to more fully meet the broad workforce needs of the national innovation enterprise; and
  3. Catalyze or enhance enabling infrastructure necessary to foster and sustain innovation in the long-term.

More information about PFI can be found at; http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/pfi/about.cfm


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