Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: Engineering Information Foundation Grant Programs (Fall 2023)

Applications due June 13

Vanderbilt University may submit up to two proposals (one in each program) to the Engineering Information Foundation Grant Programs. The Engineering Information Foundation aims to improve worldwide engineering education and practice through information technology and the recruitment of women. The foundation’s grant activity supports developmental projects, instructional projects and training programs in engineering education and research with budgets ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 that fit within two broad fields of interest:

1) Enhancing Communication and Use of Information in Engineering

General program scope: Educational and research programs that advance the more effective use of information in engineering and applied science, with special emphasis on learning communication skills. Grants range to a maximum of $25,000. Grants fund only the direct costs incurred in administering the project or program in the proposal.

ABET accreditation standards adopted beginning fall 2001 require that communication skills be included in engineering curricula; the standards are open on how to accomplish this. There are likely many different approaches possible to better include communication skills in engineering curriculum and to ensure that new engineering graduates are skilled at writing, speaking, information seeking and evaluation.

Under this program, EiF intends to fund projects that:

  • Try innovative approaches for including communication skills in the engineering school curriculum in accordance with ABET accreditation standards, and that test and evaluate these approaches so benchmarks of success can be established. We encourage the use of emerging technologies, including AR/VR, to improve student communications skills.
  • Emphasize effective teamwork, not only through shared multidisciplinary skill sets, but through clarity of communication across disciplines.
  • Provide a matrix of instructional programs and materials for training engineering students in the most effective use of engineering information systems, products, finding tools and emerging technologies.
  • Link the expertise of information science and technology with the engineering disciplines and teach information-seeking as a lifelong skill.

See the program page and What We Fund page for more information.

2) Women in Engineering Program

In the past 20 years there have been major changes in girls’ science, math, engineering and technology (SMET) achievement and course taking. There are now minimal differences in girls’ and boys’ “average” science and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. Girls are now taking the upper-level math and science courses needed to enter engineering in about the same numbers as boys, with more than 40 percent of high school physics and calculus students being girls. Yet, while the ability is there, as is the basic academic background needed to continue on in engineering, for a number of individual and societal reasons young women are not continuing on in engineering. Indeed, among students taking the SAT, over three-quarters of those wanting to major in engineering and computer science are boys and the percent of women majoring in engineering hovers around 20 percent. There is an existing knowledge base that can and should be used to address this issue; however, much is left to be learned. While work needs to be done to help more young women to become interested in engineering as a career, work also needs to be done to keep young women in engineering through college and beyond.

It is in this context that the foundation is interested in funding programs in the following areas:

  1. Programs to encourage middle school girls in engineering conducted by engineering educators and others that encourage them to prepare for and undertake careers in engineering. The foundation is particularly interested in new programs or modules, which, if they are found to be effective, will be continued within the applying institution(s). These programs supported by the foundation are expected to test their effectiveness, to examine program impact on participant educational and career plans and on their SMET participation and achievement. Grants should range between $5,000 and $15,000 per year.
  2. Programs designed to improve the retention rate of undergraduate women in engineering. These may cover such diverse areas as classroom, climate, learning behaviors, classroom pedagogies and academic and social support programs. It is expected that the programs will examine their impact on SMET achievement. Grants are expected to range between $5,000 and $25,000 per year.

Grants fund only the direct costs incurred in administering the project or program in the proposal.

See the program page and What We Fund page for more information.

Internal application instructions

Interested faculty should visit to apply for the internal LSO competition and to find additional information about the opportunity. The deadline for the internal competition is June 13, 2022.

Any questions about these opportunities may be directed to