Research in Engineering Education
National Science Foundation
Full Proposal Window: January 17, 2011-February 11, 2011
The Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) seeks to enable a world-leading system of engineering education,
equally open and available to all members of society, that dynamically and rapidly adapts to meet the changing
needs of society and the nation's economy. Research areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
Increasing our understanding of how engineering students learn and the capacity that supports such discovery.
research is encouraged on how engineering is learned, including engineering epistemologies and identities;
and how to evaluate or operationalize aspects of engineering thinking, doing, and knowing.
Understanding how to increase the diffusion and impact of engineering education research. Research projects are
sought that discover how to improve the process by which engineering education research is translated into practice;
how to accomplish organizational and cultural change in institutions of engineering education that leads to improved
learning outcomes; or identifying and overcoming barriers to widespread adoption of engineering education research.
Research projects that partner with other engineering education stakeholders (e.g. private companies, NGOs, or professional
societies) to measure the value and impact of engineering education research on practice are also sought.
Understanding engineering education in broader, organizing frameworks such as innovation, globalization, complex
engineered systems, or sustainability. Research in this theme explores learning from perspectives and contexts that cut
across disciplines and in which learners integrate expertise from multiple fields. Research projects that align with this
theme include discovering processes to effectively teach engineering students to succeed in such environments or ecosystems;
discovering key concepts and principles of educating engineers within such frameworks; or exploring factors
such as teamwork, communication, or identity formation in such environments.
Diversifying pathways to and through engineering degree programs. Research projects that align with this theme explore
how engineering programs can engage and develop students with a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and
experiences; investigate how real world experiences germane to engineering--such as military service or being a maker;-
-impact, improve, or accelerate learning; or investigate how to fundamentally restructure courses, curricula, or programs
to substantially boost student success, especially for under-represented populations. This program discourages
proposals that seek to simply implement and/or evaluate pedagogical innovations that have been previously shown to
be effective for engineering students; such projects may be considered in the TUES program of DUE.
An ideal engineering education research project addresses the iterative cycle in which research questions that advance
understanding are informed by practice and the results of research are, in turn, translated into practice. In discussing
how the planned work advances understanding, competitive proposals will ground the proposed work both in a theoretical
framework and relevant prior work, describe how the research advances knowledge of how engineering students
learn, and discuss how the research results are broadly generalizable and transferable. In discussing how research can
be translated to practice, competitive proposals take the point of view of a potential user of the educational innovation,
describing how the research results can affect the practice or process of educating engineers, improve the infrastructure
for engineering education, or build networks and capacity for engineering education research for example.
Competitive proposals also contain a strong evaluation plan to inform the research effort and allow assessment of the
project's impact and effectiveness. The resources requested should accurately reflect the proposed effort. Most projects
will be funded at approximately $100,000 per year. Projects which anticipate other funding levels should discuss the
proposed project with a cognizant program officer before submission. Proposals may be submitted by individuals or by
multi-disciplinary teams. Because competitive proposals emphasize generalizable research that impacts engineering
degree programs, teams which do not contain engineering faculty should contact a program officer before submission.
Other considerations for proposals submitted to engineering education are outlined below: The duration of Faculty
Early Career Development (CAREER) Program awards is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER
proposals is in July every year. Proposals for Conferences and Workshops should be submitted in the two proposal windows.
Supplements to existing awards may be submitted at any time, but must be discussed with the program director
before submission. Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research
(EAGER) must be discussed with the program director before submission. Further details are available in the PAPPG
download, available below. Please refer to the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), when you
prepare your proposal.
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