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IUSE/Professional Formation of Engineers: Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (IUSE/PFE: RED)

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NSF 24-564

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports fundamental changes to the training of undergraduate engineering students that equip them with the technical and professional skills needed to solve complex societal problems.

Supports fundamental changes to the training of undergraduate engineering students that equip them with the technical and professional skills needed to solve complex societal problems.


Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (hereinafter referred to as RED) is designed to build upon previous efforts in engineering education research. Specifically, previous and ongoing evaluations of the NSF Engineering Education and Centers Division program and its predecessors, as well as those related programs in the Directorate for STEM Education, have shown that prior investments have significantly improved the first year of engineering students’ experiences, incorporating engineering material, active learning approaches, design instruction, and a broad introduction to professional skills and a sense of professional practice – giving students an idea of what it means to become an engineer. Similarly, the senior year has seen notable change through capstone design experiences, which ask students to synthesize the technical knowledge, skills, and abilities they have gained with professional capacities, using reflective judgment to make decisions and communicate these effectively. However, this ideal of the senior year has not yet been fully realized, because many of the competencies required in capstone design, or required of professional engineers, are only partially introduced in the first year and not carried forward with significant emphasis through the sophomore and junior years.

The Directorates for Engineering (ENG) and STEM Education (EDU) are funding projects as part of the RED program, in alignment with the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) framework and Professional Formation of Engineers (PFE) initiative. These projects are designing revolutionary new approaches to engineering education, ranging from changing the canon of engineering to fundamentally altering the way courses are structured to creating new departmental structures and educational collaborations with industry. A common thread across these projects is a focus on organizational and cultural change within the departments, involving students, faculty, staff, and industry in rethinking what it means to provide an engineering program.

In order to continue to catalyze revolutionary approaches, while expanding the reach of those that have proved efficacious in particular contexts, the RED program supports four tracks: RED Planning (Track 1), RED Adaptation and Implementation (Track 2), RED Innovation (Track 3), and RED Innovation Partnerships (Track 4). Two- and four-year institutions are encouraged to submit to any track as appropriate for their goals and context.

RED Planning (Track 1) projects will support capacity-building activities at institutions of special interest to NSF’s mission, specifically two-year engineering-centered programs building transfer partnerships, two-year or four-year institutions in EPSCoR jurisdictions, Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) seeking to level the number of degrees across of the full spectrum of diverse talent in engineering. Planning projects should provide the support for such institutions to explore the development of a RED Projects in Tracks 2, 3, & 4.

RED Adaptation and Implementation (Track 2) projects will adapt and implement evidence-based organizational change strategies and actions to the local context, which helps propagate this transformation of undergraduate engineering education.

RED Innovation (Track 3) projects will develop new, revolutionary approaches and change strategies that enable the transformation of undergraduate engineering education.

RED Innovation Partnerships (Track 4) projects will achieve the same goals as Track 3 projects across multiple institutions. Of particular interest to this track are projects partnering two-year institutions with other eligible institutions.

Projects in tracks 2, 3, & 4 will include consideration of the cultural, organizational, structural, and pedagogical changes needed to transform one or more departments to ones in which students are engaged, develop their technical and professional skills, and establish identities as professional engineers or technologists. The focus of projects in these tracks should be on the department’s disciplinary courses and program. RED project initiatives are expected to be institutionalized at the end of the funding period.

Proposals are especially encouraged that address areas of increased national interest including but not limited to advanced manufacturing, advanced wireless, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, microelectronics and semiconductors, net zero technologies, sustainability, systems engineering, and quantum engineering.

Updates and announcements

Program contacts

Matthew A. Verleger
mverlege@nsf.gov (703) 292-2961 ENG/EEC
Christine Delahanty
cdelahan@nsf.gov (703) 292-8492 EDU/DUE

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