NSF Representatives Visit Samueli School

Bevlee WatfordJune 19, 2015 - Two officials from the National Science Foundation visited UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering in May to talk with faculty and graduate student researchers about funding opportunities available through NSF.

Pramod Khargonekar, assistant director for the Directorate of Engineering, spent two days at UCI, meeting not only with engineering faculty but also with academic and administrative leaders campuswide, including those from social ecology, physical sciences, information and computer sciences, graduate education division and Office of Research. Khargonekar toured the Advanced Power and Energy Program lab and met with students involved in the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program.

About 65 people turned out to hear Khargonekar’s perspective on the opportunities and challenges in engineering research and education.  By 2015, Khargonekar said, the planet will house nearly 9 billion people, leading to enormous challenges in food, health, energy, water, security, education and infrastructure. “Each of these issues is at least a $1 trillion-plus problem that will require advances in science and engineering research,” he told the audience.  View lecture.

Bevlee Watford, director of NSF’s Broadening Participation in Engineering Program, also visited the Samueli School. She held a proposal writing workshop for about 45 people and moderated a faculty panel with past NSF CAREER award winners. Watford then delivered a presentation aimed at clearing up the confusion on what is involved in the “broadening impact” merit review criteria for NSF proposals.

“There is the intellectual merit review criterion, which is to advance knowledge, and the broadening impacts criterion, which is to benefit society,” explained Watford. “In addition, NSF has two core strategies; one is to integrate research and education programs and the other is to integrate diversity into programs, projects and activities. …There seems to be overlap, and that’s where the confusion sets in.” Watch video.

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