Engineering announces student project grant program

This is to announce a new program that will fund Student Projects that are mentored by faculty and funded by the College Banquet.  Projects will normally be expected to start at the beginning of the fall semester. In 2013 it is expected to allot approximately $40K to the program.  Awards will be made in response to proposals from faculty sponsors in the College, with a maximum of $10K award, but only excellent proposals will be awarded the maximum amount.  The aim will be to make approximately 6 to 8 awards. The program is in addition to the REU Program, also funded by the College Banquet.  So, the Student Project Grant program will not award funds to projects that are better covered by the REU program. As is the case with the REU projects, awardees of the Student Project Grants in the fall semester will be expected to exhibit their projects at the College Banquet in the following spring semester.  Presentation costs must be born by the award.

Most importantly, each proposal must make the case that the student project advances activity in at least one of the College’s strategic themes: Sustainability; IT & Cyber Systems; Infrastructure in Support of the Environment.  The award committee will make every attempt to ensure that at least one award will be made in each category each year, but if suitable project proposals are not forthcoming for a particular theme, an award(s) for this theme would not be made and corresponding funding would be carried over to the subsequent year.

The aim of the Student Project Grant Program is to initiate a set of high profile student projects that continue from year to year and help attract K-12 students to attend UH Mānoa College of Engineering.  Repeated applications for awards can be made to continue an award without limit depending on the success of the project and availability of funds from the College Banquet.

These awards do not replace the funding for student projects sponsored by student organizations that can and should continue to request funds from the office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The intent of the Student Project Grants program is to stimulate new projects that are not traditionally sponsored by the student organizations and help the College interest its students in activities associated with the College’s strategic interests.

The award committee will consist of Bruce Liebert (chair), three College faculty members, one from each department, and two alumni.  Proposals must be no longer than three pages, inclusive of proposed budget.  Proposals are due into the Dean’s Office (Jean Imada) on the third Friday of September each year.  Awards will be made as soon as possible after that date, in time for projects to be funded for the academic year and followings summer.

There are few restrictions on the awards (except that the funds cannot be used for faculty salaries and must consist of normally allowable expenses).  In particular there is no restriction on the awards concerning their intersection with the ongoing curriculum, so that the projects could well contain components that are part of a scheduled engineering course or courses. But it is not the intent of these awards to augment the costs of offering the curriculum and so it needs to be made clear how the award goes beyond the experience offered by the curriculum if there is a significant intersection: e.g. participation in a regional/national/international competition.

A non-exhaustive list of different types of student project that are encouraged through the program include: vertically integrated projects involving K-12, transfers, freshman through senior & grad students; College Summer Intern projects that continue to be offered each year; projects that will support the disciplinary activities within the proposed new freshman course Introduction to Engineering; projects limited to freshman and sophomore students to help bring them closer to the College; and projects that include pre-engineering and community college students to help them enter the College.