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ENE Memo: August 1, 2016

From the Head: 08/01/2016

A Curious and Creative Community

This is the second of three essays reflecting on the past, present and future of the School of Engineering Education as I prepare to complete my tour of duty as head. The first essay explored the idea of us as a courageous and compassionate community. This one adopts the frame of a curious and creative community.

In my talk to incoming graduate students at their orientation, I encourage them to demonstrate the following attributes.

  • a strong sense of adventure.
  • curiosity and an inquiring mind;
  • build arguments based on evidence;
  • initiative, resourcefulness, persistence;
  • tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity;
  • taking personal responsibility;
  • holding yourself and others accountable;
  • being more comfortable with questions than answers;
This list has evolved over the years based on what I have observed it takes to be successful in this community. At its core is the idea of being an independent spirit, within the interdependence of a supportive community, and the courage to pursue novel ideas and unconventional lines of inquiry. It is about being curious and creative.

In the words of Tom and David Kelly, this requires Creative Confidence. The Kelly brothers founded IDEO (pronounced “eye-dee-oh”) in 1990. This legendry Silicon Valley consultancy takes “a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow”. From the outset we used elements of the IDEO approach to design thinking in our new first-year engineering courses.

I first met Dave Kelly and interacted with IDEO in 1991/92 when I was on sabbatical at Stanford and have followed the evolution of IDEO over the years and the subsequent emergence of the at Stanford which Dave also founded. In his TED talk, Dave uses simple stories of real people to illustrate the four fears that can limit our creative confidence; fear of the messy unknown, fear of being judged, fear of the first step and fear of losing control. It is a journey from fear to confidence. It is about changing your mindset to embrace ambiguity, exhibit empathy, learn from failure and be optimistic.  

At our best this community is all about eliminating such fears from our students - first-year, interdisciplinary engineering and graduate - freeing them to be curious and creative. Conformity is a powerful, debilitating force that has to be actively resisted. As a transformative community in the midst of a deeply conservative institution and a traditional educational system we need to exhibit incessant curiosity in challenging all assumptions and the received wisdom. We must show uninhibited creativity in developing new thinking and new approaches to tackle persistent problems in education and engineering.

On previous occasions I drew attention to several other authors who in their own way spoke about what it takes to be an imaginative contrarian and swim outside the lines - to be habitually curious and creative. I recommend you revisit Linda Rottenberg’s, Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging when Everyone else is Zagging and Tim Leberecht’s, The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself.

Being doggedly curious and confidently creative is the magic sauce that can set us apart and ensure our sustained success.


Kudos: 08/01/2016

… to Phil Wankat on receiving the 2016 Warren K. Lewis Award for Chemical Engineering Education from American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Board of Directors. The award is sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and it will be presented to Phil at the Institute’s Honors Ceremony, to be at the AIChE’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California in November.

... to Aditya Johri, Mihaela Vorvoreanu and Krishna Madhavan on curating a Special Issue on Data Sharing in Engineering Education, in Advances in Engineering Education, 5(2), Spring 2016.

The following papers featuring authors from ENE appear in this Special Issue.

.. to Shawn Jordan and Robin Adams on the publication of their paper titled, Perceptions of success in virtual cross-disciplinary design teams in large multinational corporations, in CoDesign, 12 (3), pp185-203.

Calendar: 08/01/2016

Please mark your calendars as appropriate

Summer 2016

  • July 6-Aug 5: MEP-MITE Academic Bootcamp, 8-5pm, ARMS BO98 
  • July 11-Aug 12: Early Start Engineering program
  • Aug 8: Elementary Teacher Workshop, 1:30-4:30pm, Wang Hall 
  • Aug 11-13:  3rd P-12 Engineering and Design Education Research Summit, Chicago
  • Aug 14: End-of-Summer Potluck, 5-8pm, Happy Hollow Park

Fall 2016

  • Aug 15: Faculty return.  
  • Aug 17: ENE Advance, 10:00am-4:00pm, WANG 3501
  • Aug 18: Orientation for New ENE Grad Students, 8:30am-5pm, WANG 3501  
  • Aug 19: University / Grad School Orientation for all grad students (TBD) 
  • Aug 22: Classes begin
  • Aug 25: ENE Research Seminar ARMS BO71 3:30pm (Weekly) 
  • Aug 31: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-10:30am, WANG 3501
  • Aug 31: Assistant Professors meet with Head, 10:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 2: Book Launch: A Pictorial History of the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, 2:30-3:30pm, Wang Hall 3500 Research Commons
  • Sept 5: Labor Day
  • Sept 7: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 14: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 24: Family Day
  • Sept: 25/26: Big Ten + Grad Expo
  • Sept 28: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-10:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 28: Associate Professors meet with Head, 10:30-11:20, WANG 3501
  • Oct 12/13: Fall Break
  • Oct 14: ENE Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30am, TBD
  • Oct 15: Homecoming
  • Oct 20/21: ENE Grad Program Open House
  • Oct 26: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20am, WANG 3501
  • Nov 2: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:20, WANG 3501
  • Nov 10: ENE Interdisciplinary Colloquium, 3:30-5:00pm, ARMS Atrium
  • Nov 11: ENE Industrial Advisory Council, 8:00am-3pm, WANG 3501
  • Nov 16: Faculty-PhD Student Matching, 9:30-11:20, WANG 3501
  • Nov 23-25: Thanksgiving
  • Nov 30: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20am, WANG 3501
  • Dec 10: Classes End
  • Dec 18: Commencement

News and Information: 08/01/2016

Funding Opportunities: 08/01/2016

Selected Funding Opportunities:

NSF Dear Colleague Letter – Collaborative Supplemental Funding Opportunity in Graphene and 2D Layered Materials and Devices under the U.S. NSF/ENG-US-EC International Opportunity The Directorate for Engineering (ENG) of the NSF is pleased to announce a US-EU collaborative research opportunity. The goal is to enable research synergy through international collaboration and reduce some of the current barriers to working internationally. NSF/ENG encourages U.S. researchers to submit requests for supplemental funding to existing grants to support collaborative research in Graphene and 2D Layered Materials and Devices.

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: NSF Support for DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) Participants Through this DCL, NSF's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) encourages academic researchers to participate in SC2, and announces its intention to support those researchers to pursue novel strategies in spectrum collaboration as part of SC2. NSF support is restricted to those researchers who are SC2 participants but are not being funded by DARPA for SC2 specifically. NSF intends to accept proposals from academic researchers actively engaged in SC2 in one of two ways: (i) supplemental funding requests to existing NeTS/EARS awards on wireless spectrum research; or (ii) EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER).

NIH Revolutionizing Innovative, Visionary Environmental health Research (RIVER) (R35) The RIVER program seeks to provide support for the majority of the independent research program for outstanding investigators in the Environmental Health Sciences, giving them intellectual and administrative freedom, as well as sustained support to pursue their research in novel directions in order to achieve greater impacts.  The program seeks to identify individuals, regardless of career stage, with a track record of innovative and impactful research and combine their existing investigator-initiated research into a single seven year award with direct costs of up to $750,000 based on current NIEHS funding. Deadline: October 24

HHS-FDA Scientific Conference Grant Program (R13) The purpose of this program is to facilitate the provision of federal financial assistance in support of small conferences and scientific meetings clearly aligned with the FDA mission. A small conference or scientific meeting is defined as a symposium, seminar, workshop, or any formal meeting, whether conducted face-to-face or virtually to exchange information and explore a defined subject, issue, or area of concern impacting the public's health within the scope of the FDA's mission. Deadline: October 12

DOD-ARL Collaborative Research for Enhanced Academic-TTCP Engagement (CREATE) The CREATE Program aims to develop a coherent fundamental research program across the five TTCP nations (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand) that demonstrates enhanced mutual reliance by leveraging unique research capabilities in the five international partner nations through collaboration. Proposals are sought for research into novel fusion methods to improve situation awareness. These methods must be able to fuse data sourced from physics-based sensors with human-based sources of information. ARL announces this funding opportunity for fundamental research to be conducted by institutions of higher education within the U.S.  The output of the project must be original and novel TRL 1-3 research. Deadline: September 15

DOD-AFOSR Air Force Defense Research Conference and Workshop Support AFOSR provides partial support for conferences and workshops in special areas of science that bring experts together to discuss recent research or educational findings, or to expose other researchers or advanced graduate students to new research and educational techniques in AFOSR areas of research interest. Proposals must be submitted at least six months prior to the conference or workshop start date to be considered. This announcement remains open until superseded or closed.

DOD-USAFA Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC)  The United States Air Force’s Institute for National Security Studies, in partnership with PASCC, performs a range of research to investigate topics of interest to the security studies community. Investigations and research will focus on expanding knowledge related to countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and weapons of mass effect (WME). The program solicits innovative proposals for research on WMD/WME counterproliferation, nonproliferation, and strategy. White paper due September 9; proposals due upon request.

NIST Disaster Resilience (DR) Research Grants Program This program seeks applications to conduct research aimed at advancing the principles of resilience in building design and building codes and standards. Research proposals must support the overall effort of developing science-based building codes by evaluating potential technologies and architectural design criteria to improve disaster resilience in the built environment.  Deadline: September 23

DOE-NETL Unsolicited Proposals The DOE encourages the submission of unsolicited proposals that will contribute to its mission objectives. DOE considers proposals in all areas of energy and energy-related research and development with emphasis on long-term, high-risk, high-payoff technologies.

USDA-NIFA Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP) The purpose of the MSP is to provide scholarships to support recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring, and training committed, eligible multicultural scholars, resulting in either baccalaureate degrees within the food and agricultural sciences disciplines or the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree. The scholarships are intended to encourage outstanding students from groups that are historically underrepresented and underserved to pursue and complete baccalaureate degrees in the Food, Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences, or achieve a D.V.M., that would lead to a diverse and highly skilled work forceApplicants should propose training projects at the undergraduate and/or D.V.M. levels in the following areas of interest: (1) Veterinary Medicine, (2) Agricultural Sciences and Engineering, (3) Natural Resource Sciences Training, (4) Human Sciences Training, (5) Food Science and Human Nutrition Training, (6) Agrosecurity Science Training, and (7) Agricultural Education. Deadline: September 22

Limited Submissions:

Preproposals and rankings to the EVPRP should be e-mailed to Purdue’s open limited submission competitions, limited submission policy, and templates for preproposals may be found at For any case in which the number of preproposals received is no more than the number of proposals allowed by the sponsor, the EVPRP will notify the PI(s) that an internal competition will be unnecessary.

Limited Submission:  Indo-US Science and Technology Forum Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center India and the United States launched the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) in 2009 under the MOU to enhance cooperation in energy security, energy efficiency, clean energy and climate change. A priority initiative under PACE was to establish the Joint Center for Energy Research and Development (JCERDC) in November 2010. The JCERDC is designed to promote energy innovation by teams of scientists and engineers from India and the US. In 2015, India and the US expanded the work to include smart grid and grid storage and noted the critical importance of expanding clean energy research, development, manufacturing, and deployment, with increases energy access and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This call is focused on the smart grid and energy storage.  The work of the JCERDC will be conducted by consortia of Indian and US researchers with the knowledge and experience to undertake first-rate collaborative research programs. These consortia may consist of entities or individuals from academia, the private sector, non-governmental institutions, national laboratories and others as applicable. Each consortium will need to establish an internal governance structure, which should be clearly described in the application along with a proposed approach for protection and allocation of intellectual property that may arise from the collaborative research. Each consortium will be required to match the level of funding awarded by DOE and the Government of India through cost sharing. For this opportunity, Purdue may submit only one application as the prime applicant but may partner on multiple applications as a sub-recipient.

Limited Submission: DOD-Army Robots in Manufacturing Environments Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RIME-MII) This FOA solicits proposals to initiate and sustain the RIME-MII as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) program.  To be successful, this RIME-MII must bring together, engineering, computer science, materials science and human-machine behavioral research and manufacturing expertise from industrial businesses, universities and other research organizations, along with federal, state and local governments.  Innovative multi-disciplinary approaches to manufacturing technologies specific to robotic capability gaps and challenges can enable enhanced performance and affordability of future robot platforms. The ultimate goal is to establish an industrial commons and lasting collaboration that will serve to mature robotics-related technologies across the range of manufacturing readiness levels (MRL) 4-7, meeting key defense needs and enhancing U.S. manufacturing competitiveness well into the future. The government requires at least a 1:1 recipient cost share. For this opportunity, Purdue may submit only one application. 

  • Internal Deadline: Contact by Monday, August 1.
  • Sponsor Deadline:   Concept paper due September 1; Full proposal due upon request.

Anticipated Funding Opportunities:

These solicitations are anticipated to be released soon based on the timing of previous solicitations for the program or notices of intent to publish. We are posting this information to help with proposal planning efforts but please keep in mind that the release dates and/or scope of a solicitation can change from year-to-year so be sure to read the solicitation carefully once it is released.

As always, we appreciate your sharing this information with your faculty. Please contact Sue Grimes (, Kristyn Jewell (, or Perry Kirkham ( with any questions or comments.

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact Teresa Walker or David Radcliffe by midday Friday for the following week's issue.