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ENE Memo: July 29, 2013

From the Head: 7/29

You say STEM, I say stem.

In the current national debate on the future direction of education, the so-called STEM disciplines, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, are looked upon very favorably. They are seen as the key to meeting the "innovation imperative". While this spotlight on STEM is good news for us in engineering, it is likely viewed quite differently if you are a scholar in the liberal arts. At a time when there is widespread public disquiet about student debt, college affordability and the value of a college degree, we need to make sure we do not arrive at simplistic solutions.

One of the defining characteristics and longstanding strengths of the higher education in the USA has been the pervasive tradition of liberal arts education. Other nations have different education traditions. In England technical pursuits were seen historically as inferior to that of studying the classics. So while the industrial revolution and making things was the economic engine that powered the British Empire, the ruling elite remained aloof from engineering preferring the country life and the dreaming spires of Oxford. In a famous lecture delivered in 1959 at Cambridge University, C.P. Snow drew attention to this deep social and intellectual divide; the so-called "two cultures" - arts and humanities on one hand and the sciences and engineering on the other. He argued that many policy problems and missed opportunities in the UK during and after the second world war stemmed from the fact that the ruling elite were educated in the classics when many decisions in an increasingly complex, technologically dependent world, required decision makers to have at least a basic grasp of science.

In recent weeks, our university has become embroiled in a controversy about views of history and academic freedom. Many faculty, especially those in the liberal arts, are quite concerned about the philosophical foundations of our educational enterprise. In contrast, right now engineering at Purdue is buoyant as we experience unprecedented growth. It would be easy for us to become detached or even smug about our relative good fortune.

On the contrary, we should be viewing the growth in engineering as an opportunity to ensure our students to gain a first-rate, broad-based, technically excellent education. It must prepare them to be reflective, critical thinkers who mediate current technology for social good and are imaginative creators of new technologies. This is essential for the renaissance engineers who will have to practice in an increasingly uncertain and complex world.

Rather than fostering "two cultures", we should stress STEM as a holist, integrative idea. I believe it has two mutually beneficial, interdependent halves.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can enhance the quality of life, produce new sources of national wealth, answer some of the big questions and enable human aspirations. However, this cannot be achieved as an isolated technical activity. The success of engineering depends upon the social sciences, the arts, education and the humanities (the other side of stem) for insights, understandings and underpinning knowledge about people, philosophy, culture, politics, history, ethics, economics and much more. Engineers who are ignorant of such knowledge are surprised and frustrated when their best ideas do not play out in society as they expected.

We should be collaborating with our colleagues across campus to ensure our students receive a well-rounded education and not simply be trained for a utilitarian, economic purpose.

By definition, the School of Engineering Education with one "E" each from STEM and stem operates at the pivot point between these two facets of STEM. Therefore we have a special obligation to catalyze conversations that foster a broader and deeper appreciation of this mutual interdependence. Our annual Interdisciplinary Colloquium in November is an important place where we can do this and thereby serve the Purdue community.


Calendar: 7/29

Fall 2013

  • Aug 13: ENE Faculty Advance
  • Aug 14: BGR lunch
  • Aug 14-16: ENE PhD orientation
  • Aug 19: Classes Begin
  • Sept 28: Homecoming & Family Weekend Celebrating 60 Years of FYE at Purdue
  • Oct 20-22: ABET Site Visit
  • Oct 21-25: Green Week at Purdue (Think! No Impact)
  • Nov 8: Engineering Education Industrial Advisory Council (E2IAC) 
  • Nov 9: ENE Friends at the Football
  • Nov 14: Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium Celebrating 50 Years of Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Education Education at Purdue

Spring 2014

  • Feb 19: ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards Celebrating 45 Years of  Interdisciplinary Engineering Education
  • April 9: ENE Turns 10: Celebrating a Decade of ENE / Open House and Research Exhibition

Summer 2014

  • June 14: ENE Alums & Friends Reception, Indianapolis Interdisciplinary Engineering Education
  • June 15-18: ASEE Conference, Indianapolis Engineering Education Futures

Kudos: 7/29 George Ricco on successfully defending his dissertation this past Friday. He will be hooded in the December graduation ceremony as Dr. Ricco. Corey Schimpf, Marisol Mercado Santiago, Jordana Hoegh, Dina Banerjee, and Alice Pawley on the acceptance of their article "STEM Faculty and Parental Leave: Understanding an Institution's Policy within a National Policy Context through Structuration Theory" in the International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology for publication this August.

Funding Opportunities: 7/29

Selected Funding Opportunities

NSF Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change (P2C2)  The goal of research funded under the interdisciplinary P2C2 solicitation is to utilize key geological, chemical, atmospheric (gas in ice cores), and biological records of climate system variability to provide insights into the mechanisms and rate of change that characterized Earth's past climate variability, the sensitivity of Earth's climate system to changes in forcing, and the response of key components of the Earth system to these changes.  Deadline: October 15

NSF Networking Technology and Systems: Japan-US Network Opportunity (NeTS:JUNO)  The NeTS program supports transformative research on fundamental scientific and technological advances leading to the development of future-generation, high-performance networks and future Internet architectures. Proposals submitted under this solicitation must describe joint research with Japanese counterparts who are requesting funding separately under the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology solicitation in Japan.  Deadline: October 9

NIH Centers of Excellence for Big Data Computing in the Biomedical Sciences (U54)  Under this FOA, Centers of Excellence are sought to conduct research to advance the science and utility of Big Data in the context of biomedical and behavioral research, and to create innovative new approaches, methods, software, tools, and related resources.  The Centers will advance the ability of the biomedical research enterprise to use Big Data by producing tools and resources from early-stage to mature development that will be broadly useful to the research community.  Deadline: November 20

NIH High Priority Behavioral and Social Research Networks (R24)  This FOA provides infrastructure support for advancing development of specific emerging and high priority interdisciplinary areas of behavioral and social research of relevance to aging. The infrastructure support will facilitate research networks through meetings, conferences, small scale pilots, training, and dissemination to encourage growth and development of specified priority areas and of resources for the field at large. Deadline: September 22

NIH Collaborative Research Infrastructure to Develop Research Strategies to Identify Potential Therapeutic Targets Based on Genetic Factors Influencing Human Life Span and Health Span (U24)  This FOA solicits applications for support of a collaborative research infrastructure that includes a team of multidisciplinary scientists who plan translational research strategies to identify potential therapeutic targets based on findings of genetic factors influencing human lifespan and health span. Crucial types of expertise for the multidisciplinary team should include genetics, epidemiology, physiology, gerontology, cell biology, biotechnology, statistics, and bioinformatics. Deadline: November 4

NIH Blood Pressure Measurement Technologies for Low-Resource Settings in the U.S. and India (U01)  The purpose of this FOA is to encourage research leading to the development of new blood pressure measurement technologies for rapid, minimally intrusive, flexible monitoring and management of hypertension in underserved populations.  The goal of this FOA is the improvement of hypertension diagnosis and management through the presence of more accessible and affordable means of measuring hypertension.  Deadline: September 30

NIH-NIMHD Social, Behavioral, Health Services, and Policy Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01)  The purpose of this FOA is to solicit innovative social, behavioral, health services, and policy research that can directly and demonstrably contribute to the elimination of health disparities. Projects that examine understudied health conditions; examine the effectiveness of interventions, services, or policies for multiple health disparity populations; and/or directly measure the impact of project activities on levels of health disparities are particularly encouraged.  Deadline: November 19

DOE Early Career Research Program  The Office of Science of the Department of Energy hereby invites grant applications for support under the Early Career Research Program in the following program areas: Advanced Scientific Computing Research; Biological and Environmental Research; Basic Energy Sciences; Fusion Energy Sciences; High Energy Physics; and Nuclear Physics. Pre-applications due September 5; Invited proposals due November 19

DOE ARPA-E Full Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS)  The overarching objective of the FOCUS Program is to create disruptive new solar energy conversion and storage technology options that enable far higher penetration of solar energy into the U.S. energy system than could be expected using only today’s PV, CSP and electrical storage options. Successful FOCUS projects will reduce energy-related emissions, decrease U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources, and provide U.S. leadership in advanced solar energy technology.  Concept papers due August 22.  Full proposals to be invited.

DOD Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) DURIP is designed to improve the capabilities of U.S. institutions of higher education to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense, by providing funds for the acquisition of research equipment, particularly in areas of research supported by the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. A DURIP award will provide between $50,000 and $1,500,000 of DoD funding for the acquisition of instrumentation.   Deadline: October 20

DOD-AFRL Optimized Integrated Multidisciplinary Systems (OPTIMUS)  The OPTIMUS program will mature the Multi-Disciplinary Optimization (MDO) conceptual design space for high speed aircraft such as next generation air dominance aircraft.  The desired outcome is enhanced MDO methods that look at key coupled aircraft systems (e.g.; but not limited to, power, thermal, propulsion, & primary actuation “systems”) earlier in the design process and define what fidelity is needed at various milestones in the process. White papers due September 5. Full proposals to be invited.

NASA Heliophysics Grand Challenges Research  The goals of this program are specifically designed to support investigations of complex problems that fall within the general realm of Heliophysics and whose full resolution has remained elusive.  Investigations are carried out in support of the NASA strategic goal to “Understand the Sun and its interactions with the Earth and the Solar System” and the NASA specific research objective to “Understand the fundamental physical processes of the space environment from the Sun to Earth, to other planets, and beyond to the interstellar medium.”  Step-1 Proposals due August 15.  Invited Step-2 Proposals due October 11

NASA Atmospheric Composition: Aura Science Team This solicitation seeks proposals for the analysis of satellite remote-sensing data of the Earth’s atmosphere, particularly those using data generated by the Earth Observing System Aura satellite or from other sensors within the “A-Train” or AM constellations or satellites from other space agencies. These proposals should enable NASA research in the area of stratospheric and tropospheric chemistry, as well as improve the measurements of aerosols and trace gases, and determining the impacts of trace gasses and aerosols on climate and air quality.  Deadline: September 6

USDA-NIFA Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP) This funding opportunity will support undergraduate and D.V.M. scholarship programs to meet national and international needs for training food and agricultural scientists and professionals, or professionals in rural economic, community, and business development.  Deadline: August 30

Dept. of Ed Disability & Rehabilitation Research – Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers: Community Living Program  The RRTC will engage in research, statistical analyses and modeling, knowledge translation, development of informational products, and dissemination to contribute to increased access to, and improved quality of, long term services and supports (LTSS) for individuals with disabilities of all ages. Deadline: October 3

EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2013 RFA  Applications are requested for projects within the following four categories: Reducing exposure to toxic substances from fish consumption; Invasive species prevention and control; Lake Erie Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative; and Facilitation of Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP) stakeholder forums.  Deadline: August 14

American Diabetes Association and Lilly Clinical Research Award: Diabetes Care in Older Adults This program is requesting applications for original and innovative Translational and Clinical Research proposals focusing on improving the evidence base and understanding of the goals, barriers, and effects of treatments and interventions (beneficial and adverse) in the older adult population with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  Deadline: September 16

Brady Education Foundation  The foundation seeks to close the achievement gap by increasing the school readiness of children at risk for poor school outcomes due to environmental factors associated with living in poverty. The foundation pursues its mission by promoting collaboration between researchers and educators via the funding of research and program evaluations in early education. Stage 1 application due August 15; Invited State 2 applications due December 15

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation ‘A’ Award Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation works directly with physicians and scientists to identify the specific challenges faced in bringing new treatments to children with cancer.   The ‘A’ Award is a three-year grant designed for the early career scientist who wants to establish their career in pediatric oncology research. The ideal applicant has an original project that is not currently being funded.  Deadline: September 16

Limited Submissions:

Letters of intent, preproposals, and rankings to the OVPR should be e-mailed to Purdue's open limited submission competitions, limited submission policy, and template for letters of intent may be found at For any case in which the number of internal letters of intent received is no more than the number of proposals allowed by the sponsor, the OVPR will notify the PI that an internal preproposal will be unnecessary.

Limited Submission: Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (OSI)  The OSI enables U.S. colleges and universities and Indian counterpart institutions to pursue objectives cooperatively through exchange visits of faculty, administrators, post graduate Indian students, and U.S. graduate students who can demonstrate the ability to work independently. Project objectives may include the development or revision of courses, curricula, and programs of study at participating institutions to support mutual understanding, educational reform, economic development, or civil society. Particular areas of interest include Indian junior faculty development programs and the engagement of U.S. community colleges with Indian vocational and technical educational institutions. Only one proposal is allowed per lead institution.

  • Internal deadline:  Contact by Wednesday, July 31
  • Sponsor deadline:  November 1

Limited Submission: Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards for Medical Scientists These awards are for physician-scientists to bridge advanced postdoctoral/fellowship training and the early years of faculty service. Proposals must be in the area of basic biomedical, disease-oriented, or translational research. Candidates must hold an M.D., D.D.S., or D.V.M. degree.  An Eligibility quiz is available online to see if potential applicants are eligible.  Purdue may nominate five faculty members. 

  • Internal Deadline: Contact by August 5
  • Sponsor Deadline: October 1

Limited Submission: NIH Diabetes Research Centers (P30)  Diabetes Research Centers are designed to support and enhance the national research effort in diabetes, its complications, and related endocrine and metabolic diseases.  Diabetes Research Centers support three primary research-related activities:  Research Core services, a Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) program, and an Enrichment program.  All activities pursued by Diabetes Research Centers are designed to enhance the efficiency, productivity, effectiveness and multidisciplinary nature of research in Diabetes Research Center topic areas.  For this opportunity, Purdue may submit only one application.

Internal deadline:  Contact by November 25

Sponsor deadline:  June 17, 2014

Funding Resources:

The OVPR website includes a link entitled Funding Resources. This link includes sections containing Internal and External Funding Resources.  Additionally, there is a link for Search Tools and Alerts.    Those who would like assistance in setting up their Pivot E-mail funding alerts may want to take advantage of our tutorial, which may be found on the Search Tools and Alerts link.

The newest issues of Research Development and Grantwriting News are available at:

Another resource for corporate and foundation funding opportunities is the University Development Office.  UDO lists funding opportunities here.


USAID, AusAID, and World Vision anticipate launching a second competitive funding round for the All Children Reading Grand Challenge for Development in Fall 2013 which will focus on innovative uses of technology to advance the impact, scale and/or sustainability of early grade reading programs.

NSF Informal Guide from OCE Program Officers concerning the CAREER Program

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