Internal Competition Completed

Principal Investigators Selected
  • Ludwig Nitsche, Chemical Engineering
  • Karl Rockne, Civil & Material Engineering

Program Summary

Program Summary

NSF is launching a multi-year initiative, the Professional Formation of Engineers, to create and support an innovative and inclusive engineering profession for the 21st Century. Professional Formation of Engineers (PFE) refers to the formal and informal processes and value systems by which people become engineers. It also includes the ethical responsibility of practicing engineers to sustain and grow the profession. The goal of Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) is to address the stated challenges and develop well-functioning departments that may overcome them with a focus on student success in their PFE attainment. Specific activities supported by the RED solicitation may include, but are not limited to:

  • Establishing convergent technical and professional threads that must be woven across the four years, especially in core technical courses of the middle two years, in internship opportunities in the private and public sectors, and in research opportunities with faculty;
  • Exploring strategies for institutional, systemic, and cultural change, including new approaches to faculty governance or department structures and to restructuring faculty incentive or reward systems;
  • Exploring collaborative arrangements with industry and other stakeholders who are mutually interested in developing the best possible PFE environment and opportunities for students;
  • Exploring strategies to bridge the engineering education research-to-practice gap, primarily through faculty development and adoption of best practices in the professional formation of engineers;
  • Devising mechanisms to make change sustainable in the department beyond the award period; and
  • Devising mechanisms to make change adaptable to other departments and institutions.

All these, and other, activities must focus on how they impact students of different backgrounds navigating the varied pathways through the undergraduate PFE process.Computer science departments, whether administratively located in or outside an engineering program, are included in RED, as they share the same challenges as traditional engineering departments.

“Engineering departments” in this solicitation will refer to engineering and computer science departments. Because it addresses undergraduate engineering education, the Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) funding opportunity is offered in alignment with the NSF-wide undergraduate STEM education initiative, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE).

Five to ten awards will be made, each in an amount from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 total for a duration of up to 60 months.

Application Limits

Application Limits

UIC is limited to 2 submissions.  The Principal Investigator(s) must be a department chair/head (or equivalent) to establish institutional accountability. Additionally, there must be a RED team that includes (at a minimum) an expert in engineering education or computer science education research, who can ground the research plan in the literature, and a social science expert who can evaluate department dynamics and monitor change processes.  The social scientist must have expertise to advise on strategies for developing a culture of change and on strategies for creating meaningful collective ownership of the effort among faculty, students, and staff.

Additional Information


UIC Letter of Intent
September 12, 2014
UIC Internal Competition
Sponsor Letter of Intent
October 28, 2014
Sponsor Application
November 26, 2014

Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent

Depending upon the number of LOIs submitted, OVCR might be required to facilitate an internal peer review process to select UIC’s submission(s) to this program.  White paper instructions will be posted if necessary.

eLOI Form & Instructions

  1. Download the file directly to your computer or to a disk, right click on the link, then select "save link as" or "save target as" from the dropdown options.
  2. Open eLOI.
  3. Position the hand pointer inside a form field and click.
    • To accept the field change and go to the next field, press Tab or use your mouse to click on the next form field.
    • To accept the field change and go to the previous field, press Shift + Tab or use your mouse to click on the previous form field.
  4. Complete the form fields.
  5. After completing the form, click “Save” then click “Submit to”.

Letter of Intent (LOI): eLOI Form (Fillable PDF*)

*Please note:

  • Fields highlighted in red are required to successfully submit the form.
  • Do not print then submit scanned version of e-LOI via email.

Please contact Tony Halford at or 6-7036 with any questions.

If an authorized principal investigator is not listed above, please consider the limited competition still open. Contact for further information.