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Limited Submission Internal Deadline: NSF IUSE/Professional Formation of Engineers: Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (IUSE/PFE: RED)

May 18, 2022 @ 5:00 pm

Limited Submissions: Internal Call for Proposals

NSF IUSE/Professional Formation of Engineers: Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (IUSE/PFE: RED)

UNC Internal Deadline: 11:59PM, Wednesday, May 18, 2022


*Please distribute to relevant faculty*

Key Dates


UNC Internal Deadline: 11:59PM, Wednesday, May 18, 2022

NSF Full Proposal Deadline: July 18, 2022

Important Information


Number of Applications per Institution: An eligible institution may submit a maximum of two proposals (e.g. 2 RED Innovation Track or 1 RED A&I Track and 1 RED Two-year Track).

Award Information

2-3 RED Innovation awards are anticipated; the budget for RED Innovation proposals is between $1,000,00-$2,000,000 for a duration of up to 5 years for a single institution or between $1,500,000-$3,000,000 for up to 5 years for department-level collaborations across multiple institutions. 2 – 3 RED A&I awards are anticipated; the budget for RED A&I proposals has a maximum of $1,000,000 for a duration of up to 5 years. 2-3 RED Two-Year awards are anticipated; the budget for RED Two-Year proposals is between $1,000,000-$2,000,000 for a duration of up to 5 years for collaborations across multiple two-year institutions.

To Apply

Submit the following via LAMSeS by 11:59PM, Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

  1. PI/ Team members NSF-formatted biosketch 
  2. Project Summary + Project Track Confirmation (four-page maximum)
  3. List of potential collaborators (internal and external to UNC) 
  4. Names of three internal (to UNC) experts who could speak knowledgeably about the candidate’s research and who could potentially serve on an internal review panel. 
    • Please do not include the names of faculty named on the project, chairs, deans, directors, direct reports, or others who have a conflict of interest
    • Please notify all potential internal reviewers before submitting the pre-proposal packet to ORD

Program Overview


While previous efforts have made pedagogical changes to the way engineers and engineering technologists are educated, RED projects must consider the cultural, organizational, structural, and pedagogical changes needed to transform the department to one in which students are engaged, develop their technical and professional skills, and establish identities as professional engineers or technologists. In recent years there has been a growing recognition of the need to create and support an innovative and inclusive engineering profession for the 21st Century. Doing so requires understanding of how engineers are formed and how to inculcate them with the technical and professional skills needed to solve the complex problems facing society. While some innovation has been adopted in the freshman and senior years, the middle two years remain largely untouched [4]. Educating the next generation requires that coherent technical and professional threads be developed and woven across all four years. The RED program is focusing on the middle two years because of the lack of attention this period has received in the past. Further, the RED program focuses on structural and cultural change because past attempts have shown that curricular and pedagogical change does not take hold if underlying structures remain the same. In addition, RED funding has demonstrated the need to engage both internal and external stakeholders to build shared vision in departmental change projects [5,6]. RED projects should create a seamless educational experience for students in their disciplinary degree programs, bridging the foundational science and engineering courses and capstone projects. The result will be students who are prepared to be professionals in their chosen paths after graduation. Proposals from IHEs with documented success in awarding degrees to students from groups underrepresented in engineering (such as minority-serving institutions, women’s colleges, IHEs primarily serving persons with disabilities) are strongly encouraged.


Strategies should be developed with impact on the student as the focus. Proposed efforts must be grounded in sound educational theory and work to enable a continuous progression of professional formation through the four-year experience. Efforts should address 21st Century T-shaped skills (i.e., cross-disciplinary breadth), and they should be aligned with stakeholder expectations.



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 professional formation 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; and
  • Exploring revolutionary means of recruiting and retaining students and faculty reflective of the modern and swiftly changing demographics of the United States.
  • Exploring new modes of delivering content (or facilitating learning) that respond to the learning needs of a diverse student body, making engineering more accessible.

RED Innovation track: The RED Innovation track supports projects that involve radically, suddenly, or completely new approaches and action; producing fundamental, structural change; and that go outside of or beyond existing norms and principles. Innovations in similar departments across multiple institutions is particularly encouraged. This track has two goals:

  • Generate new knowledge on best practices for meaningfully and thoughtfully incorporating into the middle two years at four-year institutions and technical core of the engineering curriculum oft-neglected “professional skills” (i.e. 21st Century skills, design, communication, teamwork, historical and contemporary social context, lifelong learning, and ethics). Changes in the middle two years need to be integrated with freshman and senior experiences in order to form an unbroken sequenced thread through the curriculum so that the process of professional formation deepens and strengthens as students move through engineering programs.
  • Generate new knowledge on how to transform the departmental cultures to be environments that are inclusive, innovative, equitable and supportive of faculty, faculty development to support cultural change, and build new department structures and cultures through innovative practices and policies that support significant holistic professional formation.

RED A&I Track: The RED A&I track support projects that use evidence-based and evidence-generating change strategy approaches and actions that are adapted to the local context. The goal of this track is to:

  • Generate new knowledge related to the adaptation of proven change strategies and actions in a new context.

This track encourages proposals from two-year or four-year institutions that are interested in adopting change strategies at a single institution.

RED Two-Year Track: The RED Two-Year track supports projects that involve radically new approaches among multiple two-year institutions that result in structural changes beyond existing norms and principles. The goal of this track is to:

  • Generate new knowledge on best practices for preparing engineers and technologists for future professions and integrating professional skills into the curriculum at two-year institutions through supporting partnerships. The focus is expected to be on students who would transfer to accredited four-year engineering or engineering-technology institutions.



Who May Serve as PI: For all tracks, the Principal Investigator must be a department chair/head (or equivalent) to provide leadership for the change process. For the RED Two-Year Track, the PI must be at a two-year institution. Additionally, there must be a RED team that includes (at a minimum) an expert in engineering education research who can provide guidance on evidence-based practices, and an organizational change expert who can 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. The engineering education and organizational change experts may be at different institutions from the proposing institution. Funding for these experts at other institutions may be supported as consultants, through a subaward, or through a separately submitted collaborative proposal.

Review Criteria

The internal review criteria will mirror the guidelines as described within the program solicitation.

Additional Information

Full solicitation:

Please contact the Limited Submissions Team with questions at




Limited Submissions Team

Office of Research Development

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



May 18, 2022
5:00 pm