3 Jul 2018 Washinghton - The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $150 million in 307 early career engineering and computer science faculty to advance fields from intelligent infrastructure and collaborative robots to secure communications and brain-related technologies. Over the next five years, each researcher will receive up to USD500.000 from NSF to build a firm scientific footing for solving challenges and scaling new heights for the nation, as well as serve as academic role models in research and education.
"NSF is committed to helping academic scientists and engineers launch careers of discovery and leadership," said Dawn Tilbury, head of NSF's Engineering (ENG) directorate. "With NSF CAREER awards, junior STEM faculty have the opportunity to tackle important and unique research challenges and to make our country's future healthier, safer and more prosperous."
The NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program, which extends across all the agency's science and engineering directorates, allows promising junior faculty to pursue cutting-edge research while simultaneously advancing excellence in education.
This year's awardees in engineering and computer science hail from 120 institutions across 43 states. In addition, more than 18 percent of awards are to grantees in jurisdictions eligible for Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which helps traditionally underserved areas enhance their research competitiveness and strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and capacity.
"We're delighted to support this cadre of early career researchers as they embark on long-term research and education activities that will advance the frontiers of our field," said Erwin Gianchandani, acting assistant director for NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate. "These early career faculty will catalyze new breakthroughs in computer and information science and engineering that will transform our nation in the years to come."
More than 20 percent of engineering and computer science CAREER awardees are women and about 8 percent are from underrepresented groups, according to self-reported proposal data. These percentages are higher than those of U.S. engineering and computer science faculty overall.
NSF awarded more than 47 percent of these CAREER awards to first-time principal investigators. The awardees bring a diverse range of scientific and engineering thinking and expertise, essential for creating new knowledge and innovations to address complex problems.