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A Survey Of Awards Given By The National Science Foundation For Projects In Multidisciplinary Engineering (1998 2004)

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Improving Multidisciplinary Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.98.1 - 10.98.8



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Paper Authors

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Joan Gosink

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Catherine Skokan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Survey of Awards Given by the National Science Foundation for Projects in Multidisciplinary Engineering (1998-2004) Joan Gosink Catherine Skokan Engineering Division Colorado School of Mines

Abstract During the past six years the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded 528 grants for projects with multidisciplinary themes. Although most of the engineering-related grants deal with one or several of four themes: emerging engineering concepts, engineering science, basic engineering, and humanities/business/engineering combinations, rich information provided through the NSF data base provides opportunities for additional analyses. This paper classifies the 528 grants in terms of NSF program, collaborative partners, annual trends, geographic location, and funding level. The paper concludes with a review of successful strategies for grant-writing for multidisciplinary engineering projects.


There have been numerous articles emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research to address emerging areas in science and engineering,1, 2 to enhance the relevancy of undergraduate engineering education,3, 5 and to utilize new technologies in innovative applications.4 Specific topics, including bioengineering, engineering systems, and environmental engineering are often said to be inherently interdisciplinary. Nevertheless, there is a perception among some researchers that proposals described as interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary are at risk during the review process, and tend to fair less well in comparison with traditional disciplinary research proposals. This article represents a preliminary review of projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that are self-described as multidisciplinary with a particular emphasis on engineering projects. Data taken from the NSF Fast Lane website provide a source of information on these projects.


The NSF Fast Lane website6 provides access to a wealth of information regarding funded projects. We used the search function at this site to identify ongoing projects related to “multidisciplinary” themes in the abstract, and downloaded spreadsheets summarizing this information. Clearly, other multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary projects, not identified as such in the abstract, may have been funded, but we assumed that the use of these terms in the abstract indicated an important area of emphasis. Our search was constrained to the years 1997-2004.

The spreadsheet data contains 25 columns: award number, project title, NSF organization, NSF program, start date, Principal Investigator (PI), U.S. State, university or organization, award type (standard or continuing), NSF Program Manager, expiration date, expected funding level, Co-PI, PI e-mail, five columns containing identifying information about the university or organization,

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Gosink, J., & Skokan, C. (2005, June), A Survey Of Awards Given By The National Science Foundation For Projects In Multidisciplinary Engineering (1998 2004) Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15502

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