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NSF awards ASEE $5.3 million to support underserved postdoctoral researchers

ASEE I-PERF screenshot

Fellows will receive funding to perform research for NSF-funded small businesses.

May 8, 2019

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) a $5.3-million grant to manage the Innovative Postdoctoral Entrepreneurial Research Fellowship (I-PERF) through 2022.

Through I-PERF, ASEE will recruit, train, mentor, place, and fund underserved*, early-career science and engineering doctoral degree recipients to participate in entrepreneurial activities and perform innovative research at eligible NSF-funded small businesses.

The I-PERF program addresses a national need to accelerate small business innovation in support of federal government research by providing small businesses with doctoral level expertise and training the next generation of science and engineering PhDs in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“I-PERF continues the success of the NSF-funded Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship to define a new career pathway for entrepreneurially-minded science and engineering doctorates from underserved backgrounds,” said I-PERF principal investigator Damon Tull. “Our long-term aim is to produce a generation of entrepreneurs who are equipped to make measurable social and economic impacts and are connected to sustainable university-based innovation ecosystems that accelerate U.S. global competitiveness.”

I-PERF Fellows receive an annual base stipend of $78,000 per year, optional individual health and life insurance benefits, relocation assistance to the approved host company, a professional conference travel allowance, and professional development training funded by NSF.

ASEE is accepting applications from prospective fellows and current NSF Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awardee companies. The matching phase for the first cohort will begin June 1 and close on June 30, 2019. For more information, please visit 

Founded in 1893, ASEE is a global society of individual, institutional, and corporate members ASEE seeks to be the preeminent authority on the education of engineering professionals by advancing innovation, excellence, and access at all levels of education.

*Underserved and underrepresented groups including, women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, first-generation college graduates, veterans, and those with disabilities.


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NSF Public Affairs, NSF, 703-292-8070, 

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The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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