The Foundation intends to support four general initiatives, concentrating most of its income on supporting scholarships and research. The following descriptions represent the current thinking of the Foundation Board of Directors, but are subject to change in the future.
The Foundation will provide educational scholarships to both graduate and undergraduate students in systems engineering with intentions to pursue research or advance their field upon completion of their final degrees. The purpose of the scholarship program is to encourage more students to elect systems engineering as a discipline and to apply their skills in solving many of the complex technical challenges facing our society. There is a shortage of competent engineers (especially systems engineers) that is expected to continue into the next century. The INCOSE Foundation is dedicated to enhancing and supporting the systems engineering profession and advancing the state of the art in solving complex technical problems. The scholarship program is one avenue for realizing this exempt purpose.
Eligibility: Any undergraduate or graduate student who will employ the scholarship to continue their formal education at an ABET or similarly-accredited engineering educational institution. The Foundation may elect to focus some of its scholarship assistance on populations under-represented in the profession (e.g., minorities and women) or to especially deserving students who have demonstrated academic performance and standing, potential for development, leadership capacity and financial need.
Activity: The scholarships will be initiated when there is enough of a corpus from donations to produce an income that can result in a meaningful level of scholarship assistance. This is expected to take at least a year or two after the Foundation is awarded its exempt status, and has been able to engage in significant fundraising activities. The Foundation will also accept funds that are explicitly dedicated to immediate scholarship assistance. In the latter case, the Foundation will advertise the availability of the scholarship assistance and proceed with the selection process described below.
Selection: One or more applicants may be selected each year for a scholarship. The selection will be made by a scholarship review committee designated by the Foundation. The sum of each scholarship to be awarded will be determined by the review committee based upon available funds.
The Foundation expects to sponsor research in systems engineering as it applies both to engineering and applied professions. Activities related to research may include offering a prize for outstanding research in systems engineering. Systems engineering is evolving as a broader and more multi-faceted field as the technical challenges of this century become more manifest to include: genetic engineering, robotics, micro/nano technologies, improved human/system interfaces, and many others. Currently, there are very few research programs in systems engineering that embrace the potential of these technologies. One purpose of the INCOSE Foundation is to build a better world by advancing the state of systems engineering to solve complex technical problems. The research award program will be a key avenue for realizing this exempt purpose.
Eligibility: Research awards will be based on merit of the application. Applicants do not have to be INCOSE members. Although the Foundation reserves the right to make awards that best advance the practice of systems engineering, at least three approaches are currently contemplated. The first would be to leverage Foundation monies to support current researchers who are under sponsorship by companies, academic institutions, research organizations, or government institutions. Second, original research proposals will also be accepted. Third, the Foundation may also elect to fund graduate student research programs that demonstrate high promise to the field of systems engineering.
Activity: The research awards will be initiated when there is enough of a corpus from donations to produce an income that can result in a meaningful level of financial assistance. This is expected to take at least a year or two after the Foundation is awarded its exempt status, and has been able to engage in significant fundraising activities.
Selection: One or more applicants may be selected each year for a research award. The selection will be made by a research award review committee designated by the Foundation.
Sponsorship of Strategic Summits
The Foundation intends to sponsor strategic summit conferences, bringing together stakeholders to discuss critical systems issues, and to suggest approaches to address these issues. These summits would be carefully orchestrated to address and move toward solutions of the most serious and significant issues facing the systems engineering profession, and by extension the well being of the world. Examples of critical issues include but are not limited to: the world-wide demographics of projected fewer available systems engineers; realigning professional societies to address the needs of diverse professionals who are increasingly becoming interested in systems engineering; accreditation of systems engineers and accreditation of systems engineering education programs; the usefulness of standards; how to deal with the small to medium enterprises; dealing with emerging areas such as requirements engineering, human systems, and systems engineering management. Another topic might be the future relevance of professional societies in an increasingly virtual world of communication and knowledge management. By addressing these and similar issues, the INCOSE Foundation will support efforts to solve some of the most daunting challenges facing our society, thereby advancing its exempt purposes.
The complexity of these issues demands a diverse set of perspectives that bring to bear the talent and skills of multiple stakeholders. The INCOSE Foundation intends to be a catalyst for bringing these diverse stakeholders together in a series of strategic summits that will be held from time to time – ideally on a yearly basis. The Foundation will participate in underwriting the costs of these summits, which will be supported by a cross section of industry, academic institutions, professional societies, government agencies, and other relevant organizations. The products of the summits might include policy recommendations to key government decision makers, formation of coalitions to address the issues, suggestions for research and development programs, and the formation of new curriculum approaches.
As will be the case for all Foundation activities, the strategic summits will be initiated when there is enough of a corpus from donations to produce an income that can result in a meaningful level of financial assistance. This is expected to take at least a year or two after the Foundation is awarded its exempt status, and has been able to engage in significant fundraising activities.
From time to time, the INCOSE Foundation will support the development of programs that foster advancement of systems engineering and its impact on society. Initially the focus will be on developing universal student literacy of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in elementary, high school and college. At a time of rapid economic and technological change, a widespread understanding of engineering and technology is essential to personal and national prosperity. Employers around the world face a dire shortage of engineers (especially systems engineers) because too few young people acquire science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills – required to take higher level courses or pursue related degrees in higher education. The Foundation is dedicated to providing support that increases the number of well educated systems engineers. By concentrating some of its resources on programs that address the literacy issue early in the educational process, there will be a higher probability of more students electing engineering as a career discipline thereby advancing its exempt purposes.
The Foundation expects to leverage its resources by partnering with other eleemosynary organizations concerned with the international problem of students not electing science, mathematics, and engineering as areas of study and career. These will include other foundations, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations with reputations of interest in this area of concern. Given the concern of industry regarding this problem, the Foundation may also seek industry sponsorship of the programs.
Selection of programs for Foundation support will be determined by a non-partisan and knowledgeable review committee chartered by the Foundation. This committee will meet on an annual basis to make recommendations for awards that will be provided to educational institutions with innovative programs designed to increase the level of student literacy in engineering, technology, science, and mathematics across different learning and workforce communities. Particular interest will be paid to those programs that establish the use of systems engineering concepts to insure this literacy.
Support for these programs will be initiated when there is enough of a corpus from donations to produce an income that can result in a meaningful level of financial assistance. This is expected to take at least a year or two after the Foundation is awarded its exempt status, and has been able to engage in significant fundraising activities.