NSF and NASA Collaborate to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by Broadening Participation in Engineering

May 3, 2021

by ASME

Last week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA signed an agreement that establishes a framework for broadening participation in engineering. The framework creates a collaboration between NASA’s Minority University Research and Education program and NSF’s Broadening Participation in Engineering program, which provides support for growing an engineering workforce, and the NSF INCLUDES program, which works to increase participation of underrepresented groups in STEM. ASME was a recent awardee of an NSF INCLUDES grant for research focusing on increasing the number of women in mechanical engineering. ASME also recently released a position paper on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the STEM Workforce.
 
The new NSF-NASA collaboration is aimed at increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in engineering by issuing joint proposals for opportunities of mutual interest. In the news release announcing the collaboration, NSF shares: “The new partnership aims to broaden participation in engineering by expanding opportunities for institutions and organizations to engage students and researchers through NSF and NASA programs. Activities may include educational experiences for students from kindergarten through college, professional development of educators, new course and curriculum development, and workforce inclusion research.”
 
The new agreement will focus on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering. ASME’s research through the INCLUDES grant also worked towards this goal by studying how best to increase the participation of women in mechanical engineering. The research addressed the culture and preparation of the current and future mechanical engineering workforce and sought to expand the breadth of stakeholders responsible for contributing to the preparation and development of future mechanical engineers from underrepresented groups.
 
Increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups to participate in engineering at all education levels and in the engineering workforce is a main priority of ASME and is outlined in the newly released Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the STEM Workforce position paper. This paper outlines ASME’s support for fostering diversity, ensuring equitable access and inclusive practices, raising awareness of unconscious bias, and promoting cultural competence both within ASME and in the engineering field at large.
 
For more information, please reference NSF’s full news release.

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