UW News

October 5, 1999

Ford Motor Co. gift boosts UW student research, diversity recruitment

More students in the University of Washington’s high-demand computer science and electrical engineering programs will soon have the opportunity to conduct hands-on research into embedded system design and how it applies to the transportation industry, thanks to a five-year, $3.85 million grant from Ford Motor Co.

The grant, which is the largest ever given to the university by Ford, will be announced at a news conference tomorrow beginning at 1 p.m. in the Regents Conference Room, located in Gerberding Hall on the UW Seattle campus. Representatives from Ford will be at the conference.

In addition to the embedded system design research, the grant will support seven other initiatives in the School of Business Administration, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, including diversity recruiting and retention, an engineering and management program, data mining for environmental applications and a Human Interface Technology Lab that develops virtual reality tools for solving real-world challenges.

The largest portion of the grant, $1.5 million, will go toward “transportation infotronics” and embedded systems. The money will be used to purchase computers, electrical engineering equipment and software for students and faculty working in the electrical engineering and computer science and engineering departments. The focus will be the development of projects of interest to the transportation industry. About half of the funds will support 10 graduate and undergraduate fellowships each year and half will be used for equipment and supplies.

The UW is one of 25 schools nationwide that Ford selected for the program. The state is providing $500,000 in matching funds for a portion of the grant to go to the department of computer science and engineering.

The Ford grant also includes:

? $450,000 to support the Program in Engineering and Manufacturing Management, a partnership between the College of Engineering and the School of Business Administration that allows practicing engineers to learn about business administration skills and managers to learn about engineering processes;

? $425,000 for the Human Interface Technology Lab for research in virtual reality, augmented reality and user interface topics, including studies of how drivers comprehend complicated navigation information;

? $400,000 for the recruitment and retention of minorities, women and disabled students in science and engineering programs;

? $375,000 for Knowledge-Based Engineering, a computer-aided design approach used to model parts and systems that incorporates non-geometric attributes of the product, such as cost, weight and performance;

? $350,000 for an information systems program in the department of management science that will deal with the use of information technologies in business;

? $300,000 to support undergraduate and graduate scholarships for data mining for environmental applications. The emphasis will be on the development of models to predict the potential impact human activities have on global climate change; and

? $50,000 for the UW Business School Affiliate Program, founded in 1966, which supports future business leaders.


For more information, contact Martha Dietz, UW assistant vice president for corporate/foundation relations, at (206) 616-9684 or mdietz@u.washington.edu.