DO-IT Launches ERC-INCLUDES Project!

Scott Bellman, DO-IT Staff
ERC-INCLUDES will promote more students with disabilities participating in ERC research.

Recently, in close partnership with the UW Center for Neurotechnology (CNT), the National Science Foundation (NSF) provided funding for a project called ERC-INCLUDES. While “ERC” refers to NSF-funded “Engineering Research Centers” such as the CNT, the “INCLUDES” acronym stands for “Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science” which is NSF’s largest diversity and broadening participation initiative.

The goal of ERC-INCLUDES is to help realize NSF’s goal of creating “opportunities among currently-funded NSF projects to build a collaborative infrastructure for broadening participation in NSF-funded research activities.” The proposed project will foster collaborations between the ERCs and a variety of INCLUDES initiatives.

The proposed project will engage NSF-funded stakeholders nationwide. It will host a national capacity-building institute; develop a website, an online knowledge base, and other products; and build a durable infrastructure for future work.

Members of the DO-IT community might be more familiar with CNT’s previous name, the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), where DO-IT has hosted workshops and classes, placed students into research internships, and worked on diversity initiatives. The CNT, which is based at the University of Washington but includes researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, San Diego State University, Caltech, and other partners, changed its name to highlight the key role that neurotechnologies play in its mission.

Since 2011, the CNT has received $27 million from the NSF and has made significant research advances in the field of engineering neuroplasticity, developed educational tools about neurotechnology and brain-computer interfaces, and become a leader in the field of neuroethics.