IEEE New Initiatives Program is Looking to Bring Your Bright Ideas Into the Light

The Robots Guide and the IEEE Learning Network are among the enterprises sparked by the program

3 min read
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THE INSTITUTE The IEEE New Initiatives Program supports potential IEEE services, products, and other creations that could significantly benefit members, the public, customers, or the technical community. Members, volunteers, and IEEE organizational units are welcome to submit their ideas for consideration.

The program, overseen by the IEEE New Initiatives Committee (NIC), is looking for ideas to support related to increasing IEEE’s connection to industry, engaging and recruiting members, creating innovative educational opportunities, and increasing the visibility of the organization.

Two types of funding are available: seed grants and New Initiatives funding. Seed grants fund early-stage, innovative or pilot projects that require US $40,000 or less and take 12 months or less to complete. New Initiatives funding supports projects that require $100,000 or more and are likely to take up to three years to complete.

Since the program’s launch 20 years ago, it has funded more than 100 projects that have had a lasting impact. Here are some recent projects the NIC has funded.

Robots GuideThis online guide was funded through a seed grant in 2018. It was created by IEEE Spectrum with the goal to be the world’s best interactive catalog on robots and robotics. Its audience of roboticists, hobbyists, students, and schools continues to grow. The guide has won multiple awards and has become a top result in Google searches for robot-related topics. The website is helping IEEE to disseminate technical content and to strengthen its leadership role in educating and engaging people.

IEEE Learning Network This portal and learning management system offers online continuing professional education courses in engineering, technology, and career development from across IEEE. The ILN currently offers more than 1,000 courses on cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and edge computing. Learners can easily search for specific topics or technologies, keep track of progress in each course, and print certificates upon successful completion of course assessments. Many courses offer professional development hours and continuing education units. Users can subscribe to weekly email alerts featuring the latest courses and free resources. The NIC sponsored the ILN in 2019, but the program is now self-supporting.

IEEE Spectrum/The Institute print, web, and mobile redesignIEEE Spectrum’s and The Institute’s print and website editions are getting their first redesign in nearly 10 years. The redesign is an ongoing project. Spectrum’s new print look debuted in May, while The Institute rolled out its revamped design in June. On the new website, to be launched 1 July, readers will be able to find the Spectrum/Institute stories that matter to them faster. IEEE members will have the ability to access Spectrum’s print archives, post comments without waiting for pre-moderation, and create personalized feeds on specific topics. There will be bonus content just for IEEE members and nonmember registrants.

IEEE Mobile Outreach VEhicle international expansion IEEE-USA’s MOVE program received funding this year to expand to India, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico—areas that often are affected by natural disasters. MOVE, which is celebrating its five-year anniversary, provides communities with power, phone service, and Internet access in areas of widespread outages due to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. When the vehicle is not needed during an emergency, volunteers take it to schools and science fairs to educate students and other community members about ways technology can help people during disasters.

The New Initiatives program has a rolling submission process, so there are no deadlines for proposals. Visit its web page to learn more about which type of funding to apply for, and how the submission and approval process works.

Lesleigh Campanale is senior manager for IEEE Corporate Strategy.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

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