Autodesk Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment Invest in  ASME Fellowships 

In a collaboration that began last year, the Autodesk Foundation’s investment doubled the 2021 E4C Fellows cohort from 25 to 50 fellows.

In a collaboration that began last year, the Autodesk Foundation’s investment doubled the 2021 E4C Fellows cohort from 25 to 50 fellows.

This fellowship gives emerging engineers the opportunity to apply their technical expertise to solving some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, while they develop leadership skills and advance career readiness. Image courtesy of ASME Foundation.


With its focus on positive social and environmental impact, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)’s Engineering for Change (E4C) Research Fellowship Program continues to attract investment from major funders. The Autodesk Foundation has renewed its support for an additional year with a $250,000 commitment to fund 25 E4C fellowships, and the Siegel Family Endowment has pledged $100,000 to fund a cohort of five cross-sector engineering fellows and conduct a longitudinal impact evaluation of the program.

Executives from Autodesk and Siegel will join other thought leaders in sustainable development and engineering for good at ASME’s Impact.Engineered 2021: A Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST. 

In a collaboration that began last year, the Autodesk Foundation’s investment doubled the 2021 E4C Fellows cohort from 25 to 50 fellows. This fellowship gives emerging engineers the opportunity to apply their technical expertise to solving some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, while they develop leadership skills and advance career readiness. 

“I'm excited for the Autodesk Foundation to support another cohort of E4C Fellows advancing design, architecture, and engineering solutions across our portfolio of nonprofits and startups,” says Joe Speicher, executive director, Autodesk Foundation. “Last year's cohort brought a wide range of solutions - from training for the manufacturing workforce to designing homes in Rwanda to mitigate poor ventilation. I can’t wait to see the innovations that emerge from this cohort.” 

The Autodesk Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Autodesk, Inc., supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to world social and environmental challenges. It uses grants and impact investments, donated Autodesk technology, and Autodesk employee volunteer hours to support nonprofits and startups to scale innovations.

Through the E4C Fellowship, nonprofits and startups in the Autodesk Foundation portfolio benefit from the expertise of emerging engineers, architects and designers to advance solutions to climate change and inequality. Recent projects also include cataloging water tower designs for relief sites around the world and designing greenhouse airflow for converting organic waste into insect-based protein for animal feed. 

With the Siegel Family Endowment’s interest in multidimensional infrastructure, workforce, and learning, their investment in the E4C Fellows not only funds five individual fellowships, but also an impact evaluation of how the experience and exposure during the fellowship shapes fellows’ career paths and affects the innovators, entrepreneurs and non-profits organizations with whom they are doing their research projects.

“When equipped with necessary resources, support, and experiences, we are confident that engineers have the ingenuity to radically improve the quality of life in underserved communities around the world,” says Executive Director Kathleen Knight. “Through support to the ASME’s E4C Research Fellowship Program, Siegel Family Endowment is proud to help build this new generation of engineers and foster a more nuanced, multidimensional approach to infrastructure design.” Knight will speak about the endowment’s role in advancing sustainable infrastructure at Impact.Engineered and close the Field Insights session with E4C research fellows and collaborators from 2021.

E4C fellows advance their career path through 400 hours of research, 30 hours of networking online with their peers and expert advisors, and 30 hours of learning modules designed to enhance their knowledge in the sector. In addition, the Autodesk Foundation will provide software training to the fellows as needed for their research collaborations, on Autodesk tools including AutoCAD, BIM 360, Dynamo, Revit, Inventor and Fusion 360. Fellows publish the results of their technical research, expert interviews and share their insights on E4C’s online platform, reaching a global community of more than 1 million innovators and influencers in sustainable development. 

“Through their generous support, the Autodesk Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment are expressing confidence in both the young engineers and technical professionals who tackle the most daunting humanitarian challenges and in the ASME Foundation's ability to deliver on its goal to empower a more diverse next generation of engineers who will build a better future,” says Kathleen Lobb, managing director of ASME philanthropy and executive director of the ASME Foundation. 

Since 2015, the E4C Research Fellowship has provided opportunities for 136 fellows from 37 countries to create social impact. The competitive program received nearly 650 applications from interested candidates in 80 countries for the 2021 cohort—an increase of 50% compared with the previous year. More than half of all E4C Fellows are women, addressing the need to expand diversity in engineering for sustainable development where only 13% of engineers are women.  

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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