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Immediate Release

DOD Awards $53 Million in Grants Under the National Defense Education Program

The Department of Defense, through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) for Research and Engineering (R&E), recently announced grant awards totaling up to $53 million to 13 organizations under the National Defense Education Program. The grants support the NDEP’s Manufacturing Engineering Education Program, STEM scholarship programs, Civil Society programs, and Enhanced Civics Education programs. 

“In an era of global competition, the United States needs its next generation to be civic-minded, technically proficient, and eager to tackle the challenges of the 21st century,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu. “These awards are investments in our national talent base, geared towards ensuring our nation is able to maintain its military, economic, and technological edge.”


MEEP is funding three-year grants that establish programs or enhance existing programs to better position the manufacturing workforce to produce military systems and components that assure technological superiority for DoD.

  • Monroe Community College (Rochester, New York): “Defense Engineering Education Program–Enhancing Results in Optics (DEEPER OPS)”
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia): “Future Additive Interdisciplinary Manufacturing (FAIM)”
  • Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona): “Manufacturing Certification 2 Degree Consortium (C2D)”
  • Spark Photonics Foundation, Inc. (Waltham, Massachusetts): “A Scalable Semiconductor Manufacturing Education and Outreach Program”


The following four- to five-year grants support scholarship programs for students intending to pursue research careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields. 

  • Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas): “Applied Research and Innovation Scholarship for Engineering Students in Advanced Aerospace Technologies, AI, and Cybersecurity (ARISE)”
  • Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation (Alexandria, Virginia): “Identifying, Encouraging, and Financially Supporting the Next Generation of the STEM Research Workforce”


The following three-year grants provide enhanced civics education in areas such as critical thinking and media literacy and interest in public service. 

  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland): “Civics Education for the 21st Century”
  • Trustees of Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana): “Democracy Quest”
  • President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, Massachusetts): “Educating for American Democracy–A National Program for Civic Educator Professional Development”
  • University of Montana (Missoula, Montana): “Strengthening American Democracy by Bridging Divides”


Section 234 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 directed OUSD(R&E) to implement a pilot program on enhanced civics education. The following one- to two-years grants will prepare the next generation of leaders and thinkers to better understand the U.S. Government and their roles as citizens.

  • Education Development Center, Inc. (Waltham, Massachusetts ): “Supporting Readiness through Vital Civic Empowerment (SRVCE) Phase 2: Synergizing Civics and STEM through Teacher Learning”

  • iCivics, Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts): “Scaling a Model That Works: Civics, Service, and Leadership (‘iCSL’)”

  • American Institutes for Research (Arlington, Virginia): “Thinking Pro: Enhancing Civics Education”

To read the selected awardees’ abstracts and learn about other DoD STEM partners, visit

About USD(R&E) 

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at