OVERVIEW: Founded in 2009, Broadcom Foundation is the "new kid on the block" for STEM philanthropy in higher education. It is well positioned to be a significant player, however. Grants are aimed at stimulating interest in science and technology among middle school students and supporting university engineering programs and graduate student research.
IP TAKE: Broadcom Foundation prefers the best and brightest among the world's engineering schools, and it invites them to apply for funding. Graduate students at these schools with innovative research projects should keep an eye on this foundation's annual research competition.
PROFILE: STEM education is the Broadcom Foundation's raison d'etre. The foundation's mission, as stated on its website, is to "advance science, technology, engineering, and math education by funding research, recognizing scholarship, and increasing opportunity."
The foundation, headquartered in Irvine, California, was set up in 2009 by Dr. Henry Samueli, an electrical engineer and founder of the Broadcom Corporation. Its STEM education activities target middle school students as well as higher education.
In higher education, the Broadcom Foundation's STEM committee identifies university programs that will receive funding to support innovation and leadership in engineering programs. California universities have been major beneficiaries of Broadcom funding, but the foundation supports prominent university engineering programs across the country and around the world. Recipients of Broadcom grants have included the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Irvine, Texas A&M University, Cambridge University, the University of Michigan, Columbia University, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and Beijing Tsinghua University in China.
In addition to its support of engineering programs at universities around the world, the foundation sponsors an annual University Research Competition to recognize and reward innovative research by engineering graduate students. This competition isn't just any old science fair. Only students conducting research at a Broadcom Foundation-supported university are eligible to participate, and a panel of Broadcom Corporation engineers serves as judges at an annual conference. The top three competitors receive cash awards from the foundation.
For universities seeking STEM support from the Broadcom Foundation, funding is by invitation only, and it is limited to institutions with a reputation for excellence in STEM-related disciplines that are committed to innovation in STEM education. The foundation also prefers programs that demonstrate measurable outcomes, utilize sustainable or scalable approaches, and have the potential to be replicated by other funders. Finally, university programs should contain significant training and/or research components.
Outside of higher ed, the foundation has several opportunities for secondary students, schools, and NGO’s. The foundation’s Community projects include support for “501(c)(3) charities that engage in STEM-related programs or community projects where Broadcom employees live and work.” Unsolicited project proposals for $2,500 or less are accepted between April 30 to June 30 each year (be sure to confirm that your organization qualifies for funding before starting the application). In addition, Broadcom’s Design_CODE_Build initiative works to make “software coding and applied mathematics skill-building accessible to middle-school students who are under-represented in computing fields” by informing them about potential career options via “presentations by Broadcom engineers and other computing ‘rock stars.’”
Separately, Broadcom also sponsors a middle school science fair called MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering as Rising Stars) to increase students' interest in science and engineering careers and reward and recognize the most promising students in the field. Competitions take place both in the U.S. and internationally.
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