OVERVIEW: Technology is in the DNA of the Intel Corporation. And it only makes sense that the company's corporate responsibility program includes major funding for technology in higher education. Intel (through the foundation and the corporation) supports technology grants as well as entrepreneurial programs for students. Grants also go to research, scholarships, and technology gifts that frequently interweave the corporation’s products with classroom pedagogy and curricula.
IP TAKE: Intel's foundation has a fairly limited geographic footprint and tends to stick to areas in which the corporation has major operations, but the Intel Corporation has partnerships with a number of high-profile universities and offers many avenues of support for their students, professors, and researchers.
PROFILE: Underlying all of Intel's grantmaking is the idea of moving education into the 21st century and helping students prepare for careers in innovative fields. The foundation tends to support programs that are forward-thinking and immerse students, professors, and researchers in emerging fields such as mobile app development or cloud computing. To those ends, Intel tends to work with a fairly tight network of connected nonprofits and higher education institutions.
It is not always entirely clear which higher ed programs receive support from the foundation, and which result from direct relationships with the corporation itself. In either case, education is a major focus of Intel’s philanthropic operations, and higher education fits into that in three key ways:
- Professors at colleges and universities who can receive training programs to help them educate the next generation of innovators. Grants are also available for research projects into how technology can make industries more efficient, and Intel also collaborates with faculty in curriculum development and supports promising early-stage Ph.D. faculty.
- Students pursuing degrees or research can receive support including scholarships, fellowships, and research grants for undergraduate and graduate programs. Although it's not technically philanthropy, Intel also offers internships and career recruitment programs for students as well.
- Researchers who benefit from Intel’s support through exploratory, “focused,” or “long-term industry” investigations that involve collaboration between top-level minds in the academy and those within the company itself. Focus areas trend towards cutting-edge questions, challenges, and future directions to advance existing technologies and expanding the limits of the possibilities in the field.
Many opportunities for students, professors, and researchers are available through universities where Intel has developed strong partnerships. For instance, across the United States, Intel has sponsored Intel Science and Technology Centers that serve as research facilities for professors and students, and it has developed these relationships over many years. It also spearheads the Intel Design School Network, which “brings together five leading design schools with the common goal of creating cutting edge curriculum about technology for design school students,” and has a number of initiatives that involve incorporating Intel technologies into classroom teaching. It is, additionally, a major backer of the Semiconductor Research Corporation Education Alliance, a self-described “private foundation…[that] develops sources of funding to provide undergraduate and graduate science and engineering students with a unique education consisting of traditional coursework, cutting-edge research, and direct interaction with the semiconductor industry.”
The line between STEM education, which includes students in all grades, and university technology programs is a little blurred when looking at some means of support. For example, Intel supports science and technology curriculum development, and also plays sponsor to science and engineering fairs across the country at the secondary and postsecondary levels.
For both K-12 and postsecondary institutions, the foundation also offers support through a gifts program (matching employees’ financial donations) and grant program (matching “volunteer hours performed by Intel employees and US Intel retirees”). The foundation also hosts several documents related to attracting more girls into the field (through learning to code, for example) so higher ed institutions that develop programs to achieve this end might also find support from the foundation.
Intel does not accept unsolicited proposals, so it can be a challenge to navigate its grant giving. But if you're located near an Intel hub in the United States — it has locations in Washington State, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Massachusetts — try starting with a letter of introduction to program staff.
Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director, Intel Foundation