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IDETC-CIE > Program > NSF/ASME Student Design Essay Competition

NSF/ASME Student Design Essay Competition


To encourage students to think about the future of engineering design and the intellectual foundations which are essential for the development of the field, NSF and ASME sponsor a student design essay competition. Winners receive $1,500 to attend the 2024 ASME Design Technical Conference (IDETC) which will be in Washington, D.C.

The Competition – Story

You are a consultant working for a high tech, global manufacturing enterprise. That company wants to position itself to be a high‐tech global design and manufacturing enterprise in the year 2040. As a consultant, you want the company to succeed both domestically and globally so you will need to:

  • Define the characteristics of a successful high‐tech global design and manufacturing company in the year 2040.
  • Identify the most important challenge this company will face in 2040 and focus your essay on this challenge. Propose a solution for this challenge. What needs to be done today to meet this challenge?
  • Based on your reference list, identify issues worthy of investigation. Be sure to include tables and figures as necessary. We are especially interested in the scientific foundations for understanding the product realization process which are suitable for a global manufacturing enterprise in 2040.

As advanced AI tools including generative AI are available, we believe you must learn to use them to your advantage. This year you may use generative AI (GAI) and other advanced AI tools, to structure your essay and then comment on your experience. Your comments should be included in an appendix following the essay and the references and should include which tool(s) you used, your queries and raw outputs and how these were modified and adapted. You will be evaluated for thoughtful prompts and meaningful modifications of raw outputs. There is no page limit to the Appendix.

Judging Criteria

Students are judged on scholarship, the depth and sophistication of their arguments, logical presentation of material, correct English usage, and relevance to problems facing the US industry, government, and research communities. There are separate categories for graduate and undergraduate students.

Awards and Responsibilities

An award to cover expenses to attend the conference will be made to the winners of this competition up to $1,500 per team. The reimbursement will take place after the conference upon the receipt of an invoice that includes receipts to substantiate expenditures. The winners must present their findings at a poster session at IDETC in order to receive the reimbursement. Every winner will receive a certificate to record his/her accomplishment.

Submission Format and Dates

Any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a university anywhere in the world is eligible. Multiple authors are limited to two people. The travel grant is shared between the co‐authors. A student may receive no more than 2 awards over the years. Essays should be a maximum of 10 pages long – this does not include the reference list. In addition, include an Appendix about your use of advanced AI tools and generative AI. There are separate categories for submissions by undergraduate and graduate students. The research paper may be the outcome of a course for which the student receives academic credit.

Important Dates

May 15, 2024
Papers Due

June 25, 2024
Target Date for Notification of Winners

August 25-28, 2024
IDETC 2024 Conference

Please include a cover page with:

  • Email address
  • Phone number and address for all authors
  • University affiliation including advisor's name and whether this submission is for the graduate or undergraduate category.

NOTE: We will remove this page when sending the submission out for review, so this should be the only page on which your identifying information appears.

Submit Entries to the facilitators of the NSF Design Essay Competition: Professor Janet K. Allen,, WhatsApp +1 404‐403‐3296 and Professor Farrokh Mistree,, WhatsApp +1 404-502-9086.

More Information

We gratefully acknowledge support from NSF Award 2345214. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the submissions are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.