The Grainger Foundation Provides $3 Million Gift for NAE Frontiers of Engineering Program


Thu, May 28, 2020

Washington, DC, May 28, 2020 —

The National Academy of Engineering announced today a $3 million gift from the Grainger Foundation to support NAE’s Frontiers of Engineering symposia. The symposia honor excellence in engineering by recognizing the work of outstanding early-career engineers and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration among engineering’s next generation of leaders. 

“We are pleased to continue our support for the Frontiers of Engineering symposia, an incredibly well-administered and important program,” said John Howard, senior vice president and director for The Grainger Foundation. 

Established in 1995, the Frontiers of Engineering program includes a US symposium each year and a rotating schedule of bilateral meetings of engineers from the U.S. and Germany, Japan, China, and the European Union.  Attendees of the symposia are generally within 12 years of their terminal engineering degree and are selected competitively after being nominated by fellow engineers or organizations. The Grainger Foundation gift also provides seed grants to support collaborative work resulting from connections made at the US FOE.

“We are grateful to The Grainger Foundation for this generous gift, which supports interdisciplinary collaboration among some of our nation’s most promising engineers,” said National Academy of Engineering President John L. Anderson. “A current example of the impact our Frontiers of Engineering program can have is the active role its alumni are playing in the NAE’s Call to Action for engineering solutions to the COVID-19 crisis. We look forward to bringing many more talented engineers into the FOE program in the years ahead, thanks to the support of The Grainger Foundation.” 

The symposia typically span 2 1/2 days and provide an opportunity for attendees to network and learn about cutting-edge developments in fields other than their own. Approximately 100 engineers are invited to attend each year’s US meeting, and 30 from each country/region attend the bilateral symposia. Those meetings provide a window for US engineers to learn about global developments at the forefront of technology.

This is The Grainger Foundation’s third $3 million gift to NAE. Located in Lake Forest, Illinois, the foundation was established in 1949 by Mr. and Mrs. William W. Grainger.

In addition to The Grainger Foundation, additional sponsors of the Frontiers of Engineering symposia include government and corporate entities. For more information about the program, visit

Founded in 1964, the US National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

Brandon Green
Brandon Green
Communications/Media Specialist
Janet Hunziker
Janet Hunziker
Director, Frontiers of Engineering