November 16, 2021

The Autodesk Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment Invest in Engineering for Change Research Fellowships

Editor’s note: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Engineering for Change’s parent organization, issued the following press statement. See the original statement on the ASME Foundation’s site.

NEW YORK (Nov. 15, 2021) — With its focus on positive social and environmental impact, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)’s Engineering for Change (E4C) Research Fellowship Program continues to attract investment from major funders. The Autodesk Foundation has renewed its support for an additional year with a $250,000 commitment to fund 25 E4C fellowships, and the Siegel Family Endowment has pledged $100,000 to fund a cohort of five cross-sector engineering fellows and conduct a longitudinal impact evaluation of the program. Executives from Autodesk and Siegel will join other thought leaders in sustainable development and engineering for good at ASME’s Impact.Engineered 2021: A Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST.

In a unique collaboration that began last year, the Autodesk Foundation’s investment doubled the 2021 E4C Fellows cohort from 25 to 50 fellows. This fellowship gives emerging engineers the opportunity to apply their technical expertise to solving some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, while they develop leadership skills and advance career readiness.

“Last year’s cohort brought a wide range of solutions – from training for the manufacturing workforce to designing homes in Rwanda to mitigate poor ventilation. I can’t wait to see the innovations that emerge from this cohort.” – Joe Speicher, Autodesk Foundation

“I’m excited for the Autodesk Foundation to support another cohort of E4C Fellows advancing design, architecture, and engineering solutions across our portfolio of nonprofits and startups,” said Joe Speicher, Executive Director, Autodesk Foundation. “Last year’s cohort brought a wide range of solutions – from training for the manufacturing workforce to designing homes in Rwanda to mitigate poor ventilation. I can’t wait to see the innovations that emerge from this cohort.”

The Autodesk Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Autodesk, Inc., supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. It uses grants and impact investments, donated Autodesk technology, and Autodesk employee volunteer hours to support nonprofits and startups to scale innovations—advancing a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable world.

Through the E4C Fellowship, nonprofits and startups in the Autodesk Foundation portfolio benefit from the expertise of emerging engineers, architects, and designers to advance solutions to climate change and inequality. Recent projects also include cataloging water tower designs for relief sites around the world and designing greenhouse airflow for converting organic waste into insect-based protein for animal feed.

With the Siegel Family Endowment’s interest in multidimensional infrastructure, workforce, and learning, their investment in the E4C Fellows not only funds five individual fellowships, but also an impact evaluation of how the experience and exposure during the fellowship shapes fellows’ career paths and affects the innovators, entrepreneurs, and non-profits organizations with whom they are doing their research projects.

“Siegel Family Endowment is proud to help build this new generation of engineers and foster a more nuanced, multidimensional approach to infrastructure design.”- Kathleen Knight, Siegel Family Endowment

“When equipped with necessary resources, support, and experiences, we are confident that engineers have the ingenuity to radically improve the quality of life in underserved communities around the world,” says Executive Director Kathleen Knight. “Through support to the ASME’s E4C Research Fellowship Program, Siegel Family Endowment is proud to help build this new generation of engineers and foster a more nuanced, multidimensional approach to infrastructure design.” Knight will speak about the endowment’s role in advancing sustainable infrastructure at Impact.Engineered and close the Field Insights session with E4C research fellows and collaborators from 2021.

E4C fellows advance their career path through 400 hours of research, 30 hours of networking online with their peers and expert advisors, and 30 hours of learning modules designed to enhance their knowledge in the sector. In addition, the Autodesk Foundation will provide software training to the fellows as needed for their research collaborations, on Autodesk tools including AutoCAD, BIM 360, Dynamo, Revit, Inventor, and Fusion 360. Fellows publish the results of their technical research, expert interviews, and share their insights on E4C’s online platform, reaching a global community of more than one million innovators and influencers in sustainable development.

“Through their generous support, the Autodesk Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment are expressing confidence in both the young engineers and technical professionals who tackle the most daunting humanitarian challenges and in the ASME Foundation’s ability to deliver on its goal to empower a more diverse next generation of engineers who will build a better future,” says Kathleen Lobb, managing director of ASME philanthropy and executive director of the ASME Foundation.

Since 2015, the E4C Research Fellowship has provided opportunities for 136 fellows from 37 countries to create social impact. The highly competitive program received nearly 650 applications from interested candidates in 80 countries for the 2021 cohort – an increase of 50% compared with the previous year. More than half of all E4C Fellows are women, addressing the critical need to expand diversity in engineering for sustainable development where only 13 percent of engineers are women.

About Engineering for Change (E4C)

Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, Engineering for Change (E4C) is a knowledge organization dedicated to preparing, educating, and activating the international engineering workforce to improve the quality of life of underserved communities worldwide. E4C provides access to resources, talent and platforms that accelerate the development of impactful solutions and infuse engineering rigor into global development. Our diverse, global community of more than one million people comprises engineers, technologists, social entrepreneurs, and development practitioners.

Jointly founded by ASME and other leading engineering societies, E4C has attracted the support of a variety of partners and sponsors ranging from industry, academia, non-profits and multilateral organizations, and corporations including Siemens.

About ASME

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges.  Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education, and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. In 2020, ASME formed the International Society of Interdisciplinary Engineers (ISIE) LLC, a new for-profit subsidiary to house business ventures that will bring new and innovative products, services, and technologies to the engineering community, and later established the holding company, Global Knowledge Solutions LLC. In 2021, ASME launched a second for-profit subsidiary, Metrix Connect LLC, an industry events and content platform to accelerate digital transformation in the engineering community and an agent for the Mechanical Engineering® brand of media products. For more information, visit

About the ASME Foundation

The ASME Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, supporting an array of programs in three core pillars: engineering education, career engagement, and global development. With the goal of empowering tomorrow’s technical workforce, the ASME Foundation advances equitable access both to professional opportunities and to engineering innovations that improve quality of life.  For more information, visit

Leave a Reply

Join a global community of changemakers.

Become A Member