Engineering Design and Innovation Scholars Program

NSF Logo.

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM)

Collage of 4 images showing various students working on projects outside of the classroom in the local community.

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences aims to provide scholarships for academically talented students from low-income backgrounds interested in effecting positive change in the world as Engineering Design and Innovation (EDI) scholars.

The EDI Scholars Program, funded by an NSF S-STEM grant, provides students the opportunity to be part of a hands-on, community-based cohort of scholars who will learn how to put social justice theory into practice in STEM fields. As EDI scholars, students will solve complex societal problems through engineering and computing projects. 

On this page:

Program overview

The EDI Scholars Program's main goals are:

  1. to improve the local community by integrating student expertise as we solve community problems;
  2. to improve the learning experiences of low-income students with academic ability or potential to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields.

Ultimately, NSF S-STEM programs seek to increase the number of academically promising low-income students who graduate with a STEM degree and contribute to the American innovation economy with their STEM knowledge. 

Scholar benefits
  • Award of up to $10,000 per year* 
  • Cohort membership and support
  • Faculty mentoring
  • Professional development
  • Experiential learning
  • Paid research opportunities

*Up to $10,000 annually for up to four years for undergraduates and up to two years for MS students

Become an EDI scholar

As a part of this program, you’ll join a cohort of students committed to social change. With faculty mentors, a professional development series to introduce you to the needs of local community partners, and a funded summer research project, you will have the opportunity to apply your engineering expertise to local community problems. These projects might include:

  • Working to understand the impact of environmental injustice on community health;
  • Understanding how to build a racially just approach to developing an application for a company;
  • Developing an equitable and inclusive approach to replacing lead pipes in the local community.

Eligible undergraduate students will receive up to $10,000 annually for up to four years. Master's students will receive up to $10,000 annually for up to two years. Community partners may include the United Way of Buffalo & Erie CountyJericho Road Community Health Center, FeedMore WNY, and PUSH Buffalo, among others.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible, students must be entering their first year of either an undergraduate degree program or a master's degree program. Master's students can be from the Computer Science and Engineering MS, Engineering Science MS or the Biomedical Engineering MS programs. Students must also be:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents;
  • Full-time students in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences;
  • Eligible for a Pell Grant;
  • Interested in projects that demonstrate engineering or computing for social good.

How to apply

Eligible master's students should complete a Graduate EDI Scholarship Application (login required). Students must log in with the same credentials used for the SEAS Application Status portal.

The Undergraduate EDI Scholarship Application is now closed.

Finalists will be interviewed to ascertain motivation, leadership, determination, and persistence.

Application Updates

The graduate application is now open! New graduate students and prospective graduates who were recently accepted to the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are encouraged to apply by April 1, 2024.

**Please note that all slots for undergraduate students have been filled.**

If you have any questions about the EDI Scholars Program, email us at

Meet the UB S-STEM team

Become a community partner

UB is looking for national and local non-profit organizations, NGOs, local small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs to partner with our EDI scholars. Contact Kristen Moore to learn more about becoming a community partner.