As part of a comprehensive effort by the Obama administration to involve more of the country's youth in science, technology, engineering and math studies, known as STEM, the U.S. Department of Transportation has requested proposals from college and high school students for unique scientific and engineering innovations in aviation and aerospace.
The "Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering" Award, called RAISE, was created as the result of a recommendation made in 2010 by DOT's "Future of Aviation" advisory committee. Its intent is to generate incentives for high school, college and university students to develop creative solutions to aviation and aerospace issues and to share their results with the broader community.
"The secretary's RAISE Award helps get students excited about aviation and aerospace - even more importantly, about possible careers in these fields," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "We are eagerly looking forward to this year's proposals."
A team of high-school students from Middletown, Conn., won the first RAISE competition last year for its innovative design for a winglet - the angled end of an aircraft wing - that can change its angle during ascent and descent to reduce drag and save fuel.
The competition recognizes innovative scientific and engineering achievements that will have a significant impact on the future of aviation or aerospace. Students may submit research papers, science experiments, inventions or invention ideas.
The secretary's RAISE Award is open to students at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels. Both individuals and groups may submit entries. Submissions will be judged on their originality, impact, practicality, measurability, applicability and technical merit.
All entries will be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration Centers of Excellence program office to ensure that they meet eligibility requirements. The qualified submissions will be judged by advisory panels that include officials from DOT, FAA and NASA, as well as academic experts. These panels will select the most highly qualified submissions and present them to the secretary of transportation, who will select the winning entrant.
All submissions must be received by July 1. Rules for the competition and specific information about what applicants should include in their submission packages are available at www.challenge.gov, the official website for all government awards and competitions. The winner will be announced in October.