The Philip and Marsha Dowd Engineering Seed Fund was established in 2001 through a generous gift to the College of Engineering from Philip and Marsha Dowd.

This fellowship grant program awards multiple fellowships each academic year to engineering doctoral graduate students. The fund is intended to provide support for graduate students proposing work on cutting-edge research projects that are currently unfunded.

The objective of the fund is to help enable future external research funding and possible future entrepreneurial activity by generating initial research results through the seed project.

Students receiving fellowships are referred to as Dowd Fellows and are required to present a seminar to the Carnegie Mellon community in the fall semester on the results of their work. Funding for research projects is limited to one year, covering the student’s stipend and tuition.



Eligible students must be in their third or fourth year of their doctoral studies in the fall semester of the program year. Please note: Only one student proposal may be submitted per advisor. Also, if an advisor has had a student receive a Dowd Fellowship in the last two years, none of the advisor’s students will be eligible to apply. Students must, therefore, coordinate with their advisors prior to submission.


Application requirements

  • Proposal should describe the research project on which the Ph.D. student will be working. The proposals are limited to three (3) pages, and must use 12 pt Times New Roman font and one-inch page margins. It is strictly required that the proposals be written by the candidate (the Ph.D. students) rather than the advisor(s). The following format (include these outline titles in proposal) should be followed:
    • Project Title
    • Research Team (Graduate Student; Faculty Advisor(s)) – names and affiliations
    • Abstract – This section should describe the motivation, objectives, and approach, and the expected outcomes in layman’s terms. that is, it should be understandable by non-a technical audience. Do not use jargon or abbreviations, and describe the high-level consequences/opportunities if the proposed work is successful. This section is limited to 250 words.
    • Motivation/Problem Statement – Describe the problem addressed and the context of why this research is important and novel.
    • Research Objectives and/or Hypothesis – This should be the overall guiding question/goals to the research.
    • Approach and Methodology – Describe what research is planned during the year and how it will be accomplished. This section should include the following sub-sections:
      • Specific objectives and associated tasks
      • Milestones/task-time outline
      • Expected outcomes/results
    • Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Nature of Research– Describe in a single paragraph how the research project is both multidisciplinary and collaborative. This section and Section H combined should not exceed 250 words.
    • Present and Future Funding – Briefly identify present research and sources of funding for the applicant, identify potential future funding sources for the proposed project, and describe how this seed project will enable this future funding—be very specific! This section and section G combined should not exceed 250 words.
  • Please also include:
    • A one-page curriculum vitae of the student (including the semester graduate studies began at Carnegie Mellon and current GPA at Carnegie Mellon); 
    • A recommendation letter from faculty advisor that provides information on the quality of the applicant.

Determining factors for proposal selection

  • innovative nature of the proposed research in emerging areas,
  • academic potential of the applicant, and
  • potential of this seed project to enable government and/or industry support in future years.


Submitting proposals

College of Engineering faculty are invited to submit proposals electronically through the submission link, which will be available during the submission window. Fellowship selections will be announced in early June with the fellowship beginning in the fall semester. If you have inquiries regarding this call for proposals, please contact Burak Ozdoganlar or Alicia Angemeer.