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Improving the University of North Dakota Electrical & Systems Engineering Laboratory Infrastructure in Embedded Systems, Telecommunications, and Printed Circuit Board Design 
Department of Electrical Engineering 
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202-7165 
1. Introduction 
The Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of North Dakota has a strong track record in education. It currently serves an average of 175 undergraduates and 15 graduate students. Over the last decade, the department has strived to enhance its students’ educational experiences by building a competitive B.S.E.E. undergraduate curriculum that includes focus programs in aerospace, biomedical engineering, and computer science. The department’s mission is to provide students with a solid foundation in electrical engineering and to bring them up-to-date on the key concepts, underlying principles, and practical applications of ever-growing needs in technology. 
The EE faculty and students are actively involved in collaborative research projects with departments across the university, including the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. These excellent collaborations led the North Dakota Centers of Excellence for Economic Development Commission to grant the university awards over the last three years to establish two Centers of Excellence: 
• The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence for Economic Development 
• The Center of Excellence in Life Sciences and Advanced Technologies (COELSAT). 

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These Centers of Excellence are expected to have an important economic impact on the state of North Dakota. For example, the UAS Center of Excellence is expected to create 15 private sector and 10 public sector jobs by providing the conduit for private industry to bring new UAS and related business ventures to North Dakota. UND Electrical Engineering’s goal is to prepare students to design these advanced technologies and to promote career opportunities in electrical and systems engineering. 
The purpose of this proposal is to improve our design laboratory infrastructure through the acquisition of new hardware and software equipment in order to help train the next-generation workforce of electrical and systems engineers in embedded systems, telecommunications, and printed circuit board design. The requested funds will be used to purchase: 
1. Data acquisition and systems (National Instruments USB-6009) and LEGO NXT Robot prototyping kits 
2. Tektronix oscilloscopes (TDS 2002B) 
3. Xilinx field programmable gate array (FPGA) evaluation boards (Virtex-II PRO) 
4. Microchip PIC microcontroller evaluation boards (PICDEM 2 Plus and ICD2) 
5. Supplies for Printed Circuit Board design, population, and test 
6. Software Defined Radio equipment (WR G-305e/PD and WFM band FM option) 

The equipment in 1 and 2 will be used primarily in freshman and sophomore classes (EE 101 Introduction to EE, EE 206 Circuit Analysis, EE 304 Computer Aided Measurements & Control, EE 306 Circuits Lab I, EE 307 Circuits Lab II, and EE 313 Linear Electric Circuits) to promote student learning through innovative LEGO robot-based projects, data acquisition, software engineering, and basic analog circuit design. The equipment in 3 and 4 can be used at virtually any level of the engineering curricula, from introductory courses (lab sequence: EE 306 Circuits Lab I, EE 307 Circuits Lab II, EE 308 Junior Lab I, and EE 309 Junior Lab II) through advanced embedded systems research and design (EE 451 Computer Hardware Organization and EE 452 Embedded Systems). This equipment also provides an advanced hardware platform that enables students to create complex applications in aerospace, biomedical engineering, power electronics, and telecommunications (EE 480 Senior Design I and EE 481 Senior 
Design II). Additionally, the acquired equipment will help students practice their hardware and software skills in designing, building, and testing complete electronic systems. The supplies in 5 will be used to help junior-level students design, populate, and test printed circuit boards (EE 308 Junior Lab I and EE 309 Junior Lab II), while the equipment in 6 will be utilized for prototyping next-generation telecommunication systems (EE 411 Communications Engineering and EE 512 Wireless Communications). 
Funding this proposal will have a real impact that will benefit the department, the university, and the nation in a number of ways. First, the acquired equipment will allow students to have extensive hands-on experience that will not only enhance student learning in their electrical and systems engineering coursework, but will also allow them to learn new skills and new technologies in the design field. By having extensive hands-on experience, students will efficiently collaborate on research and design projects within and outside the EE department; thus, funding this proposal will also benefit other departments across the university. Examples of research projects in which Electrical Engineering students are currently involved include Unmanned Aircraft Systems projects (with the Aerospace School) and the AgCam, NASA High Altitude Student Platform, and Rocket Sounding projects (collaborations with the Aviation, Physics, and Space Studies Departments). Finally, the proposed project will help to solve a major labor problem faced by the state and the nation. During last several decades, most U.S. high-tech companies have been outsourcing job opportunities to foreign labor markets, especially in India and China, because of lower costs and an abundant, educated workforce. Even with competitive salaries, many companies cannot find the highly skilled and educated people they need to fill many positions within the U.S. This project will positively impact students’ confidence and competence, allowing them to better compete in the global marketplace and to “hit the ground running” at Rockwell Collins after they graduate. 
2. Rockwell Collins’ Involvement 
UND faculty and students welcome Rockwell Collins’ involvement at any level in the EE projects. There is an incredible learning benefit any time engineering practitioners from industry can provide mentoring or simply share “real world” examples with students and faculty. UND Electrical Engineering faculty would be highly interested in collaborating with Rockwell Collins by teaching examples taken from actual nonproprietary industrial problems. Such examples demonstrate to the students the real applicability of the topics presented in the research and courses being taught in the Department of Electrical Engineering. 
3. Rockwell Collins’ Recognition 
Rockwell Collins will benefit from this project in several ways. First, UND Electrical Engineering faculty will raise awareness of Rockwell Collins as an exciting engineering cooperative and permanent career option. Second, the Department of Electrical Engineering will make sure that students and faculty using the acquired equipment recognize that Rockwell Collins was the contributor. This recognition will be accomplished by labeling all funded equipment as furnished by Rockwell Collins, and by using signs with the name of Rockwell Collins on the walls of the laboratory rooms that will house this equipment. Finally, UND understands the need for diversity in the workplace and how important this is to Rockwell Collins. Thus, we will publicize this project through UND minority organizations such as the American Indians Programs Office, the Office of International Programs, and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). 
4. Proposal Budget 
A total of $30,000 is being requested from the Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation University Allocation Program to improve the UND Electrical Engineering laboratory infrastructure through the acquisition of new embedded systems and telecommunications hardware and software equipment. The cost will cover the purchase of data acquisition and control systems (National Instruments USB-6009), LEGO NXT robot prototyping kits, and digital oscilloscopes for the freshman- and sophomore-level courses, as well as Xilinx FPGA and Microchip PIC microcontroller evaluation boards, printed circuit board supplies, and software defined radios for junior- and senior-level courses. All items will be housed in Harrington Hall Rooms 112, 120C, 220, and 222. A detailed budget is attached at the end of this proposal. 
To what extent does the project address potential industry needs for talent and skills? 
The objective of this proposal is to acquire equipment/supplies for our laboratory infrastructure. Students at every level will gain hands-on experience that they can apply to real world design projects. This experience will provide our students with a solid foundation in the electrical and systems engineering fields and ultimately benefit Rockwell Collins. 
Does the project raise awareness of Rockwell Collins as an exciting engineering career option among students, as well as suitably publicize Collins’ support role? 
Rockwell Collins and UND already have an excellent relationship through the existing cooperative education program and the annual recruiting trips/career fairs supported by the company. This laboratory project will serve to raise more awareness among UND students about career opportunities at Rockwell Collins, as well as publicize Collins’ support role. 
Are there opportunities for Rockwell Collins engineers to get involved, mentor, and evaluate student participants? 
Since these tools will be used to support existing electrical engineering courses such as Avionics, Communications, Computer Hardware Organization, Embedded Systems, and Senior Design, projects given to students in these courses could be formulated in association with Rockwell Collins engineers. This association offers the opportunity for faculty at UND and engineers at Rockwell Collins to collaborate on projects. Additionally, this collaboration would allow Rockwell Collins engineers to mentor and evaluate students for employment opportunities. UND would also support travel costs for Rockwell Collins engineers to give on-campus seminars to provide industry perspectives on modern topics related to immediate corporate needs. 
Does the plan encourage participation by minority/women engineering students? 
The Department of Electrical Engineering will publicize the projects through UND minority organizations, including the American Indians Programs Office, the Office of International Programs, and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). More specifically, a key goal of SWE is to promote and encourage the participation of minority/women engineering students in various projects. SWE members are actively involved in disseminating and promoting mentoring exercises throughout the school year. 
Describe plans for obtaining other funding needed to carry out the project/program, including amounts requested of other funding sources? 
Since the cost of the laboratory infrastructure improvement exceeds the limit of this proposal, another proposal is being planned for submission in May 2009 to the National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Infrastructure program. 
If the project/program is expected to continue beyond the grant period, describe plans for ensuring continued funding after the grant period? 
In order for design goals to continue beyond the first year, we will continue to seek additional equipment through federal grant proposals. In this manner, our education and research laboratory infrastructure will continue to be developed and expanded in the coming years as new ideas for projects are developed. For this year, it is anticipated that a related grant proposal for $200,000 will be submitted to the National Science Foundation in May 2009. It is also planned that additional funding requests will be made to other federal agencies such as the Department of Defense in coming years.

A part of this budget is requested from Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation ($30,000), the remaining will be requested through other grant proposals. DESCRIPTION 


Unit Price 



Salary – Faculty 


Salary – Students, Staff 


Fringe Benefits 


Total Personnel 






Xilinx evaluation boards (Virtex-II PRO) 




Microchip and Motorola evaluation boards 




Data acquisition and systems (NI USB-6009) 




LEGO NXT Robot prototyping kits (Prototyping Board,
Solderless Board, and Prototyping Sensor Kit) 




Software Defined Radio equipment (WR G-305e/PD and WFM band FM option) 



Tektronix oscilloscopes (TDS 2002B) 




PCB supplies (PCB boards and Amplifiers) 




Dell Desktops 




Total Supplies