Guidelines for Instructional Project Proposals
The PCI Foundation has provided grants for schools of architecture, engineering and construction management to create new precast concrete education programs in coordination with a local precast industry partner since 2001. Precast programs run the gamut from pure architectural design studios, to co-studios between architects and engineers, or can be run fully from the engineering side of the program. How the program develops depends on the players involved, curriculum requirements and community needs.
Download the "Getting Started" guide to learn more about our programs and see the proposal guidelines. Once you know you are interested, please contact Marty McIntyre to discuss submitting a preliminary proposal. Submitting this preliminary proposal will trigger having an advisory committee put in place that will help you through the application process and ensure that your proposal stays on track.
For those in the precast industry interested in working with a school, take a look at the "Partner Guide." At any time in the process, please feel free to call Ms. Marty McIntyre at (708) 386-3715 or email for assistance with completing a proposal.
Q: Is my institution eligible for a grant from the PCI Foundation?
A: The intention of the PCI Foundation is to seed new programs at institutions of higher learning. We have envisioned these programs to be part of a school of engineering (civil or structural), architecture, business school or construction management. However, the PCI Foundation Trustees will consider a program application from any department where understanding the fabrication, design, construction, or business of precast/prestressed concrete is the focus of the program.
Q: Can I apply for a grant to run a course that already exists at an institution?
A: The expectation is that the PCI Foundation will fund NEW programs. So a regular semester-long course on precast design that has been offered in the past would probably not be funded. However, adding new elements to the program such as seminar that is open to the public, laboratory work, plant tours, classroom lectures by industry guest speakers, site visits, or design competitions would make a program more likely to be funded. It all depends on the total program.
Some schools have found the PCI Studio or Instruction Project to be a good place to study the integrated design process – and have included programs in both the architectural and engineering schools or the architecture and construction management schools at the same time.
Q: Are there certain other expectations that each program must meet?
A: The PCI Foundation strives to create a collegial atmosphere between itself and the professors and students in our academic programs. In every case, the PCI Foundation asks professors and some of the students to be active in PCI events and meetings. This typically includes a student poster session at the PCI Convention each fall, a professor-led session at the PCI Convention, and other opportunities to present the work of the student at national and regional meetings.
Other items that the Foundation likes to have include photos of the programs, video when possible, a way to connect with students who are part of the program in order to evaluate the program, and information on curriculum and events.
Q: What kinds of activities will the PCI Foundation support?
Activities that have previously been part of programs sponsored by the PCI Foundation include (but are not limited to):
PCI-Certified Plant Tours
Hands-on casting of precast pieces
Tours of form liner manufacturers or other precast supplier partners
Professor Release Time
Small Laboratory Equipment
Big Beam Team competition
USDOE Solar Decathlon Entries
Touring architectural or engineering firms affiliated with precast projects
Precast construction site visits
Guest classroom lectures by industry professionals.
Travel to precast plants and projects outside of the US
Desk reviews for student designers
Mid-term and Final reviews of student work by industry partners.
Public forums to show student work to community
One-on-one consultation with precast specialty engineers.
Project site visits
Seminars open to the public
Other programs may also be supported. The amount of support varies and will depend on the activities scheduled, the number of faculty members involved in the program, equipment needs, and other factors. Each proposal is rated and funded on its own merits.
Q: How can an academic institution identify possible partners?
A: Your appropriate partner or partners will vary based on your institution’s circumstances and your interests. In previous programs, the partner has been either a PCI Region or a PCI-Certified Producer (or both). Visit the PCI website at PCI.org for more information about precasters in your area, or contact Marty McIntyre at the PCI Foundation for suggestions.
Q: Will the Foundation support prestressed research?
A: The PCI Foundation does not support traditional research projects. Instead, if a curriculum builds on research or has research that extends from students work, that may be funded through the PCI Foundation. Several schools have found that by working with an industry partner, research topics have become a natural extension of the relationships developed over time. Student work, carried from one semester to the next has proved valuable to the precast industry and interesting to the students who benefit from the development of ideas, critical thinking mastery, and communication skills.
Q: What should I do first?
A: The most important element of any PCI Foundation Studio or Instructional Project proposal is the partnership between the institution and a local partner. Identify all the parties that will be involved with the program (dean and professor from the institution and a local PCI region, PCI-certified plant, or precast specialty engineering firm). Once the players are in place, some thoughtful discussions should take place about all the party’s expectations. What does the University need for the program curriculum to make the program feasible? What are the expectations of the local partner? Who will provide books and literature? What kind of project is an appropriate focus for the program? How will the program be evaluated by all the partners?
Once you have established how the expectations will be met, download the Guidelines for Instructional Project Proposals from the PCI Foundation website. Contact Marty McIntyre about a timeframe for submitting a proposal. Each proposal is considered by the PCI Foundation Board of Trustees.
Ms. McIntyre can also set up conferences with professors of existing programs or local partners if you would find that useful.
Q: What kind of funding is available?
A: Funding varies from project to project, based on the scope of the program, professor involvement, community partners and goals achieved by the program. General guidelines include that funding is typically no more than $25,000 per academic year.
Q: Are there restrictions on how the funding can be spent?
A: The amount of any grant award to a university or other legally constituted non-profit organization that may be used for indirect costs, overhead and other expenses not directly related to the project may not exceed 10% of the amount of direct costs (Adopted January 15, 2010)
Q: Who can answer my other questions?
A: Please contact Marty McIntyre at the PCI Foundation if you have other questions.