Santa Clara University


2011 Jeff and Karen Miller Fellowship Program

The Jeff and Karen Miller Faculty Fellowships in Frugal Innovation will fund collaborative faculty/student engineering research to address the needs of underserved communities worldwide.

Frugal innovation is a bundle of creative engineering design and social entrepreneurial strategies to address the basic human needs of people in underserved communities worldwide. Frugal innovation develops novel technologies to addresses basic human needs, such as health care, clean water, renewable energy, and sustainable building technologies. It begins with the question: how can we develop and apply novel technologies that underserved communities can afford and use over time to meet basic human needs? Examples of frugal innovation include: 

  • Development or application of technology associated with renewable energy with particular interest in provision to communities without access to an electrical grid
  • Development or application mobile instrumentation and applications, particularly those focused on public health, emergency preparedness or response, water resource management, monitoring and evaluation applications, and mobile microfinance
  • Technology development or adaptation related to public health including mobile health, clean water, health monitoring and evaluation, disease tracking, diagnostic devices, and epidemiological data collection and analysis

Proposals will be evaluated on the following 8 criteria of frugal innovation: ruggedization, affordability, simplification, adaptation, use of local materials, manufacturing, green technologies, lightweight, and user-centric design. These fellowships are intended to scale up research capacity in frugal innovation at SCU based on these criteria. CSTS intends these fellowships to demonstrate proof of concept for frugal innovation, and to serve as the basis for future extramural funding in these topical areas.

Award and Eligibility

CSTS anticipates funding several fellowships at a level up to $6,000 each. Tenure, tenure-stream and senior lecturer faculty are eligible to apply.

Application Process

Download the proposal submission guidelines here.

Applicants for CSTS Research Grants should submit their applications to Erin Berkenmeier ( by 5p.m. on Friday March 11th, 2011.

For information about the preparation of fellowship proposals, please contact CSTS Assistant Director of Education Keith Warner (

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