Submissions are now open for the next cycle. Applications Due: March 4, 2024
The SFPE Foundation supports a number of initiatives designed to further its mission to enhance the scientific understanding of fire and its interaction with the natural and built environment. An important part of this mission is developing the next generation of fire protection engineers. The foundation encourages this through an emphasis on student involvement in the Research Roadmap program as well as through the Student Research Grant Program.
Goal: Realize the SFPE Foundation vision through providing educational and research opportunities for the next generation of fire protection engineers.
Purpose: To support innovative baccalaureate and graduate-level student research projects in fire safety science or fire protection engineering and to showcase the contributions of students to the advancement of fire protection engineering.
Read about our Past Recipients.
Funding: A $5,000 stipend will be provided to the student recipient(s) of the grant. Travel support to the SFPE annual conference, or equivalent may also be provided.
Grantees may have the opportunity to participate in SFPE Foundation and SFPE-affiliated events and communications to publicize the results of their research, such as the SFPE Annual Conference, SFPE Foundation website and social media outlets, and SFPE Chapter presentations, among others.
This program is intended for undergraduate and graduate students conducting research with a fire safety science or fire engineering focus.
Application Guidelines and Award
The grant proposal must be submitted by the student through this form and must include the student's faculty advisor's recommendation.
Submissions should not exceed 5 pages single-spaced (not including the cover page, recommendation letter, and Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form) and should include a description of the innovative objective of the research project, describe the tasks that will be undertaken to achieve it, and state the proposed timeline for completion. Successful applicants will situate their proposed research project with respect to addressing the knowledge gaps identified in the SFPE Research Roadmap. Additionally, if this is supplemental funding, it should be made clear how the additional funds will be used, the source of additional funding, and if any potential conflicts or restrictions exist that would impact the presentation and publication of the research.
Final decisions rest with the Foundation's Board of Governors, upon recommendation from the Technical Committee.
Proposal Recommended Format
While a standard format is not required for the submission of a proposal, it is recommended to follow the basic layout and contents as specified below.
Cover Page: Title of the project; name, email address, and affiliation of the student; name and email address of academic supervisor/sponsor; and description of any prior financial support.
- Specific Aims (Objectives)
- Background and Significance
- Methods and Procedures
- Budget and Justification
- Timing and Deliverables
- Conflicts of Interest or Restrictions on Publication (required, complete the COI Form available here)
- Biographical Sketch of Principal Investigator, key staff, and/or students who will be involved in the proposed project
- References/Letter of Support from Academic Supervisor/Sponsor (required)
Submissions will be accepted at any time throughout the year; however, submissions are reviewed and grants are awarded twice per year (assuming qualified submissions). Submissions must be received by March 4 to be awarded in June, or by October 2 to be awarded in November.
Submit complete applications to the SFPE Foundation through this form.
Please contact the SFPE Foundation's Research Manager, Amanda Tarbet, at email@example.com with any questions.
It is expected that the results of the research will result in the publication of a peer-reviewed research paper and that the results will be presented at an appropriate forum. The paper will additionally be hosted on the SFPE Foundation website for archival purposes.
Amy Kurr (PhD Student, University of Tennesse - Knoxville) was awarded a student research grant for her project, "Fire Properties of Thermally Aged XLPE Cable Insulation." Amy's research project seeks to assess the fire properties of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation in cables under different time-temperature scenarios, focusing on specific heat release rate, heat release capacity, heat of combustion, ignition temperature, and smoke concentration. The goal is to understand how thermal aging affects the insulation's fire properties, thereby improving cable reliability and reducing catastrophic failures in the transportation and energy sectors.
Joshua Madden (PhD Student, The University of Queensland) was awarded a student research grant for his project, "Phenomena Governing the Fire Dynamics in Open-Plan Timber Compartments." His proposed research project aims to develop engineering models for open-plan timber compartments in mass timber buildings, addressing the unique fire safety challenges they present compared to traditional concrete or steel structures. The project will investigate the ignition, flame spread, and self-extinction behaviors of timber ceilings under varying conditions, aiming to integrate these findings into a comprehensive fire safety strategy for mass timber buildings.
Satorupa Karmakar (PhD student, University of Queensland-Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Joint Academy of Research) was awarded a student research grant for her project, "Understanding the Impact of Policies Designed to Mitigate Fire Risk in Informal Housing." Her proposed research project aims to understand and improve fire risk management in informal housing settlements, focusing on India and Australia. The project will involve cross-country studies, workshops with various stakeholders, and thematic analysis to address the gaps in policy-making and practice of fire hazard management, contributing to sustainable urban growth and the implementation of sustainable development goals.
Zara Vermeulen (Master's Student, Stellenbosch University) was awarded a student research grant for her project, "Development of a Green/Biomass Intumescent Paint for Passive Fire Protection." With her research, Zara aims to develop a green intumescent paint using biomass materials for enhanced sustainability in passive fire protection. The project will focus on understanding the fire behavior of biomass materials, developing a biomass-based intumescent paint, and comparing its fire performance and sustainability aspects with traditional intumescent paints.
Weng Jingwen (PhD Student, Department of Architectural Engineering, City University of Hong Kong) was awarded a student research grant for her project, "Fire-protection-oriented Battery Safety Management System Based on Artificial Neural Network." Although lithium-ion batteries are key to the future of electric vehicles, their tendency to overheat and potentially catch fire is a significant challenge. Using a combination of computer simulations and artificial intelligence, this study aims to provide comprehensive solutions for battery fire protection.
Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos (PhD Student, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London) was awarded a student research grant for his project, "Evacuation Trigger Boundaries Applied to the Fire Safety of Rural Communities, with AI Acceleration and Applied to a Community in the 2019 Kincade Fire." The aim of this project is to develop and improve a probabilistic trigger boundary algorithm to assist with long-term wildfire evacuation planning. Ultimately, the algorithm will become a completely machine learning-based tool.
Nik Rus (PhD Student, Department for Research of Fire-safe Sustainable Built Environment, University of Primorska, Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute [ZAG]) was awarded a student research grant for his project, “FireSafePV Materials.” This project will study the effects of different types of roofing materials on the critical gap height between the roofing membrane and the PV panel in a building-applied Photovoltaic (BAPV) installation. Nik ultimately seeks to improve fire safety of BAPV with these experiments. The FRISSBE project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 952395.
Tanmay Vora (PhD Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan) was awarded a student research grant for his project, “Modeling Transport of Firebrands using a Eulerian Multiphase Technique around Structures and Communities.” The goal of this project is to formulate and experimentally verify and validate a novel computational model for firebrand transport that integrates a Eulerian multiphase model in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. It will be implemented using OpenFOAM.
Rocio Cortez (Master student, Texas State University, US) was awarded a student research grant for her project “Integrating Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation into Disaster Loss Reduction Planning.” This project will further empirical and practical understandings of the dynamics that explain wildlife rehabilitation and rescue’s (WRR) capacity to help minimize the consequences of wildfires. It will analyze the conditions and factors that affect WRR’s ability to readily and effectively partake in wildfire response, and assess the nature of information exchange’s influence in wildfire response preparedness via cross-agency communication, coordination, and information exchange.
Marika du Plessis (MEng/PhD student, Stellenbosch University, South Africa) was awarded a student research grant for her project “Experimental and Numerical Testing of Mass Timber Connections Considering Gap Size and Passive Protection.” This project aims to understand if the fire behavior of mass timber connections can be predicted reliably and improved by using passive fire protection intumescent mastics.
Andrea Franchini (PhD student, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, University College London, UK) was awarded a student research grant for his project “A Novel Risk-Based Fire Design Method for Sustainable Structures.” This project is focused on developing an extension to the Maximum Allowable Damage approach using machine learning techniques and on implementing the approach into safe and sustainable structural optimization. Furthermore, the project will apply the proposed computational risk-based design framework to bridge structures.
Waseem Hittini (PhD Student, The University of Queensland, Australia) was awarded a student research grant for his project "Assessment of Flame Spread Models: Level of Complexity of Sub-Models." This project seeks to build a greater understanding of the performance of the sub-models in Computational Fluid Dynamic-Pyrolysis models, with a focus on determining
the capability and source of errors in them.
Xiaoqing Li (Master's Student, University of Science and Technology of China, China) was awarded a student research grant for her project "Thermal Breakage and Fallout of Tempered Glazing System and Its Interaction with Compartment Fire." This project will use experiments and numerical simulations reveal the breakage and fallout mechanism of tempered glass, as well as the influence of sudden ventilation change caused by glass fallout on the fire evolution and entrainment behavior of compartment fire. The end result will be the development of a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model with consideration of glass fallout.
Anoop Warrier (PhD Student, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom) was awarded a student research grant for his project "Externally Venting Flames (EVF) Dynamics and Development in Non-Orthogonal Geometries." This project will investigate the mechanism of external fire spread in curvilinear façade systems and their impact on the building, using both Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling and large-scale experimental methods.
Tony Xiao (PhD Student, University of Sydney, Australia) was awarded a student research grant for his project "Chemically Enhanced Water Mist Suppression of Fires." The overall goal of this project is to develop novel experiments to investigate the use of chemically enhanced water mists (doped with small concentrations of non-toxic metal chemical additives like sodium bicarbonate and/or ferrocene) to extinguish buoyant/turbulent flames typical of compartment fires. The data will be used to advance decision-making and modelling through the development of a chemical effectiveness map and a quantitative database of suppression effectiveness.
Zilong Wang (PhD student, Research Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong/China) received a student research grant for his project “Smart Fire Calorimetry Driven by Image Analysis and Artificial Intelligence.” This project aims to develop a smart fire calorimetry system using fire scene images and artificial intelligence. The outcome of this research will provide a simple and convenient way to measure the fire HRR, which shows great potential in future smart firefighting applications.
Juliette Franqueville (PhD student, UT Fire Research Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin) was awarded a student research grant for her project “Deep-Learning for Flame Characterization in Compartment Fires.” This project aims to develop a low-order model based on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which are machine learning algorithms inspired by biological neural networks, to characterize the effects of vent flows on pool fires in compartment fires. The ANNs training process will leverage transfer learning, which has the potential to make the training of the ANN faster and to produce more accurate flame position predictions.
Yohannes Shewalul (PhD student, Fire Engineering Research Unit, Stellenbosch University, South Africa) was awarded a student research grant for his project “Fire Behavior of Construction Systems Incorporating Waste Materials.” The project will identify commonly used waste materials in construction systems for which fire ratings have not been obtained and conduct experimental fire testing on construction systems incorporating such waste materials. The results of this study hold the potential to inform strategies of the fire service when responding to incidents where large quantities of oil-based recycled materials are encapsulated in walls.
Cheryl A. Marek, P.E. (PhD Candidate in Civil Engineering, University of Maryland) was awarded a student research grant for her project “Causal Factors in the Escalation of Fire Incidents During Naval Ship Maintenance Availabilities.” The project aims to improve industrial fire safety during naval ship maintenance availabilities by assessing why some incipient fire incidents escalate to major fires in order to recommend standardized data reporting inputs and inform program, technical and contractual requirements.
David Morrisset (PhD student, University of Edinburgh Fire Research Centre, UK) was awarded a student research grant for his project “Quantifying the Statistical Uncertainty of Furniture-Scale Fire Testing.” The project investigates the statistical variation in furniture calorimeter testing and will thereby improve the tools available to FPEs and provide a large dataset for a variety of key experimental results, including the heat release rate. Initial results from the project have been published in the July 2022 issue of FPE eXTRA.
Iffah Umairah Zulmajdi (pursuing a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Putra, Malaysia) was awarded a student research grant for her project “A Comparison of Zone and Field Model for the Probabilistic Simulation of NIST Kitchen Fire.” The project assesses whether probabilistic simulation of kitchen fire spread using field models (CFD) can produce better representation of the fire phenomena as compared to using zone models. Drawing on this assessment, the project will determine whether it is useful to invest in probabilistic simulations using a field model, which uses very high resources, or whether it is sufficient to use zone models.
Shaorun Lin from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University was awarded 5K to provide support for his project Megafire Mitigation: A Novel Methodology to Fight the Smouldering Wildfires, which aims to advance and enrich the wildfire-fighting strategy for suppressing smouldering underground wildfires.
Several publications have resulted from this project, including: