Global Reach News Article

The SFPE Foundation's Global Reach 

The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) established the SFPE Educational and Scientific Foundation in 1979. Although the SFPE Foundation is a charitable organization incorporated in the United States, the Foundation's goals and reach are global. We are continuously trying to ensure we achieve this, and we welcome any interest globally for awards, research grants, donations, or other forms of engagement.  

Since 2020, the SFPE Foundation has disbursed 22 Student Research Grants and Awards to students. Of those awarded: 

  • 32% went to students based in Europe, 
  • 32% went to students based in North America,  
  • 20% went to students based in Asia, and, 
  • 16% went to students based in Africa. 

    In 2021, 41% of SFPE Chapter giving and at least 12% of individual giving to the SFPE Foundation came from donors who live outside the United States. In that same year, five awards and research grants were bestowed on fire engineering students in Malaysia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, while the Foundation also awarded a large research grant to a research team from the Fire Research Group and the University of Canterbury (both based in New Zealand). Last year also witnessed the launch of the SFPE Foundation’s newest student award, the Frederick W. Mowrer Global Scholar Award, which supports students building fire engineering expertise in developing countries with rapidly expanding infrastructure. Students – and the wider field of fire safety science and fire protection engineering –  benefit from these grants and awards because they help generate and disseminate new research around the world.  

    The SFPE Foundation facilitates this important work by funding research that produces globally applicable knowledge, for instance, projects on furniture-scale fire testing or the human physiological response to fire exposure, as well as opportunities for scholars to present their results at SFPE events around the world. Additionally, the Foundation hosts global collaborations to share resources and knowledge in the pursuit of tackling global problems through the Grand Challenges Initiative and the Wildland-Urban Interface Working Group Initiative, both announced in 2022 with participation from individuals based in numerous countries. This work helps fulfill the Foundation's goal to facilitate international collaboration to advance the technical needs of our profession. 

    Global dissemination of the research resulting from SFPE Foundation-supported projects takes a variety of forms. For instance, Natalia Flores Quiroz from Stellenbosch University in South Africa received a Student Research Grant in 2020 for her work on forensic investigation procedures for informal settlement fires. This work is accessible via several publications in journals like Fire and the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. Another example is Iffah Umairah Zulmajdi's (Universiti Putra Malaysia) project on comparing models for the probabilistic simulation of kitchen fire spread, which was presented at the SFPE International Conference on Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods. Additionally, the FPE eXTRA has published initial results from 2021 Student Grant Recipient David Morrisset’s (University of Edinburgh Fire Research Centre, UK) project in its July 2022 issue. Most recently, the Foundation launched the new Research in Fire Engineering Webinar Series to bring free virtual education to individuals around the world, featuring cutting-edge research from our grantees and members of the Foundation’s global Academic Leadership Council. 

    Last year the Foundation welcomed Leslie Marshall, Ph.D., as SFPE Foundation Director. Leslie has been presenting virtually to SFPE Chapters across the globe to help raise awareness of what the SFPE Foundation offers. Please reach out to Aimee Zube, Donor Relations Manager, at if you are interested in scheduling a presentation for your chapter.   

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