The Student Initiatives Fund is accepting applications. The deadline to submit an application is COB Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. Applicants will be notified of their application status by January 26, 2024.


The Student Initiatives Fund is open to project teams consisting of a Johns Hopkins Engineering student lead (undergraduate or graduate), and team members who are JHU students in any school (undergraduate or graduate).

Awardees will be given a liaison from the review committee to keep appraised of their progress throughout the spring semester. Awardees will be required to provide a short video and final report on their project. The final report will include a summary and photos of the project. Awardees may also be asked to present on their project at a future Hopkins Engineering Alumni Leadership Committee meeting.

Successful Proposals Projects

  • Create opportunities for students to build practical, hands-on applications that may solve real-world problems or are provide fun application of engineering knowledge;
  • Are innovative, creative, and self-motivated (i.e., not part of a course or sponsored faculty research);
  • Foster a collaborative environment across Johns Hopkins divisions or build community in the Engineering School, the university, or in the greater Baltimore community.

The Fund Will Not Support

  • Research in your professor’s lab
  • Projects that are required for a course (including senior design, unless as an extension of a required project) or are eligible for academic credit
  • Travel expenses
  • Events comprising a purely social component
  • Student groups’ operating budgets (must be for a specific project or initiative)

Individual students may apply for funding, but preference will be given to group projects. The total funding amount varies each academic year. Projects will receive up to a $2,500 grant; however, proposals with higher budgets may be considered. Students may apply for more than one project per cycle, but only one project per applicant or group will be funded. Students must obtain the support and signature of a faculty adviser.

For questions regarding the fund, please contact [email protected].

Submit Your Application Today

The fund allows engineering students to apply the skills they’ve honed in classrooms and labs and while also using their creativity and problem-solving abilities to pursue new areas of interest. The deadline to submit an application is COB Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. Applicants will be notified of their application status by January 26, 2024.

Past SIF Awardees

Engineers Without Borders Guatemala Team

The Engineers without Borders team traveled to Guatemala to continue a long-term project to implement a water distribution system in the Chicorral community that would be financially, and technically sustainable water system. The project began in 2014 and in 2023, the group returned to install a second water pump and five solar panels to increase the system’s capacity to serve 200 residents.

Glow and Sew

The Glow and Sew team developed a novel, near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) suture to enable surgeons to have constant visualization of a suture line during anastomosis (i.e, the process of connecting tube-like structures in the body). The Glow and Sew suture is coated in fluorescent powder, able to penetrate through the blood and tissue, allowing surgeons to always see where their stitches are.

Hempbrick by JJ Innovative Materials

JJ Innovative Materials developed innovative construction materials that are not only less carbon intensive, but also serve as a carbon capture and storage process, using sustainably sourced materials. Prior to their development, cement, a key component in concrete, accounts for around 8% of global carbon emissions. This new material replaces the use of sand in concrete with hemp hurds.

iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine)

The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team represented Hopkins at the annual synthetic biology competition in Paris that hosted hundreds of universities and students, academics, policy makers, investors, industry representatives, and journalists from around the world. The team developed a comprehensive synthetic biology project to address a real-world problem, applied and advanced scientific understanding, and demonstrated both engineering success and community impact.


ICPredict is developing a machine learning algorithm for predicting intracranial pressure (ICP) non-invasively (a project that is still in progress as of fall 2023). The current gold standard of monitoring ICP is inserting an invasive probe (intraventricular catheter) which requires a hole to be drilled at the base of the skull. This new algorithm will use extracranial vital signs, such as mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), electrocardiogram (EKG), and photoplethysmography (PPG) waveforms, all of which are routinely monitored in the intensive care unit.

Team Toefu

Team Toefu worked to develop an intelligent natural language processing (NLP)-based extension to convert dense and technical electronic health record (EHR) free-text into useful schematics and visuals, to facilitate more effective exchange between patients and healthcare providers. The goal being for such a tool to improve the quality of patient care and safety, and to modernize the electronic medical infrastructure.

Artista versátil

By developing an intuitive, touch-screen-based interface which allowed users to paint in the style of a famous painter, and therefore learn the nuances of a painter’s style, Artists Unlimited worked to democratize art education.


A drawback of widely used neuroscience research imaging is that it is tether-based, and therefore limits animal movement when imaging neural activities on freely moving rodents. EEE developed a novel, head-mounted fiberscope device so that mice can walk and move more freely during the imaging process, thus improving research results.


By integrating hands-on, artificial intelligence project modules into the four core courses of English, history, math, and science, the Hopkins Artificial Intelligence in K-12 Education (HAIKU) program pioneered an innovative teaching model for K-12 students.


The Magnes team constructed a device that allows emergency room doctors to detect the presence of magnets in pediatric patients. This device improved diagnostic accuracy for life-threatening ingestion of various sized/shaped magnets which can cause critical issues, such as bowel perforation and loss of blood flow.

Project Raman

Project Raman created a low-cost Raman spectroscope to enable middle school students and teachers to learn about the diversity of the microscopic world. By allowing the use of frugal science tools to monitor changes in the environment, these communities are now able to participate in a global classroom by engaging and connecting with their similarly engaged peers around the world.


A team of computer science students from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology created a custom search engine—Searchin’—to provide young students with age- or education-appropriate information.


JHU Deliver Bot

Students will design and build an autonomous food delivery robot for use on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus. The robot, which will consist of entirely student-designed systems and software, will conveniently deliver meals to busy students.



Students will attempt to break the world record for the furthest throw of an object by a human (not self-propelled). To accomplish this, they will apply engineering principles in aerodynamics, kinematics, rotational dynamics, as well as computational fluid dynamics and materials selection software, to design an object optimized for human throw.



A team is developing a low-cost, noninvasive patch capable of monitoring opioid levels in sweat.



A group of six third-year undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins University is designing a leak-proof mask that can be used with ordinary CPAP machines to deliver breathing relief to hospitalized COVID-19 patients.


GreenHacks is the first and only sustainability hackathon at Johns Hopkins. The hackathon offers a platform for competitive ideation and creativity to spark innovative and sustainable solution design. Their first virtual, multi-day mini-hackathon was held in May 2020. The hackathon had nearly 60 individuals in attendance, with 12 different teams competing  from JHU and around the world.


Design, Build, Fly at Johns Hopkins

The Design, Build, Fly team planned to build a remote-controlled airplane to fly in the annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Design/Build/Fly intercollegiate design competition, which was scheduled to be held in April 2020 in Wichita, Kansas. In response to the pandemic, the competition shifted to a virtual format and instead judged teams based on their design reports. The JHU team placed 17th out of 101 official submissions.



Bioswift is a student-led design team comprising students from the Whiting School of Engineering and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The team developed FlowMate, an attachment for dry powder inhalers that ensures pediatric patients, as well as adults with limited lung capacity, receive their full dosage of medication in order to alleviate chronic respiratory symptoms



The AstroJays rocketry team is a multidisciplinary group of students that design, build, and launch high-powered rockets. The team is divided into four main subsystems—avionics, propulsion, recovery, structures—that each work on one major sector of the rockets, which are then integrated with each other to produce a finished product.


Through Mini-MedHacks, Baltimore City high school students who are part of MERIT Health Leadership Academy learn about technology in medicine by participating in a one-day simulation of a medical hackathon. Mini-MedHacks is part of MedHacks, a student-run annual hackathon.


Engineers Without Borders at Johns Hopkins

Students in the Johns Hopkins chapter of Engineers Without Borders partner with low-resource communities to improve their daily quality of life through the implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects while developing internationally responsible engineering students. The EWB-JHU team worked on projects in Guatemala and Ecuador—focusing on a bridge, water, and the social needs of several communities.


Hopkins AI Robot Squad

A team of student robotics experts put their artificial intelligence skills to the test at the 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Montreal. Students equipped robots with LIDAR and camera sensors to follow the location of “enemy” robots and demonstrate more precise aiming and targeting of armor packs.