Grants for FUSE 2020-2022

FUSE is excited to announce 2020 studio grants for schools in several new geographic areas, including regions of North Carolina, Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska, thanks to the generosity of Smithfield Foods!

This new partnership between Smithfield Foods and Northwestern University is part of Smithfield’s long-standing commitment to education and strengthening communities through increased learning opportunities.

Part 1 of the application is available below; upon completion, eligible schools will be invited to complete Part 2, due February 24, 2020.

For more information about FUSE and this opportunity, please see below. Be sure to check out our FAQ page, too!

What is FUSE?

FUSE is a STEAM education program for students in 4th-12th grade, designed to engage all learners in a variety of formal and informal spaces. FUSE ignites and nurtures STEAM exploration through an innovative challenge-based approach and studio-like environment, where students are encouraged to direct their own learning.

FUSE Challenges

The learning activities of the program, are designed to introduce STEAM concepts and skills in a fun and engaging way. Students choose challenges they want to work on and progress at their own pace. Challenges are based in STEAM topics including architecture, 3D design and printing, robotics, music, animation and more.

Research-based Design

FUSE is a research-based program developed in Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. Our outcomes demonstrate that in FUSE, students develop a growth mindset and 21st century skills (including problem-solving, communication and innovation).

FUSE Website

Our youth-driven approach to STEAM exploration is supported by a robust web platform that allows students to access instructions and video tutorials on-demand, helps youth track their progress, and stores their work between sessions.

The FUSE Grant

This grant will provide awarded schools two years of the FUSE program, for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, including:

  • Site license and materials for the FUSE Innovate package (30 challenges), which supports up to 30 students at a time and can be offered multiple periods per day (a $20,000 value.)

  • All equipment and materials needed for the program, including two 3D printers (Prusa i3Mk3’s), a vinyl cutter (Cameo Silhouette) and all challenge kit materials.

  • website access (hosts the learning activities, help, and studio management tools) and accounts for unlimited youth and up to eight facilitators.

  • Professional development: two-day training for teachers and administrators from selected schools in summer 2020

  • Year-round implementation support from the FUSE team.

  • Renewal fee for the 2020-2021 school year ($6,000 value), covering licenses, website access, etc.

  • $800 towards materials and new challenges to re-supply Studio materials over the two years.


Smithfield Foods is committed to supporting the vitality of the communities where its employees live, work, and raise their families. Through their generosity, we currently have grant opportunities in multiple geographic locations:

  • Southeast North Carolina (10 grants available, with priority consideration given to applications from schools in Duplin, Sampson, Bladen, Wilson, and Lenoir counties)
  • Sioux City, Iowa & Sioux Falls, South Dakota area (5 grants available)
  • Crete/Omaha, Nebraska area (5 grants available)

School Requirements

To successfully apply for this opportunity, your school will need to commit to providing the following:


FUSE facilitators are usually classroom teachers or librarians who are willing to learn new technologies alongside students. This person does not have to be a STEAM expert; FUSE provides professional development training and ongoing support to teachers who facilitate FUSE. The grant supports up to eight facilitators in a school, and we invite all stakeholders from a granted school to attend our summer training.

1:1 computers

PC’s, Macs, and Chromebooks are all compatible with our program, as long as they have at least 4GB of RAM available.


A room with plenty of work space for individuals and groups, at tables and on the floor.

Fast Internet

Connection capable of supporting multiple simultaneous video streams.

IT Support

Robust IT staff or department to help with software installation and technical troubleshooting.

FUSE Grant Application Request Form

Fill out this form to confirm your school's eligibility for our 2020-21 FUSE grant application. You will receive the full grant application via email from the FUSE Program Director. If you need more information about FUSE, please review How FUSE Works.

Want to learn more about FUSE?

Check out our video channel, which hosts short videos on facilitating FUSE, impacts of FUSE on students, and our district and corporate partnerships.