By Dave Schafer The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is awarding $1.3 million in grants, scholarships, and special awards through its Education Foundation, bringing the foundation's four-year total to more than $5 million, SME says. Dearborn, Mich.-based SME's funding includes nearly $1 million to five colleges and universities, $235,000 in student scholarships, $5,000 in cash awards for university faculty through the foundation's Special Award Programs, and grants providing seed money for the development and definition of research projects in manufacturing and innovative subject areas. In 1998 the education foundation began awarding the grants and scholarships to "support the transformation of manufacturing/engineering curriculum" in response to industry cries for competent engineers, says Barbara Gaston, a SME spokesperson. The grants are awarded to universities that, with the help of industry partners, address SME-identified competency gaps. "Before, it was kind of a silo effect because industry people and schools were working independent of one another," Gaston says. "This grant-funding program forces industry and formal educators to work together in a collaborative effort to transform the manufacturing curriculum."