We are soliciting proposals for molecular simulation modules to be developed with support from a CCLI grant from the National Science Foundation.

The aim of a molecular-simulation module is to provide a microscopic perspective on macroscopic phenomena with the purpose of improving the instruction of topics often encountered in engineering and science curricula. The teaching of thermodynamics, transport, materials and other courses often requires students to develop familiarity and understanding of macroscale phenomena that might be more intuitively understood by considering their origins in molecular-scale behaviors. This connection is difficulty to make formally, but with judicious use of molecular simulation such intuition might be gained. With simulation the students may interact with and observe molecular phenomena and conduct “measurements” that can then be interpreted with the macroscopic tools taught in their classes.

We think that the best source of ideas for such modules would come from the community of engineers and scientists who are engaged in research and education. The problem is that this group often lacks the skills or interest needed to develop a robust, user-friendly, and pedagogically sound molecular simulation module. Our solution to this problem is to team with these parties to do the development needed to design, produce, and assess the module in the classroom. You provide the idea and background information and with your guidance we develop the module.

Thus we are requesting proposals from the engineering and science community for ideas and assistance in developing new molecular simulation modules. Our NSF CCLI grant is structured to permit us to award up to $5000 for the support of the efforts of such “module consultants” whose proposals are selected for development. These funds are paid directly to the consultant, as a fee, and are not awarded the consultant's institution (unless so requested).

Definition of a module

A module comprises an interactive, graphically oriented molecular simulation, and supporting material to help instructor and student to use module. This material includes

The interactive molecular simulation will be developed by personnel at the University at Buffalo, while development of the supporting material is the responsibility of the module consultant.

Some (incomplete) examples may be found at the etomica module page

Module-consultant responsibilities

The module consultants are expected to commit to the following tasks.

Module development activities should be completed within the six months following the proposal selection, and assessment activities will take place in the six months following the completion of module development.

Suggested themes

We are accepting proposals on any topic that is suitable to the general aims of providing microscopic insight on macroscopic behavior. To fix ideas however, we encourage proposals that address one of the following topics.

Content of proposal

The module proposal should address all of the following questions.

There is no page limit on proposals, but we do not expect them to be lengthy. Five pages is likely to be sufficient. Proposals should include be accompanied by a brief biographical sketch of the PI.

Selection criteria

Modules will be selected for development by a committee of CACHE trustees in consultation with an expert on science and engineering pedagogy. Specific criteria to be considered include the following.

Up to two modules will be selected for development in any solicitation period.


Module proposals will be accepted from anyone having teaching responsibilities at the undergraduate or graduate level in engineering or science. A single person may submit up to three separate module proposals.

Submission instructions and deadline

Submissions may be made in the form of a Word- or PDF-formatted file. The file should be submitted via email to A Word-formatted proposal template may be found here. All submissions will be acknowledged.

Solicitations for this round of modules will be accepted until October 15, 2009. Subsequent solicications, if any, will await further funding of the project.

This module-development project is an activity of the CACHE Corporation.

Etomica is dedicated to the memory of Bryan Mihalick.

Department of Chemical Engineering | Center for Computational Research | University of Buffalo |
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences | Contact Etomica Support
This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation and performed in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Buffalo.