ASNT recognizes and rewards research and scholarship conducted by individuals and organizations through existing programs. However, our impact through these programs is minimal due to the limited scope of our investments. We will expand research and scholarship in nondestructive testing (NDT) by creating and endowing an ASNT Foundation, developing a focused research and development agenda, awarding sponsored research grants, establishing endowed scholarships and faculty positions, and developing a system for obtaining funding to sustain the foundation. This pillar builds upon the advocacy objectives described in Pillar #4 because it will contribute to awareness of the NDT field within education and government institutions.
ASNT’s research and scholarship programs will advance the body of knowledge and practice of nondestructive testing, and increase awareness and interest in the field for researchers, teachers, and students by leading applied research and scholarship in the field.
Our strategies for expanding research and scholarship in the field of nondestructive testing center initially around creation and sustainment of a foundation, which for the purposes of this plan is termed “the ASNT Foundation.” Foundations are a common strategy for membership societies, as noted by several of our peer societies. They have had sustained foundations for more than 20 years and have had specific and measurable success at increasing scholarship in the field and addressing important workforce-related challenges. ASNT is now in a financially viable position to fund and sustain its foundation.
For the Foundation to be effective, it will also need thought leadership from within the field to lead and guide the Foundation’s agenda. These C-suite level individuals will be recruited from the field and appointed to a Board of Trustees (by ASNT’s Board of Directors) where they will identify research objectives and endowment plans, and lead fundraising activities.
A second key strategy is to endow named scholarships, fellowships, and faculty positions within the academic community. Named scholarships and fellowships are a common way to build name recognition and awareness within the public as students compete for funds to help with trade school or university expenses. Named faculty positions are similarly an excellent way to build awareness in the research community; the named chair essentially becomes a walking billboard advertising ASNT.
Our third strategy enables the foundation to be sustained financially and includes establishing fundraising and grant-seeking systems. Given that ASNT has limited institutional experience with such matters, this strategy will rely upon third-party entities who provide such services under contract to small foundations such as ours.
- Endow the ASNT Foundation to support continuing operations (in an amount to be determined) by 30 June 2022. Funds will be drawn from ASNT’s unrestricted reserves.
- Establish the ASNT Foundation to house our research and scholarship programs by 31 March 2022. This includes creating the 501(c)(3) entity, appointing a Board of Trustees, and creating a business plan.
- Develop a comprehensive research agenda to advance the technology, methodology, and techniques of nondestructive testing by 30 September 2022.
- Develop a plan for endowing trade school and undergraduate scholarships, graduate research fellowships, faculty fellowships, and named faculty positions at selected universities by 31 December 2022.
- Create a fundraising, grant-seeking, and sponsorship plan to sustain long-term research and scholarship by 31 March 2023.
- Increase scholarship and research awards 200%, from $150,000 in FY21 to $450,000 in FY26. This does not include endowments.
- Establish a named faculty position in NDT by 31 December 2026.