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Northwestern University

Norman Design Fund

The Norman Design Fund provides small, rapid allocations of funds to support student activities in human-centered design (HCD). The goal of the fund is to enhance and encourage human-centered design work by Northwestern students.

Applications are open to ALL students at Northwestern, with priority given to students as follows:

  1. Undergraduates taking Segal design classes or certificate programs
  2. Graduate students without access to any funded project support
  3. All others

The funds may be used for human-centered design projects or for attendance at relevant design conferences. Conferences must have a reasonable focus on human-centered design to be considered. Funds may be used for travel, conference registration fees, and project costs.

Most grants are relatively small ($100 to $1,000).

How to Apply

Click here to complete the online application

Requests must be submitted at least one week prior to any expected expenditure. The Design Fund Committee typically responds within 1-2 weeks of submission.

All proposals must contain a brief description of the procedures used for human-centered design, including observational studies and iterative prototype-test methods. Straight engineering or art-based (styling) design projects will not be funded.

Fund recipients must:

  1. Work with Segal Financial Coordinator to determine how to pay for your expenses according to University policy.  When possible, Northwestern will be directly charged, but you may need to spend personal funds and request reimbursement.
  2. Submit a short report (less than one page) about the project and the value received before any reimbursement will be given.
  3. Attribute a credit to the Norman Design Fund and the Segal Design Institute on any project presentations or reports created.
  4. Spend the funds by the end of the Northwestern fiscal year (August 31).  Any funds not spent by August 31 will be forfeited. The recipient may re-apply for funds during the following fiscal year.
  5. (Only for students using Norman funds to travel abroad) Northwestern's Office of Global Safety and Security requires that all students traveling abroad on University-sponsored or funded trips contact their office before traveling, in order to comply with University policies related to Northwestern-sponsored trips and to take advantage of University resources such as travel insurance.

For questions about the Norman Design Fund or the application process please email

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