Former program officer highlights NSF STEM education funding opportunities

K3815 Ecology Research Center

On Tuesday, November 4, Joyce Fernandes, professor of biology at Miami University and a former program officer with the National Science Foundation (NSF), led a workshop on NSF funding opportunities for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education as part of OARS’ fall workshop series. Following are descriptions of various NSF programs that support education in STEM fields. In addition to funding opportunities for new projects, this list also includes STEM education supplements available for current NSF awards. While this list is fairly comprehensive, NSF programs are constantly evolving and there are a number of cross cutting programs not listed below. For a comprehensive and up-to-date list of all NSF programs, visit NSF’s website.

Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)

The goal of the DUE is to promote excellence in undergraduate education by promoting leadership, supporting curriculum development, preparing the workforce, and fostering connections within the research community.

  • Advanced Technological Education (ATE) is primarily for two-year colleges with a focus on education of technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels.
  • Cooperative Activity with Department of Energy Programs for Education and Human Resource Development (request for supplement) is a cooperative program between NSF and DoE that supports students and faculty from eligible NSF projects who are accepted as participants in one of four DoE initiatives that provide hands-on research opportunities in DoE national laboratories during the summer: Science Undergraduate Research Internships (SULI), Faculty and Student Teams (FaST), Community College Institute of Science and Technology (CCI), and Pre-Service Teacher (PST) Internships.
  • EHR Core Research is a cross cutting program to help synthesize, build and/or expand research foundations in four areas (STEM learning, STEM learning environments, STEM workforce development, and broadening participation in STEM).
  • Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) is designed to support evidence-based and evidence-generating approaches to understanding STEM learning; to designing, testing, and studying instruction and curricular change; to wide dissemination and implementation of best practices; and to broadening participation of individuals and institutions in STEM fields. This program currently features two tracks: Engaged Student Learning and Institutional/Community Transformation. Formerly called CCLI (Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement).
  • Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) in Engineering aims to introduce nanoscale science, engineering, and technology through a variety of interdisciplinary approaches into undergraduate engineering education.
  • NSF Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars (DTS) recognizes and rewards individuals who have contributed significantly to the scholarship of their discipline and to the education of students in STEM, and exemplify the ability to integrate their research and educational activities.
  • NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) makes grants to institutions of higher education to support scholarships for academically talented students demonstrating financial need, enabling them to enter the STEM workforce or STEM graduate school following completion of an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate-level degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics disciplines.
  • Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program consists of two tracks: the Noyce Scholarship Track and the NSF Teaching Fellowship/Master Teaching Fellowship Track. The Noyce Scholarship Track provides funds to institutions of higher education to support scholarships, stipends, and academic programs for undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees who earn a teaching credential and commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts. The NSF Teaching Fellowship/Master Teaching Fellowship Track provides funding to support STEM professionals who enroll as NSF Teaching Fellows in master’s degree programs leading to teacher certification by providing academic courses, professional development, and salary supplements while they are fulfilling a four-year teaching commitment in a high-need school district.
  • STEM-C Partnerships: MSP (STEM-CP: MSP) is a major research and development effort of two NSF Directorates and targets proposals in four areas: Community Enterprise for STEM Teaching and Learning, Current Issues Related to STEM Content, Identifying and Cultivating Exceptional Talent, and K-12 STEM Teacher Preparation.
  • Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) supports efforts to create, adapt, and disseminate new learning materials and teaching strategies to reflect advances both in STEM disciplines and in what is known about teaching and learning.

 Division of Graduate Education (DGE)

The following programs are designed to support and promote new ideas on graduate education in STEM fields.

  • EHR Core Research: see DUE section above
  • Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.
  • National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program is designed to catalyze and advance cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in high priority areas, prepare STEM graduate students more effectively for successful careers within or outside academe, and develop models and knowledge that will promote transformative improvements in graduate education.

Specialized information for K-12 educators

The following programs provide either direct (i.e., from NSF) or indirect (i.e., from an awardee institution) funding for students at this level or identify programs that focus on educational developments for this group such as curricula development, training or retention.

  • Advanced Technological Education (ATE): see DUE section above
  • Arctic Research Opportunities provides educational opportunities for Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Fellows, K-12 Educators to conduct research about the Arctic. Arctic research includes field and modeling studies, data analysis, and synthesis about the arctic region.
  • Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) supports interdisciplinary research that examines human and natural system processes and the complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse scales. Research projects to be supported by CNH must include analyses of four different components: (1) the dynamics of a natural system; (2) the dynamics of a human system; (3) the processes through which the natural system affects the human system; and (4) the processes through which the human system affects the natural system.
  • Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) funds foundational and applied research projects addressing the development, implementation, and dissemination of innovative strategies, tools, and models for engaging students to be aware of STEM and cognate careers, and to pursue formal school-based and informal out-of-school educational experiences to prepare for such careers. ITEST supports projects that: (1) increase students’ awareness of STEM and cognate careers; (2) motivate students to pursue the appropriate education pathways for STEM and cognate careers; and/or (3) provide students with technology-rich experiences that develop disciplinary-based knowledge and practices, and non-cognitive skills (e.g., critical thinking and communication skills) needed for entering STEM workforce sectors.
  • Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Programsee DUE section above

Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)

The mission of DRL is to advance theory, method, measurement, development, and application in STEM education. The Division seeks to advance both early, promising innovations as well as larger-scale adoptions of proven educational innovations.

  • Advanced Technological Education (ATE)see DUE section above
  • Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and develop understandings of deeper learning by participants. The AISL program supports six types of projects: (1) Pathways, (2) Research in Service to Practice, (3) Innovations in Development, (4) Broad Implementation, (5) Conferences, Symposia, and Workshops, and (6) Science Learning + Proposals.
  • Cooperative Activity with Department of Energy Programs for Education and Human Resource Development (request for supplement) is a cooperative program between NSF and DoE that supports students and faculty from eligible NSF projects who are accepted as participants in one of four DoE initiatives that provide hands-on research opportunities in DoE national laboratories during the summer: Science Undergraduate Research Internships (SULI), Faculty and Student Teams (FaST), Community College Institute of Science and Technology (CCI), and Pre-Service Teacher (PST) Internships.
  • Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12) invites proposals that address immediate challenges that are facing preK-12 STEM education as well as those that anticipate radically different structures and functions of pre-K 12 teaching and learning. The DRK-12 program has four major research and development strands: (1) Assessment; (2) Learning; (3) Teaching; and (4) Implementation Research.
  • EHR Core Researchsee DUE section above
  • Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST): see specialized information for K-12 educators section above
  • Promoting Research and Innovation in Methodologies for Evaluation (PRIME) seeks to support research on evaluation with special emphasis on: (1) exploring innovative approaches for determining the impacts and usefulness of STEM education projects and programs; (2) building on and expanding the theoretical foundations for evaluating STEM education and workforce development initiatives, including translating and adapting approaches from other fields; and (3) growing the capacity and infrastructure of the evaluation field. STEM-C Partnerships: MSP (STEM-CP: MSP): The STEM-C (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, including Computing) Partnerships program is a major research and development effort of two NSF Directorates and targets proposals in four areas: Community Enterprise for STEM Teaching and Learning, Current Issues Related to STEM Content, Identifying and Cultivating Exceptional Talent, and K-12 STEM Teacher Preparation.

NSF Innovation Corps

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) is a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects.

  • I-Corps Teams are composed of academic researchers, student entrepreneurs and business mentors–participate in the I-Corps curriculum. The curriculum is administered via online instruction and on-site activities through one of several I-Corps Nodes.
  • I-Corps Sites catalyze additional groups to explore potential I-Corps Team projects and other entrepreneurial opportunities that build on basic research.

NSF supplements

Many of the NSF directorates support supplements to existing NSF awards. The supplements listed below are supported by the NSF Biological Directorate and may be supported by other NSF directorates. If you are uncertain if your program supports a supplement, contact your NSF Program Officer.

  • Research Experience for Teachers (RET) facilitate professional development of K-12 science teachers through research experience at the cutting edge of science. The Division is particularly interested in encouraging its researchers to build mutually rewarding partnerships with teachers at inner city schools and less well endowed school districts.
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) enable undergraduate students to participate in NSF supported research. They provide summer or calendar year stipends for the students and possibly modest supplies for the undergraduate project. The students must be US citizens or permanent residents and may not receive REU support after graduating.
  • Research Opportunity Awards (ROA) enable faculty from primarily undergraduate colleges to participate in NSF supported research projects. They can provide support (e.g. salary, per diem, and travel funds) for summer research or during sabbatical leave.

 

List compiled by Joyce Fernandes. Program information copied from NSF’s website.

Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s