Funding Alert! Opportunities for STEM Education

Funding Alert! Opportunities for STEM Education

The Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program is one of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) cornerstones when it comes to producing research and resources for improving undergraduate education. This core program has been around for quite some time and it is open to application from all institutions of higher education, including 4-year institutions and 2-year community colleges. This is the kind of program where innovative teaching approaches will be quite appealing, as the program has been around for a long time.

Who is eligible to apply?

This opportunity encourages the leadership, partnership, and contributions of individuals who are members of underrepresented groups and/or underserved in STEM education programs and careers. This includes institutions of higher education, research, and education in most fields of science and engineering, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations, and other research organizations. The program is open for two and four year institutions where innovation teaching is happening. Review NSF’s proposal and award policies and procedures guide (PAPPG) for detailed eligibility information.

What are the program details?

The program has three main goals: building knowledge around what works in STEM teaching at the undergraduate level; incorporating evidence-based teaching practices in teaching and learning; and understanding what mechanisms are needed at the institutional level to make changes in teaching and learning work and become sustainable in the long run. There are several types of funding that correspond with those goals.

Grants are primarily divided into two tracks within the IUSE program.

  • Track 1 Engaged Student Learing grants refer to projects exploring a particular teaching approach or multi-disciplinary partnerships. These projects will be in the early stages of implementation.
  • Track 2 Institutional and Community Transformation grants are for mid- to large-scale projects that have robust research plans that build on previous research. Track 2 projects will include elements of institutional transformation and theories of change.

The evaluation elements will be robust and well thought out. While proposed projects will vary in approach and the underlying theory/theories of change identified, promising proposals will recognize that STEM higher education is a complex system and that achieving goals involves analyzing and addressing organizational factors, such as institutional policies and practices or opportunities for professional growth. In terms of budget, projects with a larger scope may be eligible to request larger amounts for up to three or five years of support, depending on the track and project.

With an estimated funding pool of $61,000,000, the IUSE program anticipates funding 135 total awards. This includes 50 awards for Level 1 projects, 30 for Level 2, 15 for capacity-building, and 40 for conferences and workshops.

The program solicitation contains a complete list of allowable activities and project requirements for the different tracks, as well as other supported activities for all tracks. Proposals are due on January 17, 2024.

What if I am ready to apply?

So, what to do if you’re interested in applying to the NSF’s IUSE program? First, you’ll want to find out what is going on in the field and how your project stacks up against that research. Do a bit of homework on the literature where your project would fit and get ready to showcase how your project fits in possibly as an example of evidence-based practices, a testing ground for evidence-based practice, or even an outlier of what the literature outlines. In any of these cases, you will want to make sure you have clear and actionable research objectives that are detailed. One of the often cited drawbacks of research projects is that there isn’t enough detail on the project objectives, activities, or deliverables. So, if you are applying make sure you know the extant research related to your project and that your objectives are as detailed as they can get with a level of clarity easy for anyone to grasp.

To gain more insight into what kind of projects get NSF’s IUSE funding, use this map of recently awarded IUSE projects.

  • Review the full program solicitation for additional details and allowable activities for each project type.
  • Plan to attend IUSE: Office Hours to discuss questions with NSF program officers;
  • Review frequently asked questions from previous funding cycles;
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have a profile. You can check your SAM status here:
  • Confirm your organization’s unique entity identifier (UEI). The federal government recently transitioned to a new system for applicants utilizing a UEI instead of requiring DUNS numbers. All agencies with existing SAM registration have been automatically assigned a UEI. New applicants will request a UEI as part of the SAM registration process. You can find more information about the UEI transition here.

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services (AGS) today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Julie Assel, GPC, President/CEO, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you with a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start preparing for next year! NSF also has a variety of other programs and funding opportunities available that might be a good fit. The office’s website has ample resources, webinars, and descriptions of available or upcoming opportunities.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a Federal Agency Training Series in 2023! The series is designed to provide insight into federal agencies beyond the typical reading of the solicitation by program officers and provide details you need to be successful. AGS also offers several on-demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

AGS blogs, funding alerts, and trainings are aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs

Discover more from Assel Grant Services

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading