Funding Alert! Training Opportunities for STEM Education

Health Resources and Services Administration

Attention institutions of higher education and community colleges in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields! The National Science Foundation (NSF) is now accepting proposals for its Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) program. The goals of the program are to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education and to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rate of students pursuing degrees in STEM. Applications for this program are due September 30, 2022.

Who is eligible to apply?

This opportunity is for institutions of higher education (IHEs) offering undergraduate STEM programs that result in certificates or degrees and that have an enrollment of at least 25% Hispanic full-time, undergraduate students. With three different tracks, NSF will fund institutions new to NSF or Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI) including community colleges. Collaborations between IHE applicants and community colleges are incentivized.

What are the program details?

The intended outcomes of the HSI Program include broadening the participation of historically underrepresented students in STEM and expanding pathways to continued STEM education and integration into the STEM workforce. With an estimated funding pool of $22,500,000, the FY23 HSI program anticipates funding 30 to 60 total awards. There are three tracks for applicants:

Track 1: Planning or Pilot Projects (PPP): The PPP track seeks to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at less-resourced institutions and increase these institutions’ ability to compete for NSF funding from other programs. It is designed to link with the other two tracks. This is for institutions that are new to NSF or are PUIs. The program estimates funding 20-40 three-year-long PPPs at up to $200,000 for single institutions, $300,000 for collaborative projects, and an additional $100,000 incentive to partner with one or more community colleges.

Planning projects are designed to undertake an undergraduate STEM education institution-wide assessment and catalyze the necessary collaborations/partnerships. These activities will inform the development of an HSI proposal for the other two project tracks. Planning projects should address access to STEM courses and degrees based on the institution’s current STEM undergraduate program capacity and long-term plans for building STEM education programs.

Pilot projects are designed to achieve a short-term, well-defined goal to enhance the quality and availability of undergraduate STEM education degree programs and certifications and/or to address challenges to broadening undergraduate participation in STEM. Importantly, pilot projects may also develop fundamental STEM education research capacity on student learning at HSIs, discovering effective means for diversifying and increasing participation in STEM. All PPP projects must include project evaluation and dissemination components.

Track 2: Implementation and Evaluation Projects (IEP): Projects in the IEP track design and implement a new educational practice or practices, and/or adapt or replicate evidence-based practices that are already known to be effective. The focus of the IEP should be supported by institutional data showing STEM undergraduate education areas that need improvement. All HSI institution types are encouraged to apply, especially PUIs (including community colleges). The program estimates funding for up to 15 three- to five-year-long IEPs at up to $500,000 for single institutions, $800,000 for collaborative projects, and an additional $200,000 incentive to partner with one or more community colleges.

IEPs may conduct research that promotes one or more of the HSI program goals, including research on indicators of effective and successful undergraduate STEM education at HSIs. These projects must include both project evaluation and dissemination components, as well as an education research component. The IEP strategies are expected to be institutionalized and sustainable.

Track 3: Institutional Transformation Projects (ITP): This track supports institution-wide structural or systemic changes to enhance undergraduate STEM education at the proposing HSI. The ITP must be grounded in STEM education research and broadening participation research. It should propose institutional infrastructure and policy changes that encourage and support evidence-based practices that enhance student outcomes in STEM at the proposing HSI. The program estimates funding for three to seven five-year-long ITPs at up to $3,000,000 each.

ITPs undertake research (including foundational research) that improves our understanding of how to build HSI institutional capacity in STEM. Such research should result in strategic understanding of how the multiple components of the HSI program goals work synchronously to advance STEM education. All institution types are encouraged to apply, especially PUIs. Note that institutions with an active award are not eligible to apply to this track.

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.

What makes a project a good fit? Proposals will be evaluated against two criteria: intellectual merit and broader impacts. Intellectual merit encompasses the project’s potential to advance knowledge. Broader impacts encompass the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. The broader impacts may be accomplished through research or activities directly related to specific projects. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to the achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to, the full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

In addition, proposals should align with one or more of the HSI program goals to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs; increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of all undergraduate students pursuing STEM degrees at HSIs; promote research on engaged student learning at HSIs and about what it takes to diversify and increase participation in STEM effectively; incentivize institutional or community transformation; and build STEM education research capacity at HSIs.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • Review the full program solicitation for additional details and allowable activities for each project type.
  • Confirm your institution’s eligibility by reviewing the legislation and its definitions here.
  • 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:

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 Grants Training Series in 2022! The series is designed to support leaders at institutions of higher education before and during the application process. 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.

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

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Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

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