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Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR) - Development and Implementation Tier for Engaged Student Learning and Institution and Community Transformation

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, IHEs, Agencies,
and Individuals to Enhance STEM Undergraduate Learning

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Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

12/11/18 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time


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Grants to USA nonprofits, for-profits, IHEs, government agencies, and individuals to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education. Unaffiliated individual applicants must contact program staff prior to applying. The goal of this program is to increase diversity and interest in the STEM disciplines, prepare students for careers in science, and improve STEM educational outcomes.


The IUSE: EHR program envisions a future where all undergraduate students are fully engaged in their STEM learning, within institutions of higher education deeply committed to the broad use of practices of teaching and learning that are rooted in a solid research base of demonstrated effectiveness. Towards this vision, the program recognizes the key role faculty play both as creators of innovative learning materials and teaching approaches, and implementers of promising practices. To achieve this vision, the IUSE: EHR program will promote the development, use, and testing of instructional practices and curricular innovations that engage and improve student learning and retention in STEM, and will catalyze efforts to transform institutions and communities to facilitate the application of highly effective STEM teaching methods.

The National Science Foundation is committed to agency-wide investments to increase the numbers, to broaden the diversity, and to improve the preparation of STEM professionals through undergraduate education. Projects supported by IUSE: EHR can serve to build evidence, adding to the literature on what works and the conditions under which success is achieved. Equally important, projects can serve to generate new knowledge about how to continue to transform undergraduate STEM teaching and learning. Moreover, projects can lead to understanding and application of improved practices at an institution-wide scale, and sustenance of such applications across and within discipline-specific communities. Indeed, transferability and propagation are critical aspects for IUSE: EHR projects and should be addressed throughout a project's lifetime by ensuring attention to designing materials and practices for use in a wide variety of institutions. Principal Investigators are encouraged to consider the value of the project from the perspective of the end users as well as the relationships, partners, and structures needed to sustain the improvement on a wide scale.

IUSE: EHR supports a broad range of projects, including: research and development of innovative learning resources; studies to understand the impact of such resources; strategies to implement effective instruction in a department or multiple departments, within or across institutions; faculty development projects; design and testing of instruments for measuring student outcomes; and proposals for untested and unconventional activities that could have a high impact on STEM teaching and learning. Included among such projects are workshops and conferences that explore revolutionary ideas to improve undergraduate STEM education, proposals to increase the diversity of the institutions and faculty participating in the IUSE: EHR enterprise, and efforts involving collaborations of education researchers and discipline scientists. This range of projects ensure that undergraduate STEM education benefits simultaneously from cutting-edge discipline-based STEM research, educational research and a healthy interaction of STEM practitioners and education researchers. In planning a project and building the research team, proposers are reminded that the expectation for proposals submitted in response to the IUSE-EHR solicitation is that there will be new knowledge generated through an educational research study that poses one or more significant questions and uses a research design that permits direct investigation of the questions. Indeed, through all of its projects, the IUSE: EHR program recognizes and respects the variety of discipline-specific challenges and opportunities facing STEM faculty as they strive to incorporate results from educational research into classroom practice while working with education research colleagues and social science learning scholars to advance knowledge and adoption of evidence-based teaching and learning practices. Results and findings of IUSE: EHR projects, in turn, contribute to NSF's and EHR's larger themes that focus attention on STEM workforce development, STEM literacy across the population, and increasing participation and persistence in STEM, especially by members of underrepresented groups.

Toward these ends the program features two tracks: (1) Engaged Student Learning and (2) Institutional and Community Transformation. Two tiers of projects exist within each track: (i) Exploration and Design and (ii) Development and Implementation.

Program Tracks:

Engaged Student Learning:

This track focuses on design, development, and research studies that involve the creation, exploration, or implementation of tools, resources, and models that show particular promise for increasing the engagement of undergraduate students in their STEM learning and lead to measurable and lasting learning gains. Projects are encouraged to form collaborations among STEM disciplinary researchers, education researchers, and cognitive scientists so that their projects can best leverage what is known about how people learn and contribute to the growth of that body of knowledge. In other words, projects are expected to be both evidence-based and knowledge-generating. The undergraduate audience for IUSE projects includes students at two- and four-year schools, both declared and undeclared STEM majors, students whose courses of study require solid skills and knowledge of STEM principles, and students seeking to fulfill a general education requirement in STEM.

Recognizing disciplinary differences and priorities, NSF's investment in research and development in undergraduate STEM education encompasses a range of approaches. These approaches include: assessment/metrics of learning and practice; education research; faculty learning through professional development; learning environments; and the use of co-curricular activities that increase student motivation and persistence in STEM. Both individually and integrated in a range of combinations, these approaches can lead to outcomes including: developing the STEM and STEM- related workforce; advancing the disciplinary field; broadening participation in STEM; educating a STEM-literate populace; improving K-12 STEM education through undergraduate pre-service STEM teacher preparation courses and curricula; encouraging life-long learning; and building capacity in higher education. Proposals should demonstrate a solid grounding in relevant literature on STEM teaching and learning and should include an evaluation plan that provides formative and summative assessment of the effectiveness of the project in achieving its goals.

Institutional and Community Transformation:

This track supports projects that use innovative approaches to increase the use of highly effective, evidence-based STEM teaching and learning, curricular, and co-curricular practices in institutions of higher education or across/within disciplinary communities. These projects may be proposed by an institution or set of institutions; alternatively, community proposals may be submitted through professional communities, including discipline- based professional societies and networks or organizations that represent institutions of higher education. Projects are expected to be both evidence-based and knowledge-generating. Competitive proposals pertaining to institutional and community transformation will include a description of the theory of change that is guiding the work proposed and will test hypotheses about transforming undergraduate teaching and learning in STEM by examining the impact of deliberate processes of change. Useful theories of change typically include a description of the problem or a plan to develop information about the problem to be addressed; the goals to be achieved by the proposed project; the processes, interventions, or strategies that will enable the proposing institution or community to meet these goals; a rationale for why these processes are likely to enable the achievement of the stated goals; and indication of how the proposer will assess whether the goals have been met. It is expected that, in presenting a theory of change, proposals will be informed by research literature and theoretical perspectives concerning change that are relevant to the goals and context presented in the proposal.

While proposed projects will vary in approach and theories of change, promising proposals will also recognize that STEM higher education is a complex system, and that achieving change goals involves analyzing and addressing the relevance and impact of critical organizational factors (e.g., faculty reward systems, opportunities for professional growth, and institutional policies and processes) that could impede or facilitate progress toward the stated goals. For example, support from key administrative leaders, ranging from presidents and provost, to deans and department chairs, is often an important factor in affecting the development, impact, and sustainability of change efforts at the institutional level.

Applicants may apply for IUSE: EHR grants to engage in institutional transformation planning efforts, starting with research or surveys on how to increase the value accorded evidence-based instruction within the institution. Projects may focus on whole institutions, on departments or colleges within an institution, or on networks or groups of institutions. For example, projects may seek to transform high-enrollment, lower-division courses, or may implement efforts in multiple courses within a department or a college or in a particular disciplinary area. Projects may use technology and distance education methods (or hybrid designs) when supported by evidence of potential effectiveness. Faculty learning through professional development or leadership development for pedagogical and curricular innovation could also be important considerations for this track. Community Transformation projects should be similarly organized as appropriate for the discipline(s) involved.

A competitive proposal will include an evaluation plan that provides formative feedback to guide the development of the project and summative assessment of the effectiveness of the project in achieving its goals as well as expected and unexpected outcomes. The development of instruments and metrics to assess institutional or community shifts toward evidence-based practices is encouraged, and plans for dissemination of these tools to the appropriate community should be included.

Project Approaches:

Development and Implementation projects are larger-scale efforts that also may fall within either the Engaged Student Learning or Institutional and Community Transformation tracks. These projects may focus on new or promising interventions or strategies to achieve well-specified STEM learning objectives, including making refinements on the basis of small-scale testing.

Within the Engaged Student Learning track there are two levels of Development and Implementation projects: Level I and Level II.

-Development and Implementation Level I projects typically focus on achieving propagation beyond a single institution or work to promote change across multiple STEM disciplines within an institution. Level I projects should carry the development to a state in which the evaluation of the project produces evidence to determine whether or not the project’s efforts are effective.

-Development and Implementation Level II projects are intended to support large-scale efforts. This level also supports long-term research on efforts to effect change, in order to learn what has been achieved.

-Within the Institutional and Community Transformation track there is only one level of Development and Implementation project. Grants are expected to support ambitious efforts to achieve the widespread deployment of effective instructional, curricular, and co-curricular practices in support of student engagement, learning, and retention.

Within the Engaged Student Learning or Institutional and Community Transformation tracks, studies are welcome that explore how effective teaching strategies and curricula enhance learning and attitudes, how widespread practices have diffused through the community, and how faculty and programs implement changes in their curriculum. Research results should provide a foundation for creating learning materials, teaching strategies, faculty development approaches, and program evaluation methodologies that have the potential for a direct impact on STEM educational practices.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178034

Estimated Size of Grant:

Development and Implementation Level I projects have a budget limit of $600,000.

Development and Implementation Level II projects have a budget between $601,000 and $2,000,000.

Within the Institutional and Community Transformation track there is only one level of Development and Implementation project with a budget of up to $3,000,000.

Term of Contract:

Development and Implementation Level I projects have a maximum duration of 3 years.

Development and Implementation Level II projects have a maximum duration of 5 years and are intended to support large-scale efforts. This level also supports long-term research on efforts to effect change, in order to learn what has been achieved.

Within the Institutional and Community Transformation track there is only one level of Development and Implementation project with a maximum duration of 5 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter I.E., which may be found here:

NSF welcomes proposals on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF, although some programs may have special requirements that limit eligibility.

Scientists, engineers and educators usually initiate proposals that are officially submitted by their employing organization. Before formal submission, the proposal may be discussed with appropriate NSF program staff. Graduate students are not encouraged to submit research proposals, but should arrange to serve as research assistants to faculty members. Some NSF divisions accept proposals for Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants when submitted by a faculty member on behalf of the graduate student.

Categories of Proposers:

Except where a program solicitation establishes more restrictive eligibility criteria, individuals and organizations in the following categories may submit proposals:

1. Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions. Academic institutions located outside the US fall under paragraph 6. below.

2. Nonprofit, Non-academic Organizations - Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the US that are directly associated with educational or research activities.

3. For-profit Organizations - US commercial organizations, especially small businesses with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education. An unsolicited proposal from a commercial organization may be funded when the project is of special concern from a national point of view, special resources are available for the work, or the proposed project is especially meritorious. NSF is interested in supporting projects that couple industrial research resources and perspectives with those of universities; therefore, it especially welcomes proposals for cooperative projects involving both universities and the private commercial sector.

4. State and Local Governments - State educational offices or organizations and local school districts may submit proposals intended to broaden the impact, accelerate the pace, and increase the effectiveness of improvements in science, mathematics and engineering education in both K-12 and post-secondary levels.

5. Unaffiliated Individuals - Unaffiliated individuals in the US and US citizens rarely receive direct funding support from NSF. Recipients of Federal funds must be able to demonstrate their ability to fully comply with the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. As such, unaffiliated individuals are strongly encouraged to affiliate with an organization that is able to meet the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200.

6. Foreign organizations - NSF rarely provides support to foreign organizations. NSF will consider proposals for cooperative projects involving US and foreign organizations, provided support is requested only for the US portion of the collaborative effort.

7. Other Federal Agencies - NSF does not normally support research or education activities by scientists, engineers or educators employed by Federal agencies or FFRDCs. Under unusual circumstances, other Federal agencies and FFRDCs may submit proposals directly to NSF. A proposed project is only eligible for support if it meets one or more of the following exceptions, as determined by a cognizant NSF Program Officer:

-Special Projects. Under exceptional circumstances, research or education projects at other Federal agencies or FFRDCs that can make unique contributions to the needs of researchers elsewhere or to other specific NSF objectives may receive NSF support.

-National and International Programs. The Foundation may fund research and logistical support activities of other Government agencies or FFRDCs directed at meeting the goals of special national and international research programs for which the Foundation bears special responsibility, such as the US Antarctic Research Program.

-International Travel Awards. In order to ensure appropriate representation or availability of a particular expertise at an international conference, staff researchers of other Federal agencies may receive NSF international travel awards.

Proposers who think their project may meet one of the exceptions listed above must contact a cognizant NSF Program Officer before preparing a proposal for submission. In addition, a scientist, engineer or educator who has a joint appointment with a university and a Federal agency (such as a Veterans Administration Hospital, or with a university and a FFRDC) may submit proposals through the university and may receive support if he/she is a faculty member (or equivalent) of the university, although part of his/her salary may be provided by the Federal agency. Preliminary inquiry must be made to the appropriate program before preparing a proposal for submission.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A Q&A session is scheduled for November 27, 2:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Pre-Application Information:

NSF anticipates that approximately $73 million will be available for new awards in this program per fiscal year. Grants may be awarded in a variety of sizes and durations, with approximately 35% of available funds allocated for Exploration and Design projects and 65% of available funds allocated for Development and Implementation projects.

Unaffiliated individuals must contact the cognizant Program Officer prior to preparing and submitting a proposal to NSF.

Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via or via the NSF FastLane system.

Full proposals are due by 5:00 PM (submitter’s local time) on the following dates:
-December 12, 2017
-December 11, 2018

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To attend the November 27, 2017 webinar:

-Join the Webex meeting: Meeting number (access code): 745 949 014

-Host key: 193144

-Meeting password: IUSEqa@112717

-Join by phone: +1-415-655-0002

Global call-in numbers:

Contact support here:

Program Contacts:

Myles G. Boylan
(703) 292-4617

Ellen Carpenter
(703) 292-5104

Abiodun Ilumoka
(703) 292-2703

Andrea L. Nixon
(703) 292-5323

Keith A. Sverdrup
(703) 292-4653

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 17-590

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming