call for proposals

Dear Colleague Letter: STEM Workforce Development Utilizing Flexible Personal Learning Environments

Thursday, December 13, 2018

December 4, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks new proposals and supplemental funding requests to existing awards that support flexible personalized learning to prepare the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce of the future. NSF envisions projects that collectively apply to all learners, from young children to those already in the workforce. In particular, we would like to support research that complements an anticipated future funding opportunity made possible by a gift from the Boeing Corporation, which was announced on September 24, 2018 (

The Boeing gift established a partnership between NSF and Boeing to accelerate training in crucial skill areas for the future U.S. workforce. It will be used to support design, development, implementation, and analysis of online courses in model-based engineering, model-based systems engineering, mechatronics, robotics, data science and sensor analytics, program management, and artificial intelligence. These courses will use personalized learning systems to maximize their effectiveness for diverse learners.

There will be two parallel funding opportunities to support STEM workforce preparation. One will be made possible by the Boeing gift and the other involves the efforts funded in response to this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL). For the opportunities in response to this DCL, NSF seeks proposals that will broadly inform development of personalized learning systems or generalize the research results generated during the deployment of online courses. This could be accomplished either by using the data generated by those systems or by studying the systems themselves. NSF encourages innovative educational research and development proposals that will help the nation educate the STEM workforce of the future.

NSF invites proposals to existing programs listed below and requests for supplemental funding to existing awards that engage a convergent science approach ( Such an approach often benefits from interdisciplinary teams representing multiple fields. Such teams can make learning a convergent experience and accomplish learning goals that are not otherwise achievable.

The outcomes of successful proposals responding to this DCL will advance evidence-based understanding of STEM workforce development at any level. Successful proposals will include a well-developed research plan that specifies how the project will strengthen the research base that informs investments in STEM workforce preparation and development. For example, proposals may address topics including, but not limited to:

  • effective design of personalized learning systems for STEM education at any level;
  • factors that increase persistence, motivation, self-efficacy, and retention of learners;
  • the influence of public/private partnerships on workforce preparation;
  • the design of educational interventions that meet workplace expectations for knowledge and competencies; and
  • measuring the effectiveness of these interventions for different audiences.

Proposers are encouraged to leverage current and anticipated future NSF investments (e.g., interdisciplinary research centers, large facilities, funded workforce development projects) as research bases. NSF anticipates that coordinated synergistic efforts are likely to be more fruitful than fragmented individual contributions.


Proposals responding to this DCL should be made through one of the existing NSF programs listed below. Supplemental funding requests responding to this DCL for existing awards in the programs listed below are also welcome. To determine whether a research topic is within the scope of this DCL, principal investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the managing NSF Program Officer(s) of the participating program(s) to which they plan to submit their proposal. These programs include:

For new proposals to ensure proper consideration, principal investigators must refer to this DCL in the overview statement of the Project Summary and in the Project Description. Requests for supplemental funding to existing awards must also include a reference to this DCL. The Project Description or supplemental funding request should also include a brief description about how the project supports flexible personalized learning, thus complementing the work funded by the Boeing gift.

In summary, proposals responding to this DCL:

  1. could be high-risk, but have the potential for high reward;
  2. should include multidisciplinary leadership teams;
  3. will advance evidence-based understanding of STEM workforce development at any level (K-12 through workplace);
  4. must inform development of personalized learning systems or generalize the research results generated during the deployment of those systems;
  5. must include a research plan that will contribute new knowledge about STEM workforce preparation and development;
  6. must be submitted to one of the programs listed in this DCL; and
  7. must comply with the relevant program/solicitation-specific requirements.


For questions about any of the programs listed above, please contact one of the programs officers listed in the respective solicitation. General questions about this Dear Colleague Letter may be addressed to:

  • R. Steven Turley, rturley [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-2207
  • John C. Cherniavsky, jchernia [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-5136
  • David Haury, dhaury [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-5102
  • Ann Rivet, arivet [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-4764
  • Heather Watson, hwatson [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-7091

NASA-Missouri Space Grant Consortium -- 2018 Community and Technical College Funding Opportunity

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The NASA Missouri Space Grant Consortium is accepting proposals to extend the Consortium’s capabilities and enhance collaborations with Missouri Community and Technical Colleges. The Consortium expects to award a total of approximately $42,500 under this solicitation for proposals with anticipated funding levels of up to $7,500 per proposal. Note that a one-to-one cost share match is required for all funds awarded as a result of this solicitation. The Missouri Space Grant Office reserves the right to partially fund proposals if deemed appropriate.

The main mission of the Consortium is to maintain and enhance, through the State's research universities and corporate partners, the Nation’s workforce capabilities in aerospace and space related science, engineering, and technology; and to aid in the dissemination of NASA related information to students, faculty, researchers, and the general public. The primary goal of the Consortium is to inspire, motivate, recruit, educate, and train students to be competent researchers at all academic levels in order to help meet Missouri’s and NASA’s need for skilled, knowledgeable, diverse, and high-performing professional scientists, engineers, technologists, and educators specializing in the fields of interest to NASA.


Eligibility is limited to accredited Community and Technical Colleges in Missouri.

Pertinent Dates

Date of Announcement: February 5th, 2018

       Proposal Due Date: March 16th, 2018

Period of Performance

January 1st, 2018 – December 31st, 2018


Download the Announcement of Proposal Guidelines HERE

Download the Budget Form to be submitted with the Proposal HERE

Dear Colleague Letter: Research on Methodologies for STEM Education

Monday, September 25, 2017

NSF 17-136

September 19, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The EHR Core Research (ECR) program of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) wishes to notify the community of the intention to support fundamental research on methodologies that support valid inferences in STEM education. This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) calls for research proposals to be submitted to the ECR program (NSF 15-509) that will develop and rigorously test new methodologies and grow the community's collective capacity to conduct rigorous research and evaluation on STEM learning and learning environments, workforce development, and broadening participation.

With this DCL, ECR invites proposals on the development, application, and extension of formal models and methodologies for STEM education research and evaluation, including methods for improving statistical modeling, qualitative modeling, measurement, replication, and learning analytics. This includes research on methodological aspects of new or existing procedures for data collection, curation, and inference in STEM education. Similarly, ECR seeks proposals related to collection of unique databases with cross-boundary value, particularly when paired with innovative developments in measurement or methodology (standard statistical modeling, qualitative research, measurement, replication and learning analytics). Proposers must demonstrate how advances in the methodology will support important theoretical insights in STEM education research or evaluation. Proposers are encouraged to explore a wide range of fundamental research projects (in the areas of quantitative, qualitative, measurement, replication, and learning analytics methodologies) that may address, but are not limited to, such topics as:

  • Methodologies to study developmental trajectories of student learning of STEM content;
  • Models and methodologies that increase external validity of STEM research results;
  • Advances in research on evaluation in STEM education;
  • Mediation and moderation analysis as they play out in clustered field settings to support STEM learning;
  • Advances in quantitative research involving growth and interruptions to that growth (e.g., repeated measures designs);
  • Advances in metasynthesis of qualitative research in STEM education;
  • Advances in linguistic analysis applied to STEM education;
  • Advances in construct validity;
  • Advances in network analysis for use in STEM education;
  • Advances in item level factor analysis;
  • Development of models and methodologies to improve and build replication in STEM education research;
  • Advances in the measurement of STEM human and social capital;
  • Advances in methodologies to automate and validate the coding of video data in STEM settings;
  • Advances in Bayesian or computational modeling of STEM education data;
  • Advances in the application of machine learning approaches to STEM education;
  • Improving methods for data sharing for STEM education research;
  • Advances in scientometrics and citation analysis in relation to STEM education research;
  • Improvements in the study of the diffusion of innovation in STEM education.

As described in the ECR program announcement, three levels of funding are available and should align with the maturity of the proposed work, the size and scope of the empirical effort, as well as the capacity of the research team to conduct the proposed research: (1) Level I proposals have a maximum award size of $500,000 and a maximum duration of 3 years; (2) Level II proposals have a maximum total award size of $1,500,000 and a maximum duration of 3 years; (3) Level III proposals have a maximum award size of $2,500,000 and a maximum duration of 5 years. Most, if not all, awards will be funded as Level I studies.

In addition, NSF is interested in supporting capacity building proposals through synthesis projects, conference proposals, and Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals.

Synthesis proposals seek support for synthesis of methodological knowledge on a topic of critical importance to STEM learning and for the diffusion of research-based knowledge to the STEM research community. An example of a synthesis project in this area could include the clarification of the status of research relative to growth modeling and how these models are taken up in STEM learning research with a specific emphasis on directions for new research (i.e., unanswered methodological questions and how answers to these questions would support the evidentiary warrants of STEM education research). Maximum award size for Synthesis proposals is $300,000 for a duration of up to two years.

Conference proposals seek support to conduct highly-focused conferences (or workshops) related to the research goals of the ECR program. Investigators are encouraged to propose workshops as one way to diffuse the research-based knowledge (perhaps developed through a synthesis award). The involvement of, and dissemination to, STEM education researchers is an important aspect of this work. Information about the preparing Conference Proposals is contained in the PAPPG Chapter II.E.7.

The EAGER funding mechanism may be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work may be considered especially "high risk-high payoff" in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. Potential investigators must contact an NSF program officer whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic prior to submission of an EAGER proposal. Requests may be for up to $300,000 and of up to two years duration. Information about the preparing EAGER Proposals is contained in the PAPPG Chapter II.E.2.

The annual deadline for submission of proposals to ECR is the second Thursday in September. Conference and EAGER proposals may be submitted throughout the year. The NSF also strongly encourages early career faculty to submit proposals.

Principal investigators interested in submitting proposals (or with other questions pertaining to this DCL) may contact one of the program directors:

Finbarr Sloane, fsloane [at] nsf [dot] gov
Program Director, EHR/DRL
ECR program, ECR [at] nsf [dot] gov