Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

Dear Colleague Letter

CAREER Proposals Submitted to the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)


Encourages eligible members of the STEM education research community to submit proposals to NSF’s CAREER program.

Dear Colleagues:

The Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) encourages eligible members of the STEM education research community to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation's CAREER program. The purpose of this letter is twofold: (a) to highlight, clarify, and draw attention to important information included in the Program Solicitation (NSF 22-586) as it relates to CAREER proposals submitted to divisions and programs within EHR; and (b) to list the divisions and programs within EHR that intend to review and fund CAREER proposals.

EHR supports excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in all settings to develop a well-informed citizenry and a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians, and STEM educators. EHR invests strategically in research to understand factors and issues that influence STEM learning and education, opportunities and approaches to broaden participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. Supporting early-career investigators is a crucial element of this EHR investment across EHR's programs. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from individual investigators and institutions that reflect the diversity of the Nation.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program (NSF 22-586) is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty at institutions of higher education and researchers at non-profit organizations (such as museums, observatories, or research labs) who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.

The CAREER program solicitation (NSF 22-586) lists significant items related to the eligibility criteria for investigators, including that they will: (a) be engaged in research and education in a field supported by the NSF; and (b) hold at least a 50% tenure-track (or tenure-track-equivalent) position as an assistant professor (or equivalent title) as of the annual deadline. It is important to reiterate that for a position to be considered tenure-track-equivalent, it must meet all of the following requirements: (1) the employee has a continuing appointment that is expected to last the five years of a CAREER grant; (2) the appointment has substantial research and educational responsibilities; and (3) the proposed project relates to the employee's career goals and job responsibilities, as well as to the mission of the department or organization. For additional information, see the CAREER program solicitation (NSF 22-586) and the set of Frequently Asked Questions related to the CAREER Program (NSF 22-100).

CAREER investigators are encouraged to ensure their proposals address the following key features:

  • Activities pursued by early-career scholars should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.
  • Compelling research goals closely aligned with clear research questions
  • Relevant theoretical frameworks
  • Explicit research design and methodology
  • Integrated research and education plans that describe how key features of the research will inform the education component and how key elements of the education activities inform the research
  • Mechanisms for external feedback (e.g., evaluation plans, advisory boards).

EHR DIVISIONS AND PROGRAMS

Divisions and Programs within EHR emphasize different categories of research and development activities. When submitting a CAREER proposal to EHR, investigators need to indicate the program that most closely aligns with their proposal's scope of work. The EHR Divisions and Programs listed below accept CAREER proposals. Investigators are encouraged to use the links provided to read information on each program and determine the best program fit for their work. If investigators have questions about the fit of a CAREER proposal with a program, they are encouraged to contact ehrcareer@nsf.gov, program contacts, or one of the Division contacts for CAREER listed at https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp.

Divisions and Programs within EHR that accept CAREER proposals are:

Division of Graduate Education

Division of Human Resources Development

Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings

Division of Undergraduate Education

For additional guidance, please contact ehrcareer@nsf.gov or the CAREER contacts for the Divisions in EHR listed online at https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp.

Sincerely,
Sylvia Butterfield
Assistant Director (Acting), Education and Human Resources