This solicitation aligns with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) long-standing investments in the development of a diverse and well-prepared public and workforce, which was recently reinforced in the NSF Vision: “A nation that leads the world in science and engineering research and innovation, to the benefit of all, without barriers to participation,” p. 9, NSF 2022-2026 Strategic Plan (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2022/nsf22068/nsf22068.pdf). The NSF Strategic Plan focuses on ensuring that U.S. research is an inclusive enterprise that benefits from the talent of all sectors of American society – a research enterprise that incorporates the rich demographic and geographic diversity of the nation. The strategic plan recognizes that the more people who engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research and the more diverse their backgrounds, the richer the range of questions asked. The result is a greater breadth of discovery and more creative solutions to societal challenges.
Racial inequities often create barriers to STEM knowledge generation, as well as access to and participation in all aspects of STEM education, research, and the workforce. In ongoing efforts to address these disparities, NSF EHR seeks to support bold, groundbreaking, and potentially transformative projects that contribute to advancing racial equity in STEM education and workforce development through practice and/or fundamental or applied research. EHR’s mission builds from the NSF Strategic Plan, seeking “to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in all settings (both formal and informal) in order to support the development of a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians and educators and a well-informed citizenry that have access to the ideas and tools of science and engineering. The purpose of these activities is to enhance the quality of life of all citizens and the health, prosperity, welfare and security of the nation.”
Collectively, proposals funded by this solicitation will: (1) substantively contribute to institutionalizing effective research-based practices, policies, and outcomes in STEM environments for those who experience inequities caused by systemic racism and the broader community; (2) advance scholarship and promote racial equity in STEM in ways that expand the array of epistemologies, perspectives, ideas, theoretical and methodological approaches that NSF funds; and (3) further diversify project leadership (PIs and co-PIs) and institutions funded by NSF.
Each proposal should include a rigorous plan to generate knowledge and/or evidence-based practice via fundamental or applied research. Projects may focus on, but are not limited to:
- building theory; developing research, evaluation, and assessment methods; conducting pilot projects and feasibility studies;
- testing approaches and interventions;
- assessing the potential, efficacy, effectiveness, and scalability of approaches and interventions;
- changing institutional, organizational, and structural practices and policies;
- establishing, cultivating, and assessing authentic partnerships with communities impacted by systemic racism; conducting syntheses, meta-syntheses, meta-analyses, and systematic literature reviews;
- convening conferences that explore a theory, topic, method, or issue related to the program goals in order to drive research and practice forward; and/or
- focusing on affective, behavioral, cultural, social components, and implications.
Prospective PIs are encouraged to send a one-page concept paper to EHRRacialEquity@nsf.gov in advance of submitting a proposal.
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