The Science and Technology Centers (STC): Integrative Partnerships program supports exceptionally innovative, complex research and education projects that require large-scale, long-term awards. STCs focus on creating new scientific paradigms, establishing entirely new scientific disciplines and developing transformative technologies which have the potential for broad scientific or societal impact. STCs conduct world-class research through partnerships among institutions of higher education, national laboratories, industrial organizations, other public or private entities, and via international collaborations, as appropriate. They provide a means to undertake potentially groundbreaking investigations at the interfaces of disciplines and/or highly innovative approaches within disciplines. STCs may involve any area of science and engineering that NSF supports. STC investments support the NSF vision of creating and exploiting new concepts in science and engineering and providing global leadership in research and education.
Centers provide a rich environment for encouraging future scientists, engineers, and educators to take risks in pursuing discoveries and new knowledge. STCs foster excellence in education by integrating education and research, and by creating bonds between learning and inquiry so that discovery and creativity fully support the learning process.
NSF expects STCs to both involve individuals who are members of groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering at all levels within the Center (faculty, staff, students, and postdoctoral researchers) as well as be a leader in broadening participation in STEM. Individuals who may be underrepresented in STEM include those who identify as women, persons with disabilities, Blacks and African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders. The terms for these racial and ethnic populations are derived from the US government's guidance for federal statistics and administrative reporting (OMB Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting). Although these social identities are listed separately, they do not exist in isolation from each other and the intersection of one of more of these social identities may need to be considered when designing plans for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the STC Center. Centers may use either proven, or innovative mechanisms based on the relevant literature, to address issues such as recruitment, retention, success, and career progression of all individuals in the Center.
Centers must undertake activities that facilitate knowledge transfer, i.e., the exchange of scientific and technical information with the objective of disseminating and utilizing knowledge broadly in multiple sectors. Examples of knowledge transfer include technology transfer, providing key information to public policy-makers, or dissemination of knowledge from one field of science to another.
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