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Facilitator of Polar STEAM

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline: The deadline for this grant has passed

Grant amount: US $3,500,000 - US $4,000,000

Fields of work: Science Communications

Applicant type: For-Profit Business, Indigenous Group, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program, Research

Location of project: Antarctica, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland Show all

Location of residency: United States


NSF’s Office of Polar Programs (OPP) and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) seek proposals for a Facilitator to manage a Polar Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (Polar STEAM) initiative. The successful proposal for the Facilitator of Polar STEAM will be administered as a Cooperative Agreement (CA) over a five-year period of performance, with the option for a renewal for up to five years pending review.

Polar STEAM is a new initiative, which encompasses and enriches two longstanding efforts:

  • an Antarctic Artists and Writers (AAW) program to support writing and artistic projects specifically designed to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of the Antarctic and the human endeavors on the southernmost continent; and
  • support for educators, both formal and informal, to travel to the Antarctic and Arctic to work collaboratively with researchers (hereafter, the Polar Educators program).

These efforts have for decades provided a unique professional development opportunity that benefited not only the individual artists, writers, and educators but also the diverse communities they served. Both programs provided unique avenues for NSF-funded researchers to enhance the Broader Impact of their work. Incorporating Art into STEM learning experiences (commonly referred to as STEAM, e.g., Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) allows students of all ages to access science concepts from different vantage points, promotes creative thinking, speaks to a broader swath of learners, and enhances engagement and understanding. Polar STEAM will promote diversity, equity and inclusion in polar science programs and allow for participation by a broader range of educators.

The Facilitator of Polar STEAM will be responsible for managing the AAW and Polar Educator program(s) as parallel but synergistic programs that promote connections and innovative partnerships between their participants. To accomplish this, the Facilitator will need to demonstrate the ability to work with the two programs’ diverse stakeholders and audiences.

The creation of a Cooperative Agreement (CA) for a new Facilitator for Polar STEAM will 1) resume the AAW program; 2) expand the reach of the educators’ program to include faculty from community colleges and Minority Serving Institutions; 3) help integrate both programs with the work of the OPP and EHR programs; 4) foster collaboration and coordination between the participants, i.e., artists, writers, educators and researchers; and 5) broaden the public impact of Polar STEAM.

In response to this solicitation, NSF seeks proposals from a broad representation of PIs and institutions, including a geographically diverse set of institutions (including those in EPSCoR jurisdictions) and PIs who are women, early-career researchers, members of underrepresented groups, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

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This page was last reviewed September 15, 2021 and last updated September 15, 2021