Racial Equity in STEM Education

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Next deadline: Mar 22, 2022

Later deadlines: Oct 11, 2022, Mar 28, 2023, Oct 10, 2023, Mar 26, 2024, Oct 8, 2024, Mar 25, 2025, Oct 14, 2025, Mar 24, 2026, Oct 13, 2026

Grant amount: US $250,000 - US $5,000,000

Fields of work: STEM Education Educational Access & Equity

Applicant type: Organizations

Funding uses: Project / Program, Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


Racial Equity in STEM Education Program Description (EHR Racial Equity)

Persistent racial injustices and inequalities in the United States have led to renewed concern and interest in addressing systemic racism. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) seeks to support bold, ground-breaking, and potentially transformative projects addressing systemic racism in STEM. Proposals should advance racial equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development through research (both fundamental and applied) and practice. Core to this funding opportunity is that proposals are led by, or developed and led in authentic partnership with, individuals and communities most impacted by the inequities caused by systemic racism. The voices, knowledge, and experiences of those who have been impacted by enduring racial inequities should be at the center of these proposals, including in, for example: project leadership and research positions, conceptualization of the proposal, decision-making processes, and the interpretation and dissemination of evidence and research results. The proposed work should provide positive outcomes for the individuals and communities engaged and should recognize peoples’ humanity, experiences, and resilience. Proposals need to consider systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits, and how these barriers impact access to, retention in, and success in STEM education, research, and workforce development. Competitive proposals will be clear with respect to how the work advances racial equity and addresses systemic racism, as these constructs may have different meanings in different settings.  

Proposals should articulate a rigorous plan to generate knowledge through research (both fundamental and applied) and practice, such as, but not limited to: 

  • building theory;  
  • developing methods; 
  • testing approaches and interventions;  
  • assessing the potential, efficacy, effectiveness, and scalability of approaches and interventions;  
  • establishing, cultivating and assessing authentic partnerships; 
  • changing institutional, organizational, and structural practices and policies; and/or  
  • focusing on affective, behavioral, cultural, social components, and implications. 

Contexts may include, but are not limited to: preK-12, two- and four-year undergraduate, and graduate institutions; municipal organizations; STEM workplaces; and informal STEM contexts, such as museums, community organizations, and media. 

In addition, proposals should include a dissemination plan to proactively share what is learned with individuals and communities most impacted, as well as relevant leaders, policy makers, and other stakeholders. Proposal budgets and project durations should be determined by the scope of the activities and in accordance with the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). PIs should include “Racial Equity:” at the beginning of the proposal title. 

With funding from programs across EHR, this funding opportunity directly aligns with NSF’s core value of supporting outstanding researchers and innovative thinkers from across the Nation's diversity of demographic groups, regions, and types of organizations (NSF Strategic Plan FY2018-2022). It also supports EHR’s mission, which includes the development of a diverse and well-prepared STEM workforce “to enhance the quality of life of all citizens and the health, prosperity, welfare and security of the nation” (EHR mission statement). The NSF, including EHR, has a longstanding history of investments in research and development focused on diversity in STEM education, research, training programs, and in STEM workplaces.  

Collectively, proposals funded by this Program Description will: (1) advance the science and promotion of racial equity in STEM, (2) substantively contribute to removing systemic barriers that impact STEM education, the STEM workforce, and scientific advancement, (3) institutionalize effective and inclusive environments for STEM learning, STEM research, and STEM professionals, (4) diversify the project leadership (PIs and co-PIs), institutions, ideas, and approaches that NSF funds, and (5) expand the array of epistemologies, perspectives, and experiences in STEM. 

Prospective PIs are encouraged to send a one-page concept paper to [email protected] in advance of submitting a proposal.  

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

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This page was last reviewed October 29, 2021 and last updated May 04, 2021