The National Science Foundation has issued a new program announcement titled ”
Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science” (INCLUDES). According to the solicitation, “The initiative aims to improve the preparation, increase the participation, and ensure the contributions of individuals from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented and underserved in the STEM enterprise, including women, members of racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with low socio-economic status.” The agency expects to fund 30-40 two-year design/pilot projects at $300,000 or less.
“Successful pilots will deliver models or prototypes for collective efforts aimed at increasing the active participation of those who have been traditionally underserved and underrepresented in all fields of STEM. Teams of organizations might come together locally, regionally, nationally, or by disciplinary focus. Key to a successful proposal will be the identification of a specific goal and measurable objectives, and an argument that the set of partners being assembled includes all who are needed to successfully address the objective. The plan must articulate its potential for scaling. These planning and start-up activities are aimed at engaging appropriate communities in testing the feasibility of developing a full-scale plan and process for change, including identifying other support mechanisms for sustaining the efforts.”
“The preliminary proposal project narrative must address the following questions:
- “What BP challenge(s) will be addressed and, if successfully addressed, what will be the contribution to BP in the Nation’s scientific workforce?
- “What is the preliminary strategic plan to address the BP challenge(s), including goals and measurable objectives?
- “Which objectives will be addressed by the pilot, and why will successfully addressing these objectives position the PIs to launch a successful NSF INCLUDES Alliance that will continue to address the BP challenge(s) and lead to information for improved BP at a national scale?
- “Who are the initial and proposed partners and what is the evidence that the partnership will be able to use social innovation frameworks such as collective impact to achieve the goals of the project?
- “How will the pilot project’s activities contribute to next steps for a research agenda and/or development plan to improve inclusion in STEM through an NSF INCLUDES Alliance? “
“Proposals for the Design and Development Launch Pilots are expected to:
- “Determine the challenge to be addressed.
- “Organize the set of partners that will participate in the project; teams might come together locally, regionally, nationally, or by disciplinary focus.
- “Identify the lead partner who has the demonstrated capacity and vision to develop, manage, and lead a collective effort.
- “Identify a common agenda in which participants share a vision for change that reflects a collective understanding of the BP challenge.
- “Delineate an approach to solving the challenge problem through agreed upon goals, objectives, strategies, and activities.
- “Describe agreed-upon ways to measure and report success, including the selection of an external evaluator with demonstrated qualifications to develop a comprehensive evaluation plan.
- “Develop an integrated and coordinated strategic plan that facilitates the accomplishment and implementation of a set of specified action items, including progress indicators.”
Preliminary proposals will be accepted until April 15. Full proposals will be due on June 24. NSF is also calling for conference and workshop proposals to inform the design of the infrastructure that will be put in place to coordinate, sustain and expand the INCLUDES.
EDIT: View the webinar for more information.