University of Southern California


NSF-17-579: Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) – Multiple Programs

Slots:                                                     Implementation-Only Alliances: Only one proposal may be submitted by an eligible (lead) institution. Alliances may hold only one active alliance award at a time. Institutions partnering in an alliance may not be a formal partner in more than one alliance at the same time.

Pre-Alliance Planning: Only one proposal may be submitted by an eligible institution.

Regional Centers of Excellence in Broadening Participation (LSRCE): One proposal may be submitted by eligible lead institutions/organizations annually. Organizations may have only one active center award. All active alliances are eligible to submit LSRCE proposals as lead organizations.

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        Not required.

External Deadline:                          Implementation-Only Alliances: November 15, 2019

Pre-Alliance Planning: November 15, 2019

Regional Centers of Excellence (LSRCE): January 31, 2020

Award Information:                      Type: Standard or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards & Anticipated Amount:

Implementation-Only: Up to 5 awards; up to $4.5M over 5 years

Pre-Alliance: Up to 5 awards: up to $125,000 over 18 months

Regional Centers of Excellence: Up to 3 awards; can be up to $1.5M over 3 years or up to $2.5M over 5 years

Cost Sharing:                                     Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:

Materials to submit:

Link to Award:                          

Who May Serve as PI:                    Implementation-Only Alliances: The Principal Investigator (PI) for Alliances (including Bridge to the Baccalaureate) should be the President, Chancellor, or Provost of the lead institution and member of the alliance governing board. A full justification is needed for a PI designation at variance with this requirement. Co-principal investigators (Co-PIs) from partner institutions may be designated for the project.

Pre-Alliance Planning: The PI should be the key personnel that will be responsible for organizing and implementing the planning activities. Institutional leadership support must be demonstrated by the participating institutions.

Regional Center of Excellence in Broadening Participation: The PI must be a senior organizational administrator. Project managers and STEM faculty members may be among the PI/Co-PI team. The PI/Co-PI team must also include a social or data scientist, disciplinary/interdisciplinary education researcher or evaluator.

Limit of 1 proposal per PI for Stem Pathways Implementation-Only Alliances, STEM Pathways and Research Alliances, and Pre-Alliance Planning.


The overall goal of the program is to assist universities and colleges in diversifying the nation’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce by increasing the number of STEM baccalaureate and graduate degrees awarded to populations historically underrepresented in these disciplines: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders.

The LSAMP program takes a comprehensive approach to student development and retention. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming undergraduate STEM education through innovative, evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies, and relevant educational experiences in support of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines.

The LSAMP program also supports knowledge generation, knowledge utilization, program impact and dissemination type activities. The program seeks new learning and immediate diffusion of scholarly research into the field. Under this program, funding for STEM educational and broadening participation research activities could include research to develop new models in STEM engagement, recruitment and retention practices for all critical pathways to STEM careers or research on interventions such as mentoring, successful learning practices and environments, STEM efficacy studies, and technology use.

Overall, the LSAMP program provides funding to alliances that implement comprehensive, evidence-based, innovative, and sustained strategies that ultimately result in the graduation of well-prepared, highly-qualified students from underrepresented minority groups who pursue graduate studies or careers in STEM.

Project types under this program include:

  1. Alliances are consortia of multiple degree-granting institutions. Organizations from other sectors, including informal science organizations, may be participants. Projects focus on pre-college and undergraduate recruitment and retention activities. Since USC is only eligible for the STEM Pathways Implementation-Only Alliance project, this is the only alliance track described below:
    1. Alliances may consist of different institutional types and are funded to implement comprehensive evidence-based strategies that ultimately result in the graduation of well-prepared, highly-qualified students from historically underrepresented minority groups in STEM disciplines who pursue graduate studies or careers in these fields.
    2. Alliance Structure: Alliances may have partner institutions drawn from among four-year institutions, community colleges, school systems, Federal/state/local government agencies, major national laboratories and centers, industry, private foundations, and professional STEM organizations. All alliance proposals must provide a rationale for the inclusion of the different institutional partners and describe a cohesive structure. Specifically, the proposal should describe how the alliance will leverage the strengths of each institutional partner and the unique contributions of each partner to the project.
    3. Institutions partnering in an alliance may not be a formal partner in more than one alliance.
    4. Institutional partners (including community colleges and B2B alliance partners) must be budgeted as subawardees if not the lead institution of an alliance.
    5. Proposer/Proposal Expectations: All proposers must commit to a significant increase in baccalaureate production in STEM fields within a five-year award period and justify the level of increase they define as significant. Data must be expressed and shown in numbers and percentages. A clear plan of action to significantly increase baccalaureate STEM degrees awarded to racial/ethnic students historically underrepresented in STEM at individual four-year institutions is essential for a competitive proposal. Subsequent support will be contingent on evidence of success in areas of individual student recruitment, retention and progression to STEM baccalaureate degrees.
    6. Allowable Activities: The NSF LSAMP program provides wide latitude to proposers in designing their alliance activities. Proposed activities should be grounded in evidence-based practices and sound programmatic approaches that are clear and well-defined with measurable goals and objectives. Proposed alliance activities must form a feasible, logical, and comprehensive effort focused on improving undergraduate STEM educational experiences for historically underrepresented minority students. While the 2006 evaluation report by the Urban Institute references the research and theoretical basis of the LSAMP program and describes the elements of the “LSAMP model”, proposers are not limited to this program theory as the basis for proposed implementation activities. Proposers are encouraged to submit proposals that are innovative which may require risk and experimentation to enable new discovery.
    7. Alliance projects must place emphasis on developing strategies for: a) individual student retention and progression to baccalaureate degrees, b) successful transfer of underrepresented students from two-year to four-year institutions in STEM programs c); high quality undergraduate research experiences for alliance students, and d) seamless transition of students into STEM graduate programs.
    8. Alliance proposals are required to describe in detail the comprehensive plan that will be implemented both alliance-wide and in the individual institutions. The plan could focus on innovative strategies for recruitment and retention of freshman and sophomore students in STEM disciplines, interventions for retention of upper level STEM majors, academic enrichment activities, professional development or graduate school preparation activities, and/or undergraduate research experiences both domestic and abroad. Preparing a diverse, globally-engaged scientific and technological workforce necessitates strengthening international research opportunities for students underrepresented in STEM fields. Alliances are encouraged to develop a plan to engage STEM students in international research opportunities. These international opportunities must reach beyond conference attendance and cultural experiences to be considered a strong aspect of an alliance proposal.
    9. Competitive proposals will describe the level of faculty involvement and list the names of faculty who will serve as research mentors, clearly demonstrate linkages with NSF-funded or other federally-funded student support programs, and provide evidence of strong articulation agreements with community colleges both within the alliance and outside of the alliance. Evidence of linkages must be provided through letters of collaboration. All proposals must include institutional baseline data for each STEM discipline: enrollment, transfer, graduation rates, matriculation into and completion of graduate programs for the targeted groups of students underrepresented in STEM.
    10. Rigorous evaluation of projects is a high priority for the LSAMP program. Therefore, all LSAMP proposals should develop an evaluation plan that is based on benchmarks, indicators, or expected outcomes related to project goals and activities. Evaluation plans should be appropriate to the scope of the project and include a logic model or other tool that connects the project goals to the specific activities, and outputs, as well as the outcomes.
    11. Project evaluations for LSAMP alliance proposals should provide clear benchmarks and indicators of progress that will inform reviewers of the proposers’ understanding of essential recruitment and retention factors for judging accountability, both quantitative (enrollment and baccalaureate degree production of underrepresented groups) and qualitative (the process of change in organizational culture, impact and progress in developing highly competitive, well-prepared diverse STEM students). Formative and summative evaluations should include holistic assessments of the collaboration/partnership in addition to evaluation of the individual interventions.
    12. The evaluator should be external to the project and named in the Project Description. Proposals should; (1) describe the expertise of the evaluator(s); (2) explain how that expertise relates to the goals and objectives of the proposal; and (3) specify how the PI will report and use results of the project’s external review process. The biosketch(es) of the external evaluator or team should be uploaded as a supplementary document. Evaluators are expected to adhere to the American Evaluation Association’s Guiding Principles for Evaluators (, and project evaluations are expected to be consistent with standards established by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (
    13. Proposers are encouraged to collaborate with institutions with active awards from programs in NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE); specifically, IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education), S-STEM (NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), or ATE (Advanced Technological Education). These programs provide STEM scholarships and support to increase institutional capacity through faculty and curriculum development, which could complement proposed LSAMP activities. For details on DUE, visit
    14. New alliances: Proposals for new alliances should include beginning plans for institutionalization and program sustainability beyond NSF funding. Expectations are placed on institutionalizing, disseminating, and promoting the replication of strategies and collaborative approaches that have been effective in the recruitment and retention of racial/ethnic students historically underrepresented in STEM as well as the successful transition of undergraduate STEM students into graduate STEM programs. Proposals must indicate past institutional successes e.g., efforts at transforming the academic and/or research environment, in producing highly competitive underrepresented students in STEM disciplines.
  2. Louis Stokes Regional Centers of Excellence in Broadening Participation (LSRCE). These centers can serve as regional outreach and knowledge-diffusion centers of excellence for alliance and non-alliance organizations. LSRCE’s are projects that have wide latitude for design with a focus on technical assistance in the broadening participation arena, for example, and are focused on increasing the knowledge base on broadening participation topics through research, evaluation and synthesis activities. Centers do not provide direct degree production interventions or student support activities. The projects may be three or five years in duration depending on the scope of activities.
    1. The LSAMP program plans to support up to three Louis Stokes Regional Centers of Excellence in Broadening Participation annually with durations of three or five years. Proposers are provided wide latitude in designing the activities of the centers. Centers may serve as regional testbeds for outreach, knowledge-diffusion activities or other practices that contribute to successful practices in STEM education.
    2. This project type was first introduced in 2011 and is being reintroduced to increase the number of Louis Stokes Regional Centers of Excellence in Broadening Participation projects around the country. This project type is open to any consortium of institutions. LSAMP institutions, non-LSAMP institutions and other organizational types with expertise in broadening participation in STEM fields are eligible to submit as lead institutions.
    3. The mission of the Centers is to serve as exemplar sites in innovative STEM learning, research collaboration, interface and leveraging of resources to advance STEM education and broadening participation, particularly for students underrepresented and underserved in STEM disciplines. Activities may also be concentrated in the development of disciplinary research institutes, such as mathematical summer institutes, regional centers for student or faculty STEM mentoring or development, dissemination and/or outreach, including regional and state-wide activities involving STEM mentoring, mentoring of new alliances, or outreach to non-LSAMP institutions in broadening participation in STEM disciplines.
    4. An intended result from the research activities is to help inform the public, LSAMP community and NSF about effective broadening participation research and promising practices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Center proposals are not intended to serve as resources for additional student support for existing LSAMP projects. Student support is minimal. Proposals may request up to 5% of the annual budget for direct student support.
    5. In developing components for the Center, proposers should consider the following broadening participation activities:
      1. providing opportunities for the exchange of practical, theory-based information and ideas through the convening of conferences, teleconferences, institutes, and workshops;
      2. publishing monographs, contributing to peer-reviewed journals,
      3. developing electronic newsletters, guides, books;
      4. generating and supporting research and scholarship;
      5. mentoring or technical assistance in implementing research and evaluation activities to LSAMP institutions or mentoring and outreach to non-LSAMP institutions on broadening participation topics;
      6. hosting visiting scholars; and,
      7. developing resource centers and/or administrating a website and listserves on broadening participation topics.
    6. Particular emphases for the Centers are on comprehensive recruitment and retention practices at each STEM pathway, particularly in disciplines with low numbers of racial and ethnic underrepresentation, such as the mathematical sciences, physical sciences and geosciences. Evidence-based, culturally relevant practices should be considered as part of proposed Center activities.
    7. Centers led by academic institutions are required to build partnerships with at least one research organization, Science & Technology (S&T) center, national laboratory, industry, private foundation, or professional STEM society/organization that can contribute to evidence-based results in STEM education and/or has the capability to provide high quality research experiences for K-12, undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty. Ideally, the partnership should consist of majority-and minority-serving institutions, including community colleges. Consortia of LSAMP-funded community colleges with demonstrated evidence of successful transfer of students to four-year STEM degree programs are encouraged to apply for Center funding.
    8. In addition to collaborations with subawardees, collaborative (linked) proposals of up to five (5) partnering institutions will be accepted to accomplish the mission of the Centers. Requested dollar amounts for each linked proposal must be at or above $100,000. Minority-serving institutions, (Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities) are encouraged to submit as lead participants as well as non-academic institutions and informal science organizations.
    9. Partner institutions may be non-academic organizations such as professional societies, laboratories, or informal science education organizations.
  3. Pre-Alliance Planning: Pre-Alliance planning projects undertake planning activities necessary to form new alliances. Recipients of pre-alliance planning grants must commit to submission of an alliance or center proposal following the planning period. Projects are up to 18 months in duration. Pre-alliance proposals must be submitted under the due dates for this solicitation only.
    1. To increase the number of alliances around the country, the pre-alliance opportunity is available for institutions seeking alliance funding, including B2B alliances, to address the goals of the LSAMP program. Institutions that have considered forming an alliance, begun compiling enrollment and degree data to assess the feasibility of forming an alliance, and garnered support from administrators and STEM faculty, are highly encouraged to seek pre-alliance support.
    2. Funding may be used to conduct needs assessments, conduct organizational planning meetings, attend broadening participation planning meetings/conferences, etc. The planning proposal must demonstrate, at a minimum, the above efforts. If awarded pre-alliance support, NSF expects that a full alliance proposal will be submitted to the LSAMP program at the end of the planning period.
    3. Funds are not allowed under this project type for student support or to begin STEM recruitment and retention intervention programs.
    4. Prospective PIs are encouraged to contact LSAMP program officers to discuss pre-alliance planning activities.

Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.

Please note that other categories are listed on the NSF page (e.g. Bridge to the Baccalaureate, Bridge to the Doctorate, DOE Cooperative Activity, and STEM Pathways and Research Alliances, but USC is not eligible for them.