University of Southern California

Research

NSF 20-526: NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM)

Slots:                                                     An Institution may submit one proposal (either as a single institution or as subawardee or a member of a Collaborative Research project) from each constituent school or college that awards degrees in an S-STEM eligible discipline.

Internal Deadline:                           School to coordinate own review process.

LOI:                                                        N/A

External Deadline:                          March 31, 2021

Award Information:                        Type: Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 60 to 80

Anticipated Amount: $70,000,000 to $95,000,000

Submission Process:                     School to coordinate own review process.

Link to Award:                                  https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2020/nsf20526/nsf20526.htm

Who May Serve as PI:                   

For Track 1 (Institutional Capacity Building) and Track 2 (Design and Development: Single Institution) projects, the Principal Investigator must be a faculty member currently teaching in an S-STEM eligible discipline who can provide the leadership required to ensure the success of the project. Projects involving more than one department within an institution are eligible, but a single Principal Investigator must accept overall management and leadership responsibility. Other members of the S-STEM senior project leadership and management team may be listed as Co-Principal Investigators.

For Track 3 (Design and Development: Multi-Institutional Consortia) projects, the Principal Investigator must be a faculty member currently teaching in an S-STEM eligible discipline or an institutional, educational, or social science researcher who can provide the leadership required to ensure the success of the project. A consortium project must have a Principal Investigator who accepts overall management and leadership responsibility. Other members of the S-STEM senior project leadership and management team may be listed as Co-Principal Investigators or PIs on collaborative research proposals.

Scholars must be low-income, academically talented students with unmet financial need who are enrolled in an associate, baccalaureate or graduate degree program, with a major in an S-STEM eligible discipline.

Purpose:

The goals of the S-STEM program are:

  1. To increase the recruitment, retention, student success, and graduation (including student transfer) of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degrees in S-STEM eligible disciplines, and enter the STEM workforce or graduate programs in STEM.
  2. To adapt, implement, and study models, effective evidence-based practices, and/or strategies that contribute to understanding how factors or existing high-quality evidence-based practices affect recruitment, retention, student success, academic/career pathways, and/or degree attainment (including student transfer) in STEM of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need.
  3. To contribute to the implementation and sustainability of effective evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities (e.g., evidence-based practices; professional and workforce development activities) for low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need, pursuing undergraduate or graduate education, and entry into the workforce or graduate programs in STEM.

IHEs are expected to establish selection criteria for scholarships. To receive scholarships, students must be low-income, academically talented, and have unmet financial need. They must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, nationals, or refugees. See Section IV.B. Scholarship Recipients for additional details.

IHEs are expected to develop and maintain student cohorts and provide S-STEM Scholars with faculty mentors. It is expected that scholarship recipients will achieve at least one of the following outcomes by the end of the scholarship award period:

Program Tracks

For all tracks, proposers are encouraged to utilize data analytics to examine patterns in institutional student data that describe and predict the successful completion of student academic and career paths.

Track 1 (Institutional Capacity Building)

Track 1 projects seek to increase the participation of institutions that have limited experience with designing and conducting activities, as described in the description of the S-STEM Design and Development projects. Track 1 provides funds to establish new collaborative partnerships and infrastructure that support projects with these types of activities: (1) to provide scholarships to low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need, (2) to advance the adaptation, implementation and understanding of evidence-based academic and student support activities for NSF S-STEM Scholars and other students pursuing STEM degrees, (3) to increase retention, student success and graduation in STEM, and (4) to test strategies for systematically exploring student academic and career pathways in STEM in ways that are congruent with the context of the institution. Proposers are encouraged to work with Offices of Institutional Research or responsible parties or to contact researchers whose interests are in understanding undergraduate/graduate STEM education or workforce development. Projects should generate knowledge about factors and/or activities associated with student success and degree attainment.

IHEs eligible to submit proposals to Track 1 are institutions that have not had or do not currently have awards funded by the S-STEM program or the STEM Talent Expansion (STEP) program.

A Track 1 project leadership and management team must be led by a PI who is a STEM faculty member currently teaching in one of the S-STEM eligible disciplines. The leadership and management team should also include a STEM administrator and an institutional, educational, or social science researcher who studies STEM higher education.

Track 1 proposals may request up to $650,000 for 5 years. At least 60% of the total amount requested must be requested for scholarships and entered on line F.1. in the budget. In addition, funds should be requested to support the adaptation and implementation of existing high quality evidence-based academic and student support activities; the investigation of factors or evidence-based academic and student support activities to determine their effectiveness in recruiting, retaining, and graduating students in STEM; and the management and evaluation of the project.

Track 2 (Design and Development: Single Institution)

Track 2 projects seek to leverage S-STEM funds with institutional efforts and infrastructure to increase and understand recruitment, retention, student success, transfer, if appropriate, academic/career pathways, and degree attainment in STEM, with emphasis on low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need. Track 2 are expected to:

Track 2 single Institution projects are focused on well-documented institutional needs or concerns. The program strongly encourages proposals to build on completed needs analyses or institutional self-studies. This type of project must be led by a PI who is a STEM faculty member currently teaching in one of the S-STEM eligible disciplines and who is a member of the leadership and management team. The leadership and management team should also include a STEM administrator and an institutional, educational, or social science researcher.

Proposals for Track 2 may request up to $1.0 million for 5 years. At least 60% of the total amount requested must be requested for scholarships and entered on line F.1. in the budget. In addition, funds should be requested to support the adaptation and implementation of existing high-quality evidence-based academic and student support activities; the investigation of factors or evidence-based academic and student support activities to determine their effectiveness in recruiting, retaining, and graduating students in STEM; and the management and evaluation of the project.

Proposals may also include a focus on student transfer.

Track 3 (Design and Development: Multi-Institutional Consortia)

Track 3 multi-institutional projects seek to leverage S-STEM funds with institutional efforts and infrastructure to increase and understand recruitment, retention, student success, transfer, if appropriate, academic/career pathways, and degree attainment in STEM, with emphasis on low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need. Track 3 projects are expected to:

Track 3 supports institutional collaborations that focus on a common interest or problem. For example, a collaboration among community colleges and four-year colleges or universities may focus on issues associated with the transfer of students from 2-year institutions to 4-year programs or a consortium of institutions may focus on investigating factors, such as self-efficacy or identity, associated with student success or degree attainment. Multi-Institutional Consortia projects are expected to:

Multi-Institutional Consortia projects are managed by leadership and management teams composed of faculty members who are currently teaching in an S-STEM eligible discipline(s), STEM administrators, and institutional, educational, or social science researchers. In multi-institutional projects the PI must be either a faculty member currently teaching in one of the S-STEM eligible disciplines or a researcher whose expertise is in institutional, educational, or social science research in higher education.

Proposals with a focus on multi-institutional efforts may request up to $5.0 million for 5 years. At least 60% of the total requested amount must support scholarships to low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need. In addition, funds should be requested to support the adaptation and implementation of a common set of existing high quality evidence-based academic and student support activities; the investigation of factors or evidence-based academic and student support activities to determine their effectiveness in recruiting, retaining, and graduating students in STEM; and the management and evaluation of the project.

The level of funding requested should be congruent with the focus, scope, and size of the effort.

Track 3 projects will be reviewed during their third year to determine whether satisfactory progress has been made, with continued funding contingent on the result of the third-year review.

Budgetary Requirements:

Provide a budget for each year of support requested.

The maximum duration for a Track 1 project is expected to be 5 years. The maximum S-STEM request may not exceed $650,000. At least 60% of the total requested amount must go to scholarships to academically talented low-income students with demonstrated financial need. Funds should support the implementation and testing of existing high quality evidence-based practices (e.g., curricular and co-curricular activities and student support services), contributions to knowledge use and generation, project evaluation, and project management.

The maximum duration for a Track 2 project is expected to be 5 years. The maximum S-STEM request may not exceed $1.0 million. At least 60% of the total amount requested must go to scholarships to low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need. Funds should support the implementation and testing of existing high quality evidence-based practices (e.g., curricular and co-curricular activities and student support activities), contributions to knowledge use and generation, project evaluation, and project management.

The maximum duration for a Track 3 project is expected to be 5 years. The maximum S-STEM request may not exceed $5.0 million and is dependent on focus, size, and scope. At least 60% of the total requested amount must go to supporting scholarships for low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need. Funds should support the implementation and testing of existing high quality evidence-based practices (e.g., curricular and co-curricular activities and student support services) that are common to all members of the consortium, contributions to knowledge use and generation, project evaluation, and project management.

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