NSF 00-77

National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230

NSF Dear Colleague Letter
Title: Information Technology Workforce

Dear Colleague,

The Federal government plans to increase its investments in fundamental, long-term research in information technologies (IT), encouraging, in particular, research spanning information technology and scientific applications, and in the area of social, ethical and workforce issues. To help ensure that the United States continues its worldwide leadership in IT, we need to strengthen the technological workforce and to produce a continuous supply of well-trained high-quality professionals in engineering and computer and information science (Presidentís Information Technology Advisory Committee Report, http://www.ccic.gov/ac/report/). Without an IT workforce that is large enough to meet both the public and private sectorsí growing demand, and that is adept at using and producing information technologies, we surely risk losing the scientific, economic and human resource advantages we now enjoy.

In this respect, the under-representation of women and minorities in the IT workforce is a serious national problem. There is agreement among some of the nationís leading researchers and scientists that systematic research efforts are needed to address this problem. Hence, the National Science Foundation is announcing a new special emphasis on the IT workforce (ITW) that will support a broad set of scientific research studies focussed on the under-representation of women and minorities in the IT workforce.

Research Goals

ITW welcomes proposals that address important research questions related to the under-representation of women and minorities in the IT workforce. While there is no consensus on a single definition of the IT workforce, we encourage researchers to carefully articulate and justify their own definition of the IT workforce model. A suggested, but not exhaustive, list of possible research questions is included in Appendix A. These research topics revolve around three basic themes:
Multi-disciplinary collaboration among researchers in IT, the social sciences, and education is strongly encouraged. Research can address issues at the individual level, at the societal level, at the institutional level, or across levels of analysis. All proposals should take into consideration existing relevant research on the IT workforce. Small projects (one to two investigators) as well as medium-sized multi-site team projects (three to five investigators) will be supported.

ITW encourages research using a variety of methods. These include tools design, development and experimental evaluation, simulation and modeling, survey analysis, statistical models, ethnographic work to test models, case studies, and the development of new methods for understanding increasingly complex processes and dynamics of transformation. Formal meta-analysis methodologies across previous studies and intervention programs will be supported in order to build on the results of earlier work and to add to the research base.

ITW will also support the analysis and assessment of existing information tools and technologies and their possible differential uses and implications for Women and Minorities in IT. It will also support the design, development, and assessment of prototypes of new information tools and technologies that will benefit women and minorities in IT.


Proposals may be submitted by any organization eligible for NSF support as reflected in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). Multi-disciplinary collaboration between researchers in IT and the social sciences is strongly encouraged.

Proposal Preparation Instructions

Proposals submitted in response to this Dear Colleague Letter should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) NSF 00-2 and must be submitted via Fastlane. Visit our site on the World Wide Web (http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov).

Submission Date

Proposals for the ITW Special Emphasis must be submitted by 5pm, local time, on June 22, 2000, using NSFís FastLane electronic proposal submission system, see the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) for instructions. The complete text of the GPG (including electronic forms) is available electronically on the NSF Web site at: http://www.nsf.gov/. When submitting your proposal, please type "NSF-00-77" in the block entitled "Program Announcement/Solicitation No./Closing Date."

Contact for Additional Information

Please send all inquiries by Email to ITW-prog@nsf.gov.

Award Information

Proposals submitted explicitly in response to this Dear Colleague Letter will be considered for funding as well as proposals that fit the criteria of ITW but which are submitted to other programs, divisions or directorates. ITW awards may be funded for up to 3 years and will generally range from $75,000 to $250,000 per year. Depending on the availability of funding, between 15 and 25 proposals may be selected for support per funding cycle.

Ruzena Bajcsy
Assistant Director, CISE



Theme 1: Environment and Culture

Theme 2: IT Educational Continuum

Theme 3: IT Workplace

About The National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the result for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (some programs may have special requirements that limit eligibility).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-0090, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339.

We want all of our communications to be clear and understandable. If you have suggestions on how we can improve this document or other NSF publications, please email us at plainlanguage@nsf.gov.

Privacy Act and Public Burden Statements

The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Reports Clearance Officer, Information Dissemination Branch, DAS; National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230.

Programs described in this publication are in Category 47.070 (Computer and Information Science and Engineering) in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.


Electronic Dissemination