Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP)


Program Solicitation

NSF-02-075



DIRECTORATE FOR EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES
      DIVISION OF UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION



LETTER OF INTENT DUE DATE(S) (optional): April 12, 2002

FULL PROPOSAL DEADLINE(S): June 3, 2002

 




NSF Logo  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION





Small NSF logo

   The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

   To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Web Site at:

http://www.nsf.gov

  • Location:
4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230
  • For General Information (NSF Information Center):
(703) 292-5111
  • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):
(703) 292-5090
  • To Order Publications or Forms:
Send an e-mail to: pubs@nsf.gov
or telephone: (301) 947-2722
  • To Locate NSF Employees:
(703) 292-5111



















SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS



GENERAL INFORMATION

Program Title: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP)

Synopsis of Program: The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) seeks to increase the number of students (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) pursuing and receiving associates or baccalaureate degrees in established or emerging fields within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). For FY02, given the limited funding available to STEP, proposals are solicited which provide for planning and pilot efforts at academic institutions. 

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

AWARD INFORMATION

PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

B. Budgetary Information

C. Deadline/Target Dates

D. FastLane Requirements

PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION





TABLE OF CONTENTS



SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
  3. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
  4. AWARD INFORMATION
  5. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements
  6. PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION
    1. NSF Proposal Review Process
    2. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard
  7. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements
  8. CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  9. OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST




I. INTRODUCTION

Undergraduate education is central to the National Science Foundation's mission in human resource development. Whether preparing students to participate as citizens in a technological society, to enter the workforce with two- or four-year degrees, to continue their formal education in graduate school, or to further their education in response to new career goals or workplace expectations, undergraduate education provides the critical link between the Nation's secondary schools and a society increasingly dependent upon science and technology. Increasing the number of undergraduate students obtaining degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will provide a workforce that is prepared to ensure a healthy economy, respond to demands for national security, and maintain and elevate the quality of life and standard of living in the United States through technological and scientific advancements.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Program activities under STEP should be planning and pilot efforts aimed at developing strategies which will lead to an increase in the number of students (United States citizens or permanent residents) pursuing and receiving associates or baccalaureate degrees in established or emerging fields within STEM fields at the institution(s). The goal of the project must be to increase the total number of students at the institution(s) receiving such degrees across all STEM fields. If a project focuses efforts on only a subset of STEM fields, increases in those fields must not be at the expense of the number of majors in other STEM fields. 

Project efforts might include, for example, one or more of the following:

The outcomes expected of funded STEP projects include all of the following:

In addition to describing the proposed activities, the Project Description should include the information requested under “Full Proposal” in Section V.A. of this Solicitation.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Proposals are invited from institutions of higher education in the United States and its territories, or consortia of such institutions, offering either associates degrees or baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Associate degree granting institutions with a demonstrated record of articulation to STEM baccalaureate programs need not necessarily grant associate degrees in STEM fields in order to be eligible for this program. Proposals from a formal consortium should be submitted by the consortium; proposals from an informal consortium or coalition may be submitted by one of the member institutions. For additional details see the Grant Proposal Guide. Projects may involve a single institution, collaboration with business and industrial partners, or collaboration among several institutions. For example, projects may include collaborative efforts that improve the transition of students among the collaborating institutions, such as transfer between two- and four-year institutions.  

IV. AWARD INFORMATION

The number and size of awards will depend on the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funds. Grant duration is expected to be 2-3 years. Institutions are eligible to apply for funds based on their total enrollments of undergraduate students (full-time equivalents). Institutions enrolling 5,000 or fewer undergraduate students may request up to a total of $100,000 for a period of up to three years, those enrolling between 5000 and 15,000 undergraduate students may request up to a total of $250,000 for up to three years, and those enrolling more than 15,000 undergraduate students may request up to a total of $700,000 for up to three years. Consortia of institutions are eligible to request funds within these limits based on their total, combined undergraduate enrollment. An institution is allowed to submit only one proposal, or to be part of only one consortium submitting a proposal. Awards will be made as standard or continuing grants. The expectation is that about 10-15 awards will be made in FY02. 

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Letters of Intent: A letter of intent is optional but encouraged before submitting a full proposal. The letter of intent is not a preliminary proposal. It is intended to enhance the efficiency of the review process. It should be a brief statement that indicates an intent to submit a proposal to STEP. Letters of intent should be sent by electronic mail to STEP-prog@nsf.gov by April 12, 2002.   

Full Proposal:

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpg. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

In addition to describing the proposed activities, proposals are expected to include:

The National Science Foundation allows maximum flexibility in the design of efforts to increase the number of students pursuing and receiving associates or baccalaureate degrees in established or emerging fields within STEM fields. However, the proposal must fully document the rationales for choosing the efforts to be undertaken, including relevant results from efforts that have been undertaken at other institutions in the past. Funded projects will be expected to establish an internal Advisory Committee, chaired by the Chief Academic Officer (or other appropriate administrative official should the Chief Academic Officer be a PI or co-PI on the project) at the institution, with members drawn from disciplines across the STEM fields. This committee is expected to meet with project personnel at least once every six months throughout the grant period in order to provide advice to the project, and to facilitate dissemination about the project throughout the institution(s). The members of this Advisory Committee should be specified in the proposal.

Additional Requirements

A Project Data Form (NSF Form 1295) must be submitted (via FastLane) as part of all proposals. The information on this form is used to direct proposals to appropriate reviewers and to determine the characteristics of projects supported by the Division of Undergraduate Education. In FastLane, this form will show up in the list of forms for your proposal only after you have (1) selected  the "STEP" program announcement/solicitation number on the Cover Sheet and (2) saved the Cover Sheet.

A budget justification of up to three pages must accompany the budget forms and provide details about budget line items. 

Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-02-075) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation.

Other Budgetary Limitations: Grant duration is expected to be 2-3 years. Institutions are eligible to apply for funds based on their total enrollment of undergraduate students(full-time equivalents). Institutions enrolling 5,000 or fewer undergraduate students may request up to a total of $100,000 for a period of up to three years, those enrolling between 5000 and 15,000 undergraduate students may request up to a total of $250,000 for up to three years, and those enrolling more than 15,000 undergraduate students may request up to a total of $700,000 for up to three years. Consortia of institutions are eligible to request funds within these limits based on their total, combined undergraduate enrollment.

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):

Letters of Intent (optional): April 12, 2002
Full Proposals by 5:00 PM local time: June 3, 2002

D. FastLane Requirements

Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Solicitation through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this Program Solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this announcement/solicitation.

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Proposers are no longer required to provide a paper copy of the signed Proposal Cover Sheet to NSF. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov.

VI. PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

A. NSF Proposal Review Process

Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. NSF invites the proposer to suggest, at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the identities of reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Mail and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the closing date of an announcement/solicitation or the date of proposal receipt (whichever is later). The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at one's own risk.

VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program Division administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See section VI.A. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions;* and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/grants/grants_gac.htm. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpm. The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO Web site at http://www.gpo.gov.

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

Within 90 days after the expiration of an award, the PI also is required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on project participants (individual and organizational), activities and findings, publications, and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.

VIII. CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

General inquiries regarding  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program  should be made to:For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

IX. OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST

The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gp. General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter.

Many NSF programs offer announcements or solicitations concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices. Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF E-Bulletin, which is updated daily on the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service (http://www.nsf.gov/home/cns/start.htm) to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.

In addition, the Division of Undergraduate Education maintains a web site at http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/ehr/due/links/other_programs.asp that lists other funding opportunities specifically for undergraduate STEM education.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

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

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to compete 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 (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) 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/solicitation for further information.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339.

The National Science Foundation is committed to making all of the information we publish easy to understand. If you have a suggestion about how to improve the clarity of this document or other NSF-published materials, please contact 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 proposal 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.

Pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Division of Administrative Services, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, or to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation (3145-0058), 725 17th Street, N.W. Room 10235, Washington, D.C. 20503.

OMB control number: 3145-0058.