Frequently Asked Questions Discovery Research K-12 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACRONYMS (QUESTION 1)
PROPOSAL SUBMISSION AND PROCESSING
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM
- What do the acronyms in the DR-K12
||Discovery Research K-12 (current)
||Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and
||Centers for Learning and Teaching (past)
||Instructional Materials Development (past)
||Teacher Professional Continuum (past)
||Authorized Organizational Representative
||Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
||Universal Design for Learning
||American Association for the Advancement
||International Technology Education Association
||National Council for Teachers of Mathematics
||National Research Council
||National Science Digital Library
||Teacher Education Materials (a database)
PROPOSAL SUBMISSION AND PROCESSING
- Where can I find the guidelines for submitting
proposals to NSF?
Proposals submitted to NSF must be prepared and submitted
in accordance with the guidelines contained in NSF's Grant
Proposal Guide (GPG). The GPG is available electronically
on the NSF Website at www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.
Paper copies of the GPG can be obtained from the NSF Publications
Clearinghouse. Call (703) 292-7827 or e-mail email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on proposal preparation
and award administration are available at www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/faqs.pdf.
- Should I submit my proposal to FastLane or Grants.gov?
Although proposals can be submitted via either system, FastLane
is designed solely for NSF and offers support for program
requirements. Letters of Intent and preliminary proposals,
when required, must be submitted via the FastLane system.
NSF's FastLane system uses Internet/Web technology to facilitate
the way NSF does business with research, education, and related
communities. FastLane is available for proposal preparation;
submission and status checking; project reporting; and post-award
administrative activities. All FastLane functions are accessed
with a Web browser.
Information and FAQs about FastLane are available at www.fastlane.nsf.gov.
Questions concerning the use of FastLane should be directed
to FastLane's User Support Desk at (800) 673-6188 or (703)
292-8142 or by sending an e-mail to FastLane@nsf.gov.
Proposals submitted via Grants.gov should be prepared and
submitted in accordance with the NSF Grants.gov Application
Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF
Applications via Grants.gov. The complete text of the NSF
Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov
website and on the NSF website at: (http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf).
To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application
Forms Package, click on the Apply tab on the Grants.gov site,
then click on the Apply Step 1: Download a Grant Application
Package and Application Instructions link and enter the funding
opportunity number, (the program solicitation number without
the NSF prefix) and press the Download Package button. Paper
copies of the Grants.gov Application Guide also may be obtained
from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703)
292-7827 or by e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Are Letters of Intent required
for all components of DR-K12?
No. Letters of Intent are required for Exploratory Projects
only in all three proposal components (Applied Research,
Development of Resources and Tools, and Capacity Building).
If you plan to submit a proposal for a full-scale project
for any of the three DR-K12 components, instead of a Letter
of Intent, you are required to submit a Preliminary Proposal. "Required" means
that if you do not submit a Preliminary Proposal on or before
the November 15th due date, you may not submit a full proposal
- How do I submit a Letter of Intent?
Submit your Letter of Intent via FastLane. On the FastLane
Home Page, click on FastLane Help in the upper right corner,
then Proposal Functions from the list of links on the left
side. On the screen that follows, click on Create and then
Submit Letters of Intent. Follow the instructions provided.
- What information should I include in my Letter
Your Letter of Intent should contain a brief narrative that
describes the project and provides the following information:
(1) a project title; (2) clear identification of the proposal
component (i.e., Applied Research, Development of Resources
and Tools, or Capacity Building) and the proposal category
within that component; (3) a list of proposed Principal Investigators
and Co-Principal Investigators, including organizational
affiliations and departments; (4) partnering institutions;
(5) STEM disciplines represented; and (6) grade band, if
May I submit more than one preliminary or full
proposal if they are in different proposal components?
Yes. The solicitation does not limit the number or types
of preliminary proposals that a Principal Investigator can
submit. For example, a PI can submit a proposal to Applied
Research (Component A) and to Development of Resources and
Tools (Component B).
May I submit a full proposal to more than one
category within a component? For example, may I submit
a proposal to do an evaluative study of NSF-funded resources
and tools and a different proposal to study a student learning
progression in the Applied Research component?
Yes. The solicitation does not limit the types or number
of proposals that a Principal Investigator can submit.
If I decide after November 1, 2006 (the deadline
for submitting Letters of Intent for Exploratory projects)
that I want to submit a proposal for an exploratory project,
may I do so?
No, the Letter of Intent for Exploratory projects is required.
If a Full proposal for an Exploratory project is submitted,
it will be returned without review.
Although Preliminary Proposals are not required
for Exploratory Projects, can I submit one?
DR-K12 is not prepared to handle Preliminary Proposals for
Exploratory Projects. After submitting your Letter of Intent,
you can contact a DR-K12 Program Director to discuss your
idea for an Exploratory Project.
I want to conduct professional
development activities for STEM teachers. To which component
should I submit my proposal?
The DR-K12 program does not support professional development
initiatives, that is, fund projects for which the main activity
is implementation of a workshop or a course for teachers.
However, a project may conduct professional development activities
in the process of conducting research or developing materials.
DR-K12 supports research studies about STEM teachers' professional
development (Component A: Applied Research), the development
of resources and tools for use in STEM teacher education
and professional development (Component B: Development of
Resources and Tools), and the development of STEM educators
at the doctoral level (Component C: Capacity Building). The
main products of Component A projects are research findings
organized into papers to be published in peer-reviewed journals.
The main products of Component B projects are instructional
or assessment materials. The main products of Component C
projects are the development of system models and research
personnel for STEM educational innovations.
My project includes
research and professional development. To which component
should I submit my proposal?
If the main product of your project is a paper in a research
and/or practitioner journal that adds to the theoretical
knowledge base, synthesizes knowledge, or advances understanding
of methods, submit the proposal to Component A: Applied Research.
If the main product of your project is material that will
be used in the professional development of teachers, submit
the proposal to Component B: Development of Tools and Resources.
All Component B projects are expected to include research
into why the materials work, with whom the materials work,
and in what contexts the materials work.
My project includes
research and the development of instructional materials
for students. To which component should I submit my proposal?
If the major purpose of your project is to add to the theoretical
knowledge base, synthesize the knowledge base, or advance
understanding of various methods, submit the proposal to
Component A: Applied Research. If the major product
of your project is to develop the instructional materials
to be used with students in classrooms submit the proposal
to Component B: Development of Tools and Resources. All projects
in Component B should be informed by research and are expected
to include research into why the materials work, with whom
the materials work, and in what contexts the materials work.
How should I determine whether to submit my proposal
to REESE or DR-K12?
While both programs support research in various topics at
the K-12 level, there are a number of ways in which they
are different. First, in general, the REESE program emphasizes
more fundamental contributions to the knowledge base in STEM
learning and education (including the development of theory
and method), while DR-K12 is aimed at producing findings
of more immediate use to educators, schools and districts.
Second, in addition to K-12 education, REESE supports research
on pre-K, undergraduate education, graduate education, adult
education, and informal learning. If you are unsure, we recommend
you seek advice from a Program Director and submit your proposal
to whichever program you feel fits your research goals best.
NSF reserves the right to review your proposal under the
program it feels provides the best fit.
Do conference proposals require a Letter of Intent
or preliminary proposal?
conference proposals do not require a Letter of Intent or
a preliminary proposal.
Once I submit a proposal,
how long will it be before I hear from NSF about a funding
The goal of NSF is to notify proposers of a funding decision
within 6 months of the proposal submission deadline.
How many awards will DR-K12 fund?
DR-K12 estimates the total awards to be 48 standard or continuing
grants—12 Conference grants, 21 Exploratory grants,
and 15 Full-Scale grants.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM
- Must I address one or more of the Grand Challenges
in my proposal?
Proposals are not required to address Grand Challenges.
DR-K12 does not expect the Grand Challenges to be reflected
in every proposal or award, but they are a priority for NSF.
Ultimately, proposals that review best are those most likely
to be awarded, so the peer review panels will help weigh
the importance of the Grand Challenges vis-à-vis the
intellectual merit and broader impacts addressed in DR-K12's
Guidelines. Principal Investigators and institutions should
focus their proposed work on the needs of STEM education
in light of their own capacity and DR-K12's goals. There
are no quotas for the number of awards that will address
the Grand Challenges.
Because DR-K12 is a K-12 program, must I address
all K-12 grades in my proposal?
No. Projects should address grade levels or grade bands
that are appropriate for the goals and activities of the
What are exploratory projects?
Exploratory projects address exploratory questions that
can be investigated in a short amount of time (no more than
3 years) with a modest budget ($300,000). The purpose is
to allow researchers to investigate the efficacy of new research
questions or new approaches before requesting full funding.
NSF hopes these explorations will produce empirical evidence
that calls for further research or development. These are
not planning grants. Exploratory projects are complete studies,
but are typically smaller in scale and duration, as they
test the reasonableness of ideas and feasibility of methods.
Can STEM Education Research
Scholars projects provide stipends for students who were
enrolled as doctoral candidates prior to the NSF award?
The goal of the STEM Education Research Scholars component
is to increase the number and diversity of students receiving
doctoral degrees in STEM education and entering STEM education
careers. It is therefore expected that the majority of students
supported by this program will be new students recruited
to work as a cohort on a common research agenda in critical
and/or emerging areas of STEM education. In some cases, it
may be advantageous to award a stipend to previously enrolled
degree candidates who are in the early stages of a doctoral
research project relevant to the institution's Scholars program;
however, the proposal should provide convincing evidence
that the program will prioritize recruitment of a new group
of talented individuals interested in STEM education careers.
When appropriate, education and training activities developed
for the STEM Education Research Scholars may be made available
to other students in STEM education and STEM so as to enhance
the career development of all students.
Can you explain how the
maximum award to support five graduate students was calculated?
Most of this award goes into participant support. You can
ask for up to $40,500 per student for 5 students per year
for 5 years ($40,500 x 5 x 5 = $1,012,500 maximum for participant
support). In addition, an institution or consortium can request
up to $300,000 over the life of the project to support the
program (for example, to develop a mentoring program, for
program evaluation, or to cover costs of outside speakers).
The $300,000 must be inclusive of indirect costs. Thus, the
maximum award in this category is $1,312,500.
May graduate students, as individuals, apply
for Research Scholar funding?
The Research Scholars component of DR-K12 does not fund
stand-alone graduate research projects. If, however, a graduate-degree
granting institution applies for, and receives, research
scholars funding with a research theme that is compatible
with a student's interest, the student can apply to the institution
and ask to become one of the (up to five) doctoral students
supported by the award. Institutions will not receive notification
of awards until September 2007 or the summer before.
What are different dissemination
activities and venues?
Examples of dissemination activities include STEM education
researchers sharing findings with other communities like
policy makers, teachers, and community based advocates. Findings
can also be disseminated via peer-reviewed and practitioner
journals, websites or through technology-based applications
like web conferences or pod casting. Principal Investigators
can partner with museums, nature centers, science centers,
and similar institutions to display research findings or
share materials and resources developed with NSF funding.
PIs can give STEM education presentations to the broader
community (for example, at libraries or on radio shows).
Research methodologies and findings can be published in diverse
media (for example, non-technical literature and press kits)
to reach broad audiences. PIs can also present research and
education findings in formats useful to policy-makers, members
of Congress, industry, and other audiences, participate in
conferences and workshops, and integrate research with education.
Are Appendices allowed
in preliminary or full proposals?
Appendices may not be included in preliminary or full proposals.
For preliminary proposals, no additional documentation beyond
the required preliminary proposal elements is permitted.
For full proposals, supplemental documentation such as letters
indicating support for the proposed project can be submitted.
However, reviewers are not required to read the supporting
documents and you cannot assume that they will read it. Therefore,
make sure the project description provides sufficient information
about the project to enable reviewers to make informed judgments.
Is IRB approval required to submit a proposal?
Projects involving research with human subjects must ensure
that subjects are protected from research risks in conformance
with the relevant federal policy known as the Common Rule
(Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, 45
CFR 690). All projects involving human subjects must either
(1) have approval from the organization's Institutional Review
Board (IRB) before issuance of an NSF award or, (2) must
affirm that the IRB or an appropriate knowledgeable authority
previously designated by the organization (not the Principal
Investigator) has declared the research exempt from IRB review,
in accordance with the applicable subsection, as established
in section 101(b) of the Common Rule. The box for "Human
Subjects" must be checked on the Cover Sheet with the
IRB approval date (if available) or exemption subsection
from the Common Rule identified in the space provided. If
IRB approval has not been obtained prior to submission, the
proposer should indicate "Pending" in
the space provided for the approval date. Advice is available
Are project teams required to include
scholars from each and every field mentioned under the Personnel
sub-heading in the solicitation (that is, practicing scientists,
mathematicians, and engineers; cognitive scientists; STEM
educators and classroom teachers)?
No. Project teams need to include professionals whose expertise
is relevant to the content and grade-band. For example, a
project team that is developing algebra materials for middle
school should include at least one math educator, one math/science
teacher, one cognitive scientist who works with 12-14 year
old students and one mathematician who has algebra expertise.