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GEO EMpowering BRoader Academic Capacity and Education (GEO-EMBRACE)

The Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) recognizes that individuals and institutions traditionally underserved by NSF face barriers to obtaining federal funding. To lower barriers, broaden participation, and promote access to funding support, the GEO-EMpowering Broader Academic Capacity & Education (GEO-EMBRACE) Dear Colleague Letter calls attention and encourages submissions to existing NSF and GEO opportunities of potential interest to investigators faced with barriers such as those noted above.

World As One GEO seeks to expand access and participation of principal investigators (PIs) who are from (i) historically excluded groups in GEO disciplines (for example, persons with disabilities, Black, Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+,and other individuals from marginalized/minoritized groups), and/or (ii) tribal colleges and universities (TCU), historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), other minority serving institutions (MSI), two-year colleges (2YC), primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI), and emerging research and masters level institutions. This GEO-EMBRACE Web Portal highlights existing NSF and GEO opportunities that support the NSF’s goal to “increase both the involvement of communities underrepresented in STEM and enhance capacity throughout the nation” (NSF 22-068).

Programs within GEO support projects that increase research capabilities, capacity, and infrastructure at a wide variety of institution types. Existing pertinent NSF and GEO opportunities can be found by clicking on the menu items below.

Interested PIs may seek guidance via and are encouraged to engage directly with GEO Program Directors during regularly held Drop-in Virtual Office Hours (VOHs; registration links are below).


Meet GEO Program Directors in an informal setting to ask questions and share your thoughts about listed opportunities. The next two VOH sessions are scheduled:

  • Monday, September 25th, 4-5 pm ET: Zoom Link
  • Thursday, October 5th, 2-3 pm ET: Zoom Link
    We invite faculty members at emerging (non-R1) academic institutions (e.g., Community Colleges, Tribal Colleges and Universities, MSIs, HBCUs, Undergraduate, Masters, and R2 Institutions) to engage with GEO Program Directors to address concerns and ask questions about opportunities found in the GEO-EMBRACE web portal.


New solicitation:

  • GEO EMpowering BRoader Academic Capacity and Education (GEO-EMBRACE) supports research and educational efforts at non-R1 institutions and aims to mitigate barriers faced by faculty members in geosciences and related fields at non-R1 institutions in submitting and obtaining federal funding. (NSF 23-617)
    • Target Date: November 20, 2023, May 15, 2024





  • Core disciplinary programs in OCE support a broad range of institution types via their regular program support and encourages any PI at any eligible institution type to discuss the appropriateness of research topics with cognizant program officers.   
  • Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship provides opportunities for scientists early in their careers to work within and across traditional disciplinary lines, develop partnerships, and avail themselves of unique research resources, sites and facilities. The fellowship program is intended to provide beginning investigators with experiences that will establish them in positions of leadership in the scientific community.  


  • Core disciplinary programs in OPP support a broad range of institution types via their regular program support and encourages any PI at any eligible institution type to discuss the appropriateness of research topics with cognizant program officers.   


Guidelines for the following funding mechanisms can be found in NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). Proposal submission to the opportunities outlined below (1) are submitted directly to a GEO program (see above) closely aligned with the research topic, and (2) require approval/permission from a cognizant program officer prior to submission.


Within the Facilitating Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) solicitation, the Research Opportunity Awards (ROA) enables PUI faculty members to pursue research as visiting scientists with NSF-supported investigators at other institutions to enhance the research capability and effectiveness of the involved parties. 

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Excellence in Research (HBCU-EiR) program aims to strengthen research capacity at HBCUs by funding research projects aligned with NSF's research programs.

The Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) program offers an opportunity for scientists at the mid-career stage to enhance and advance their research program and career trajectory, while enabling a more diverse scientific workforce at high academic ranks. The new PUI track in GEO extends eligibility to full professors at PUIs.

While broadening participation is included in NSF’s merit review criteria, some programs go beyond the standard review criteria. These investments use different approaches to build STEM education and research capacity, catalyze new areas of STEM research, and develop strategic partnerships and alliances. The Broadening Participation in STEM initiative lists relevant funding opportunities.