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News Release 16-131

NSF awards $5.9 million to broaden participation in academic workforce

Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program works to transform pathways for historically underrepresented populations

The three new AGEP alliances consist of 14 partner universities.

The three new AGEP alliances consist of 14 partner universities.

October 20, 2016

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced $5.9 million in funding for three new alliances consisting of 14 partner universities as part of NSF's Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program. Each award is for five years and will support the alliances as they develop, reproduce, implement and study models that can transform pathways for historically underrepresented minorities to careers as professors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Recent NSF data indicate that underrepresented minority STEM associate and full professors occupy only 8 percent of senior faculty positions at U.S. four-year colleges and universities. AGEP focuses on broadening participation in the academic workforce by advancing knowledge about the underlying issues, policies and practices affecting the participation, transition and advancement of underrepresented minorities in the STEM academy.

"Decades of federal, state, philanthropic and university funding have increased the pool of underrepresented minority students completing STEM doctoral degrees," said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, NSF assistant director for Education and Human Resources. "Research conducted by these projects will help universities address the currently difficult-to-navigate transitions that minority STEM students and postdoctoral fellows experience as they progress towards joining the professoriate. As part of building a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce, America's universities and colleges need a diverse faculty that can educate the next generation."

Building on nine existing alliances consisting of 30 partner universities, the three new AGEP alliances will work collaboratively to inform models and practices that advance underrepresented minority graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty in STEM fields. The 2016 AGEP alliances are:

AGEP Transformation Alliance: Bridging the PhD to Postdoc to Faculty Transitions for Women of Color in STEM

Vanderbilt University, Fisk University and Wake Forest University will collaborate to develop, study and refine a model to recruit, retain and advance underrepresented minority women from doctoral degree attainment to postdoctoral fellowships, and into tenured track faculty positions in STEM.

AGEP Transformation Alliance: CIRTL AGEP - Improved Academic Climate for STEM Dissertators and Postdocs to Increase Interest in Faculty Careers

Iowa State University, Boston University, Cornell University, Howard University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, University of Buffalo, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Texas at Arlington will collaborate to develop, build and test the impact of a model of a "networked improvement community" focused on improving the experiences of people in the dissertator phase of doctoral education at a variety of institutions, with the goal of reducing the effect of negative climate on interest in faculty careers.

California AGEP Model to Increase the Success of Underrepresented Minority Postdoctoral Fellows Becoming Faculty in Mathematics, Engineering and Physical and Computer Sciences

The University of California, Berkeley will lead a regional network with the University of California Los Angeles, Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology to refine, implement, study, sustain, disseminate and begin expanding, reproducing and replicating the current multi-dimensional California AGEP Alliance model at the national level. The California AGEP Alliance II will refine the community-of-practice, research exchange, mentoring and professional development components of the model. It will also significantly increase the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge about equitable and inclusive educational and mentoring practices to faculty who work with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.


Media Contacts
Rob Margetta, NSF, (703) 292-2663, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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