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News Release 16-147

NSF awards $61 million in new projects to enhance understanding of STEM education and workforce development

EHR Core Research Program awards help address STEM education challenges

The new awards aim to improve and advance STEM learning and prepare a diverse STEM workforce.

The new awards aim to improve and advance STEM learning and prepare a diverse STEM workforce.

December 1, 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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

To continue to achieve nationwide excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $61 million in new awards.

The awards, made through the NSF Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) Core Research Program (ECR), focus on projects that help the educational community understand, explain and address challenges in STEM learning and participation. EHR funded a total of 67 projects through ECR awards in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, with the goal of accelerating the directorate's efforts to strategically and broadly improve STEM teaching and learning.

"STEM education is essential for the future of U.S. science and engineering, and for ensuring the workforce is ready for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow," said Evan Heit, NSF division director for EHR's Division of Research on Learning. "More effective STEM education requires a deeper understanding of how people learn, from childhood to adulthood -- and that's exactly the kind of research knowledge base ECR awards help expand."

The new awards fund projects aimed at generating foundational knowledge in:

  • Improving and advancing STEM learning and learning environments for students, parents, teachers and the general population in all settings, from formal and informal education to technological learning environments.
  • Supporting and preparing a STEM professional workforce that is ready to capitalize on unprecedented advances in technology and science and address current and future global, social and economic challenges.
  • Diversifying and increasing participation in STEM, effectively building institutional capacity and informal learning environments that foster the untapped potential of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

Below are just a few of the ECR projects NSF funded in FY 2016. For the complete list of ECR projects and their abstracts, click here.

Algebra Instruction at Community Colleges: An Exploration of its Relationship with Student Success

The Role of Mechanistic Explanations in Learning about Science and Technology

Operationalizing Students' Textbook Annotations to Improve Comprehension and Long-Term Retention

Career Commitment and Retention in STEM: The Intersection of Professional Identity and Career Management Skills in Minority and Women STEM Students

An Examination of Grit in Relation to Diverse High School Students' STEM Motivation, Self-Regulation, and Outcomes: A Longitudinal Validation Study

Women's Engineering Participation in the US: What can the US Learn from Women's Decisions to Pursue Engineering in Diverse Cultural Contexts?

Neurocognitive Underpinnings of Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

The Role of Executive Function in Mathematics and Science Learning Difficulties of Students with Disabilities

Assessment Literacy for the Development of Teacher Understanding with the Next Generation Science Standards

Exploring factors that Shape Education & Workplace Training on Essential 21st Century Competencies

Partnership for Building Capacity for Improvement in State Science Education

Measuring Collaboration in Complex Computerized Performance Assessments

ArguLex -- Applying Automated Analysis to a Learning Progression for Argumentation


Media Contacts
Robert J. 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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