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News Release 18-074

NSF INCLUDES takes major step forward with new awards

Alliances, Coordination Hub represent next stages of program to improve US STEM ecosystem

A female researcher holding a test tube stands in front of lab equipment

A researcher from the American Chemical Society at St. Jude's Research Hospital.


September 6, 2018

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued new awards that represent the next major step for its NSF INCLUDES program -- the development of a national network to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by broadening participation in those disciplines.

The U.S. innovation economy increasingly requires skilled STEM workers -- scientists, engineers, technicians and people with STEM backgrounds -- to maintain the nation's status as a global leader. Researchers have identified persistent challenges that limit the access of underrepresented populations to quality STEM education and opportunities for STEM employment. The NSF INCLUDES approach builds on a growing body of scientific research suggesting that complex problems -- such as overcoming the barriers many groups face in accessing STEM opportunities -- are best addressed through structured, collaborative partnerships focused on finding solutions through common goals and shared metrics.

"NSF INCLUDES was conceived as a sustained effort, a recognition that a problem as complex as the need to broaden participation in STEM requires a long-term, collaborative approach," said NSF Director France Córdova. "After laying the groundwork through pilot projects, NSF INCLUDES is taking a significant step toward creating a national network with these new awards."

The awards will support the first five NSF INCLUDES Alliances and the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub. These new entities will develop partnerships among stakeholders across the public, private and academic sectors, share promising practices for broadening participation and other useful data, contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM through research, and establish a framework for supporting communications and networking among partners.

The NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub will facilitate the activities needed to build and maintain a strong NSF INCLUDES National Network, including communications, technical assistance and efforts aimed at increasing visibility. While the Alliances provide support for their partners to coordinate and expand, the Coordination Hub will function as a backbone organization for the entire NSF INCLUDES national network.

For decades, NSF and its partners have sought to create opportunities in STEM for all U.S. residents, ensuring that no matter who they are or where they come from, they have access to education and employment. NSF INCLUDES, one of the foundation's 10 Big Ideas for Future Investment, seeks to enhance collaboration among those working to broaden participation in STEM, to strengthen existing relationships, bring in new partners and provide resources and support to enhance their work.

"NSF INCLUDES addresses populations largely missing in the current science and engineering enterprise," Córdova said. "Their inclusion is essential in helping the U.S. maintain its position as the world's leader in innovation. Through NSF INCLUDES, we are funding researchers and others who have great proposals that would move the needle."

The new awards are listed below:

Coordination Hub

Alliances

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Rob Margetta, NSF, (703) 292-2663, email: rmargett@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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