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This document has been archived. For current NSF funding opportunities, see

Directorate for Education and Human Resources
Division of Research, Evaluation, and Communication

The Division of Research, Evaluation, and Communication (REC) seeks to:

  • advance research on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and improve evaluative research on STEM education programs;
  • increase the capacity of the field to conduct high-quality, innovative, useful, and credible STEM education evaluation or research studies; and
  • increase the capacity of STEM education researchers and STEM education program evaluators to communicate the results of their research.

1. Research on Learning and Education (ROLE)

The ROLE Program supports research across a continuum that includes (1) the biological basis of human learning; (2) behavioral, cognitive, affective, and social aspects of human learning; (3) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning in formal and informal educational settings; and (4) changing educational systems to improve STEM learning. ROLE aims to advance the knowledge base within and across the intersections of these multidisciplinary areas.

2. Evaluative Research and Evaluation Capacity Building (EREC)

The EREC Program supports projects that offer unique approaches to evaluation practice in the generation of knowledge for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education community, and for broad policymaking within research and education enterprises. EREC also supports projects to increase the capacity of the field to conduct high-quality, innovative, useful, and credible STEM education evaluation studies.

3. Crosscutting Programs and Activities

REC participates in several of NSF’s crosscutting activities, including interdisciplinary programs, programs that are supported by multiple NSF Directorates, international activities, and programs jointly supported by NSF and other federal agencies. The primary REC crosscutting activities are listed alphabetically below.

  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER)—The CAREER Program recognizes and supports the early career development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. CAREER proposals are welcome in the research areas identified in the unified EREC-ROLE program announcement, available through the NSF Online Document System at CAREER proposals may also address the research questions or areas of interest identified by other EHR Divisions and programs. Frequently asked questions about CAREER can be found at For more information, visit the CAREER Program Web site,
  • Information Technology Research (ITR)—Information technology (IT) today is an essential ingredient in research, technology, education, and other societal endeavors. REC’s share of the multi-NSF Directorate/multi-federal agency Information Technology Research (ITR) Initiative focuses on support for basic research to advance knowledge for education and workforce development. For more information, visit the ITR Initiative Web site,
  • Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI)—The goal of IERI—supported jointly by the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation (represented by REC), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development—is to support scientific research that investigates the effectiveness of educational interventions in reading, mathematics, and the sciences as they are implemented in varied school settings with diverse student populations. For more information, see NSF's IERI program solicitation at; or visit the Department of Education's Web site,
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)—SBIR is government-wide program intended to stimulate technological innovation; use small-business concerns to meet federal research and development (R&D) needs; foster and encourage the participation of minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation; and increase the commercialization by the private sector of innovations resulting from federal R&D. The primary objective of the NSF SBIR Program is to increase incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high-risk, high-quality scientific, engineering, or science/engineering education research that would have a high potential economic payoff if the research is successful. For more information, visit the SBIR Program Web site,

4. Technical Assistance Contracts for Assessment, Evaluation and Communication of EHR’s Programs and Activities

REC funds contracts that analyze the development, implementation, and impact of programming across the EHR Directorate and coordinates with other federal agencies engaged in similar science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education program or project evaluation. The Directory of Evaluation Contractors Home Page lists contact information for current prime and subcontractors and is available on the Evaluation and Communication Program Web site,

Contracted activities include program assessment, improvement, accountability, and generation and systematization of knowledge to benefit NSF. NSF’s Contracts Branch is responsible for planning, solicitation, negotiation, award, and administration of all such contracts. Interested outside organizations, including for-profit businesses, universities, and other nonprofits and professional associations, should monitor monthly postings to the NSF’s Contracting Opportunities page.

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