MPS Internships in Public Science Education (MPS-IPSE)

Program Solicitation



May 7, 2002The deadline will be the second Monday in February in years 2003 and following.

This document has been archived. Proposals are not being accepted.



Small NSF logo

   The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

   To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Web Site at:

  • Location:
4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230
  • For General Information (NSF Information Center):
(703) 292-5111
  • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):
(703) 292-5090
  • To Order Publications or Forms:
Send an e-mail to:
or telephone: (301) 947-2722
  • To Locate NSF Employees:
(703) 292-5111



Program Title: MPS Internships in Public Science Education (MPS-IPSE)

Synopsis of Program: In order to promote the involvement of the research community in public educational activities, NSF's Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) announces the MPS Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE) program. IPSE is intended to bring current science research results from MPS disciplines to the public by promoting partnerships between the MPS research community and specialists in public science education. The IPSE activity will provide support for undergraduate and graduate students and K-12 teachers to work in conjunction with MPS research scientists, and with professionals at science centers and museums, on projects in public science education.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):




A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

B. Budgetary Information

C. Deadline/Target Dates

D. FastLane Requirements





    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements
    1. NSF Proposal Review Process
    2. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements


In order to promote the involvement of the research community in public education activities, NSF's Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) announces the MPS Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE) program. IPSE is intended to bring current science research results from MPS disciplines to the public by promoting partnerships between the MPS research community and professionals in public and informal science education.

The IPSE activity will provide support for undergraduate and graduate students and K-12 teachers to work in conjunction with MPS research scientists and with professionals at science centers and museums on projects that will bring the results of current scientific research to the general public. (The term "Science Centers" includes, but is not limited to, visitors' centers associated with MPS-supported facilities.)

Some intended emphases of the program include :


The MPS Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE) program is intended to bring science research results from MPS disciplines to the public by promoting partnerships between the MPS research community and professionals in public science education. By its very nature, public science education is intended to reach far beyond the boundaries of the universities, colleges, and research centers where the research is carried out, and to bring to the general public a broader awareness of science, its methods, and its most exciting results. Science centers and museums play an important role in informing and educating society by providing an effective mechanism that brings current, accurate, and compelling scientific concepts and discoveries to the public. The IPSE activity will provide support for undergraduate and graduate students and K-12 teachers to work in conjunction with MPS research scientists and with professionals at science centers and museums on projects to meet this goal.

IPSE activities should be designed to increase the museum or science center's effectiveness in outreach and public science education through specific projects or exhibits that bring new scientific ideas to museum programming. Examples might include, but are not limited to, the development of new or expanded exhibits or the creation of programs such as museum shows and public lectures. IPSE is not intended to support K-12 curriculum development or teacher training; these kinds of activites are supported by other programs within NSF. In all cases, the projects proposed should demonstrate the active involvement of both research scientists and science center or museum staff in the planning and execution of the project. Because this activity is intended to reach a broad public, and the development of exhibits and programming involves the skills and talents of many people, IPSE is open to students and teachers of all disciplines, including art, writing, museum studies, education, history, as well as science and mathematics. The involvement of minority-serving institutions and the development of projects that serve diverse populations are encouraged.

IPSE is intended to encourage effective partnerships between the MPS research community and science centers and museums. Therefore, proposals should show evidence of active collaborative planning among all the institutions and individuals involved and a commitment to develop an effective and sustained working relationship among the partner institutions. Proposals will be accepted from individuals or groups of faculty members at universities and colleges working with a local science center or museum, from a science center or museum working with departments at a university or college, or from MPS-supported research centers, facilities, or institutes with an outreach or educational program.

Proposals must show the active involvement of both a research scientist or scientists in one of the MPS disciplines (astronomy, chemistry, materials research, mathematical sciences, and physics) and science center professionals. Research scientists involved in the projects serve as consultants to the science centers or museums and as scientific advisors to the participants. Museum and science center staff serve as advisors on issues of outreach and education and provide structure and oversight of activities. The participants in the program should have clearly defined activities that exemplify the integration of education and research. The program may include either summer or academic year activities or a combination of both.


Proposals will be accepted from academic institutions in the U.S. and its territories, science centers or museums, and MPS-funded centers, facilities, and institutes. An academic institution is defined here as a college or university granting degrees (2- or 4-year) in any of the MPS disciplines: astronomy, chemistry, materials research, mathematical sciences, and physics. Science centers or museums are defined to be non-profit organizations whose primary mission is public science education, i.e., science centers, museums, visitor centers, etc., with programs or activities in one or more of the MPS disciplines.

Proposals must show evidence of partnerships between academic institutions and science centers or museums. Proposals from MPS-funded centers, facilities, or institutes must show the active collaboration of both research scientists and educators from the organization. Partnerships outside the institution are encouraged. A single individual should be designated as Principal Investigator, with at least one individual from each participating organization designated either as co-PI, or in some other way clearly involved at an equivalent level of participation. Broader partnerships among the community, academe, industry, and the private sector are encouraged. The involvement of minority-serving institutions and the development of projects that serve diverse populations are encouraged.

Eligible participants are students at the undergraduate or graduate level or K-12 teachers. K-12 students are not eligible for support under this activity. Effective public outreach relies on contributions and expertise from a broad range of disciplines, and this program encourages the participation of students and professionals from all these areas including the sciences, mathematics, arts, history, education, museum studies, writing, and design.


Contingent on the availability of funds and on the quality of proposals received, MPS expects to provide a total of up to $2 Million to support proposals received in response to this solicitation in Fiscal Year 2002. Up to 20 awards may be made. We anticipate that awards will range in size, duration, and complexity. Projects will be funded for durations of up to 3 years and may be renewed.


A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal:

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from

In addition to presenting details of projects that meet the goals of the activity as described in Section II above, proposals are expected to address the following points in the project description (Proposal Section C). In what follows, participants are defined as those undergraduate or graduate students or K-12 teachers who serve in the capacity of interns for the proposed projects.

1) Nature of participant activities: Proposals must

2) Recruitment and selection of participants: Proposals must

3) Project Outcome and Evaluation: Proposals must

Proposals for large projects, i.e., those involving three or more co-principal investigators, should address explicitly plans for project management, sustained activity beyond the grant period, and project maintenance and continued staffing as necessary.

4) Proposal Budget: The proposal should include a detailed project budget and budget justification. The budget justification should explain and justify major cost items, any unusual situations, requests for equipment or materials, and any proposed institutional cost sharing. Project costs may include items such as salary for faculty or senior personnel, participant housing, travel, or use of computing facilities, equipment or exhibit material, and material for project dissemination. The presentation of results at professional meetings is encouraged and requests for participant travel to meetings for presentations is expected as part of the intern experience. Requests for salary support for the PI and co-PI should be entered under Senior Personnel (line A), but support for interns should be entered under Participant Support Costs (line F) of the budget pages. Participants are defined as those undergraduate or graduate students or K-12 teachers who are serving in the capacity of interns for the project.

As a guide to budget preparation, undergraduate student stipends for summer projects are expected to be comparable to those of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU, NSF01-121) participants, typically at least $300 per week, with academic year stipends calculated on a pro rata basis. This is a guideline figure, neither a floor nor a ceiling. Salary support for teachers should be based on their annualized salaries, and may include up to 2 months of summer support. Graduate student stipends may include fringe benefits.

Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-02-064) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation.

Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations: None.

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):

Full Proposals by 5:00 PM local time:
May 7, 2002The deadline will be the second Monday in February in years 2003 and following.

D. FastLane Requirements

Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Solicitation through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: For FastLane user support, call 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at:


A. NSF Proposal Review Process

Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. NSF invites the proposer to suggest, at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the identities of reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Mail and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the closing date of an announcement/solicitation or the date of proposal receipt (whichever is later). The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at one's own risk.


A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program Division administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See section VI.A. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions;* and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Web site at Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Web site at The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO Web site at

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

Within 90 days after the expiration of an award, the PI also is required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on project participants (individual and organizational), activities and findings, publications, and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.


General inquiries regarding  MPS Internships in Public Science Education  should be made to:For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:


The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter.

Many NSF programs offer announcements or solicitations concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices. Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF E-Bulletin, which is updated daily on the NSF web site at , and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service ( to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.

The Informal Science Education (ISE) Program within the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education also supports activities in public science education, including ISE Supplements for Public Understanding of Research. Information on these programs can be found at '


The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Awardees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement/solicitation for further information.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339.

The National Science Foundation is committed to making all of the information we publish easy to understand. If you have a suggestion about how to improve the clarity of this document or other NSF-published materials, please contact us at


The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

Pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Information Dissemination Branch, Division of Administrative Services, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, or to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation (3145-0058), 725 17th Street, N.W. Room 10235, Washington, D.C. 20503.

OMB control number: 3145-0058.