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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering Program (GSE) (NSF 07-501)

The following FAQs pertain to the program solicitation for Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) (NSF-07-501)







Question:  What kinds of projects is GSE currently funding?

Answer: GSE currently funds research on gender issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, the outreach and communication of research findings, and extension services that lead to a larger and more diverse domestic STEM workforce.  Research includes both basic and applied research in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences and education research fields.  Projects will contribute to our knowledge base by examining gender-related similarities and differences in learning and in the educational experiences that affect student interest, performance, and choice of careers; and how pedagogical approaches and teaching styles, curriculum, student services, and institutional culture contribute to causing or closing gender gaps that persist in certain fields.

Question: I would like to design an intervention that will give girls and/or women hands-on experiences in STEM education and/or research.  Would such an activity fall within the scope of the GSE program?

Answer: No, the GSE program no longer funds demonstration or intervention projects for women or girls.  There are other NSF programs that do fund such projects, such as the Information Technology Experiences for Teachers and Students (ITEST) program ( and the Broadening Participation in Computing program (

Question: I’d like to design an evaluation research project that assesses the effectiveness of an intervention.  Would this fall within the scope of the GSE program?

Answer: No, the GSE program does not fund evaluations.  Other NSF programs that do fund evaluation studies include the Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE) program (, and the Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12) program (

Question: Can an intervention be included in a research project?

Answer: Only if the intervention is an integral part of gathering data for a research project and if the findings from the intervention would substantially answer the research questions posed within the context of theory and hypotheses. There should be meaningful control groups also included in the design.  The major thrust of the proposal must be focused on theory and research and not on the design and implementation of the intervention.

Question: I’d like to conduct research on the underrepresentation of women faculty members in STEM fields.  Could I propose a research project that addresses tenure-track and family policies?

Answer: No.  The GSE program focuses on the K-16 levels of education and workforce issues, but not faculty issues.  Gender research and implementation of promising practices at the faculty level are covered substantially by the ADVANCE program at NSF, so those interested in faculty issues should direct their efforts to ADVANCE.

Question:  If I am not a social/behavioral scientist or education researcher, may I still apply to the GSE program?

Answer: Yes, but you are strongly advised to include a social/behavioral scientist or education researcher as a Co-PI or on the research team.  Your proposal will be reviewed by social/behavioral scientists and education researchers and will be assessed in comparison to other social/behavioral science and education research proposals.  Major emphasis in the review will be on theory and methods used.

Question: I want to develop a new course in Computer Science that would incorporate gender neutral/friendly/equitable practices into the curriculum.  Would that fall under the scope of the GSE program?

Answer: No.  The GSE program does not fund course or curriculum development.  Please refer to the NSF’s Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program ( or the Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program for funding opportunities in course or curriculum improvement.

Question: I want to make a documentary about women scientists, their lives and work.  Would that be appropriate for Outreach and Communication?

Answer: No.  Outreach and communication grants are meant to publicize research findings that inform efforts to mitigate the underrepresentation of women in certain fields.  Biographies (film or print) about women scientists are out of scope with the GSE solicitation at this time.

Question: I run a very successful intervention for girls and would like to broaden the number of girls involved by managing new projects in several locations.  Would this be appropriate for Extension Services?

Answer: No.  Extension services are a “train-the-trainer” model of outreach and communication of promising practices.  Extension services proposals should not include direct interventions for women or girls.  Rather, extension services should focus on a “unified program of change” that is delivered through training to a group of practitioners.  Extension service agents should then provide support to those practitioners as they implement the program, and evaluate the effectiveness of the training.  The extension services idea is borrowed from the US Department of Agriculture’s extension service agents, who serve as expert intermediaries between researchers and farmers.  Extension service agents inform farmers about practices that show promise at increasing corn yields, for example, and serve as experts when questions arise.  Extension service agents also bring back to researchers the experiences of practitioners in the field so that more investigations may be conducted on pressing issues and implementation anomalies.  In that way, a feedback loop is created among practitioners, researchers and extension agents focused on research-based innovation and change.  Our version of extension services is meant to adopt this successful model in an education context to work toward effecting change in the underrepresentation of women and girls in STEM fields on a larger scale than one-time interventions.

Question: I am interested in the underrepresentation of boys and/or men of color in STEM fields.  Could I propose a research project where the research questions of interest involve boys?

Answer: Yes, as long as the project incorporates some comparison to women/girls or some element of interaction between boys and girls, and addresses underrepresented groups.  Those interested in doing research on boys or men of color in STEM are strongly advised to speak with the program officer first about their ideas before submitting a preliminary or full proposal.

Question: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the solicitation. What should I do?

Answer: Send e-mail to:


Question: What type(s) of inter-organizational collaborations is NSF encouraging?

Answer: The GSE Program expects that proposers will put together the best team possible to carry out the project.  The GSE program especially encourages research intensive and extensive universities to partner with other types of colleges and universities, especially 2-year colleges and institutions serving underrepresented minority populations.

Question: If multiple organizations are cooperating in the proposed project, what are the mechanisms for submitting a proposal?

Answer: NSF has two mechanisms for submission of proposals from multiple organizations: as a single proposal, in which a single award is being requested with subawards administered by the lead organization to partnering organizations; or as collaborative proposals submitted simultaneously from different organizations, with each organization requesting a separate award (although the total budget for all collaborators should not exceed the maximum award size designated in the program solicitation for a single project). In either case, the lead organization’s proposal must contain all of the requisite sections as a single package to be provided to reviewers (that will happen automatically when FastLane procedures are followed). All collaborative proposals must clearly describe the roles to be played by the participating organizations, specify the managerial arrangements, and explain the advantages of the multi-organizational effort within the project description. These collaborative proposals are described more fully in Section II.D.3 of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) ( The GPG also includes instructions for submission of these types of proposals.

Question: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the solicitation. What should I do?

Answer: Send e-mail to:


Question: What needs to be included in the Project Summary?

Answer: The NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (available at specifies that the Project Summary must clearly address, in separate statements within the one-page limit and font restrictions, both the Broader Impacts and the Intellectual Merit of the proposed activity.  Proposals that do not address both merit-review criteria in separate statements in the project summary will be returned without review. The GPG also states that the broader impacts must be addressed in the Project Description and described as an integral part of the narrative.  This requirement is in effect for both full and preliminary proposals.

Question: Do citations and references count against the Project Description page limit?

Answer: No. They should be included in the References Cited section of the proposal.

Question: What about the 5-page preliminary proposals?  Should they include references, and do those count against the 5-page project description?

Answer: References should be included in preliminary proposals.  It is important for the reviewers to assess the intellectual merit of the preliminary proposal by understanding the theory and methodological traditions (yours and other’s) on which the research will be building.  References should be included in the References Cited section of the proposal, and do not count against the 5-page limit.

Question: If I did not submit a preliminary proposal for Research or Extension Services, may I still submit a full proposal?

Answer: No, preliminary proposals are required for Research and Extension Services proposals.

Question:  I see a deadline for preliminary proposals for Research and Extension services, but not one for Outreach and Communication Proposals.  Should I submit a preliminary proposal for Outreach and Communication anyway?

Answer: No.  There are no preliminary proposals required for Outreach and Communication proposals.  Simply submit a full proposal by the full proposal deadline.

Question: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the solicitation. What should I do?

Answer: Send e-mail to:


Question: Should I submit proposals via FastLane or

Answer: Proposers may opt to submit proposals via or via NSF’s FastLane system.  A guide to submitting proposals via is available on the NSF web site at At this time, all collaborative proposals must still be submitted via FastLane only.

Question: May I submit the same proposal to GSE and to another NSF program?

Answer: No. A unique proposal can be submitted only once to NSF. If the proposal is a duplicate of or substantially similar to a proposal already under consideration by NSF, it will be returned without review.

Question: Can I request an extension of time to submit a proposal?

Answer: No.

Question: What if FastLane or my university computer is unavailable on the submission deadline?

Answer: Please avoid this problem by submitting early. If you choose not to submit until the last minute, it is at your own risk.

Question: What if there is an earthquake, fire or other disaster?

Answer: Please contact us at immediately. We will make determinations on a case-by-case basis.

Question: How do we submit supplementary documents?

Answer: Supplementary documents that are in accordance with the solicitation and the GPG should be scanned into the Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section of the FastLane proposal.

Question: Is there a limit to the amount of funds I can request for my proposal?

Answer: The GSE solicitation outlines the maximum award sizes for each type of proposal.  Research proposals may request up to $500,000 for three years; Outreach and Communication proposals may request up to $200,000 for two years; and Extension Services proposals may request up to $2.5 million dollars for five years.

Question: Can funds be used for graduate student stipends or tuition waivers?

Answer: Yes, GSE proposals may request support in all the usual NSF budget categories.

Question: When will the announcement of the grant awards be made, and how soon afterward would you expect a project to begin?

Answer: We plan to communicate with successful applicants by July and expect awards under this solicitation to be made by end of summer. Grantees would have some flexibility in when they actually start their grant-supported activities; you should request a starting date that makes most sense to you. That is one item that can be negotiated if necessary after the proposal has been reviewed.

Question: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the solicitation. What should I do?

Answer: Send e-mail to:


Question: May I be a member of a panel that will review GSE proposals this year?

Answer: The GSE program is always looking to expand our reviewer pool.  If you are on a GSE proposal submitted this year, then you cannot be a panelist this year. If you did not submit a GSE proposal this year in response to the current solicitation, you may volunteer to be a panelist. If you want to volunteer, notify the program officer. Include a URL for your biosketch and a brief description of your research expertise in your e-mail. The program officer will contact you if your area of expertise is relevant and we need panelists in that area. Please send the information to

Question: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the solicitation. What should I do?

Answer: Send e-mail to: