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This document has been archived and replaced by NSF 23-043.

NSF 20-034

Dear Colleague Letter: Stimulating Participation from Institutions New to the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources Program

December 26, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

With this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) encourages the submission of proposals to the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE: EHR) Program from institutions that have not had prior funding from the IUSE: EHR Program. Proposers are encouraged to consider submission to Level 1 of the Engaged Student Learning track of the IUSE: EHR Program. Information about the objectives and expectations for the Engaged Student Learning and for Level 1 proposals can be found in the IUSE: EHR program solicitation, NSF 19-601.

Proposals in the Engaged Student Learning track of the IUSE: EHR Program focus directly on students or serve students through faculty professional development and related activities. Engaged Student Learning projects can contribute to developing the STEM and STEM-related workforce, advancing a disciplinary STEM field, broadening participation in STEM, educating a STEM-literate public, improving K-12 STEM education through undergraduate preservice STEM teacher preparation, encouraging life-long learning, and/or building STEM capacity in higher education. All projects are expected to increase knowledge about effective STEM education. This may be achieved by proposing one or more knowledge-generating questions and investigating them with thorough project evaluation or more formal research methods. Prospective investigators are encouraged to contact an NSF Program Officer to discuss their ideas.

Proposers are encouraged to reference the Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development (NSF 13-126), a publication designed to help with developing and framing education-related projects. This publication was developed jointly by the NSF and the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. It describes several types of studies that can increase knowledge about student learning. The Common Guidelines may be accessed at A set of supporting FAQs is also available at

Proposals responding to this DCL should be submitted by published due dates for the IUSE: EHR Program. When responding to the DCL, please begin your proposal title with "New to IUSE: EHR DCL:". Submissions should follow the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and the guidelines in the IUSE: EHR program solicitation.

Principal investigators with questions pertaining to this DCL may contact:

Ellen Carpenter, Program Director,
Tom Higgins, Program Director,


Karen Marrongelle
Assistant Director, EHR