Stimulating Research Related to the Science of Broadening Participation

Building on previous investments, the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) and the Directorate for Education & Human Resources (EHR) announce their interest in stimulating research related to the Science of Broadening Participation (SBP). The Science of Broadening Participation will employ the theories, methods, and analytic techniques of the social, behavioral, economic, and learning sciences to better understand the barriers that hinder and factors that enhance our ability to broaden participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The results of these efforts will inform approaches to increase the access and involvement of underrepresented groups in STEM and to strengthen our national STEM capabilities and competitive advantage. Ultimately, the SBP research will provide scientific evidence that STEM educators, STEM employers, and policy makers need to make informed decisions and to design effective programs and interventions. In fiscal year 2014, SBE and EHR will partner to support SBP research proposals that will contribute to the overall understanding of the positive and negative factors impacting the participation of underrepresented individuals in STEM education and careers. SBP research proposals may focus on factors such as the following:

  • Institutional and organizational factors (e.g., studies of organizational, structural, cultural or climate factors that impact STEM participation)
  • Cultural and social factors (e.g., studies of psychological or behavioral factors that affect STEM participation and achievement rates)
  • Economic and policy-related factors (e.g., studies of economic factors that impact STEM participation and the relationship between broader participation and social innovation)

Information concerning SBE programs may be found on the following web sites under each one’s respective Program and Funding Opportunities section: Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Social and Economic Sciences, and SBE Multidisciplinary Activities.

Alternately, proposals may also be submitted to any of the EHR education research programs. In particular, scholars may wish to consider the Broadening Participation Research strand in the Research on Education and Learning (REAL) program or the Broadening Participation in STEM strand in the EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The Division of Human Resource Development (HRD) also has a Broadening Participation Research in STEM strand in the following programs: CREST, HBCU-UP, LSAMP, and TCUP. Please see the HRD homepage for links to the appropriate program solicitation.

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