From National Science Foundation: “NSF INCLUDES takes major step forward with new awards” STEM

From National Science Foundation

Alliances, Coordination Hub represent next stages of program to improve US STEM ecosystem.

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A researcher from the American Chemical Society, one of this year’s NSF INCLUDES award recipient institutions, at St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Credit: Biomedical Communications — St. Jude’s Research Hospital

September 6, 2018
Rob Margetta, NSF
(703) 292-2663
email: rmargett@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued new awards that represent the next major step for its NSF INCLUDES program — the development of a national network to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by broadening participation in those disciplines.

The U.S. innovation economy increasingly requires skilled STEM workers — scientists, engineers, technicians and people with STEM backgrounds — to maintain the nation’s status as a global leader. Researchers have identified persistent challenges that limit the access of underrepresented populations to quality STEM education and opportunities for STEM employment. The NSF INCLUDES approach builds on a growing body of scientific research suggesting that complex problems — such as overcoming the barriers many groups face in accessing STEM opportunities — are best addressed through structured, collaborative partnerships focused on finding solutions through common goals and shared metrics.

“NSF INCLUDES was conceived as a sustained effort, a recognition that a problem as complex as the need to broaden participation in STEM requires a long-term, collaborative approach,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “After laying the groundwork through pilot projects, NSF INCLUDES is taking a significant step toward creating a national network with these new awards.”

The awards will support the first five NSF INCLUDES Alliances and the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub. These new entities will develop partnerships among stakeholders across the public, private and academic sectors, share promising practices for broadening participation and other useful data, contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM through research, and establish a framework for supporting communications and networking among partners.

The NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub will facilitate the activities needed to build and maintain a strong NSF INCLUDES National Network, including communications, technical assistance and efforts aimed at increasing visibility. While the Alliances provide support for their partners to coordinate and expand, the Coordination Hub will function as a backbone organization for the entire NSF INCLUDES national network.

For decades, NSF and its partners have sought to create opportunities in STEM for all U.S. residents, ensuring that no matter who they are or where they come from, they have access to education and employment. NSF INCLUDES, one of the foundation’s 10 Big Ideas for Future Investment, seeks to enhance collaboration among those working to broaden participation in STEM, to strengthen existing relationships, bring in new partners and provide resources and support to enhance their work.

“NSF INCLUDES addresses populations largely missing in the current science and engineering enterprise,” Córdova said. “Their inclusion is essential in helping the U.S. maintain its position as the world’s leader in innovation. Through NSF INCLUDES, we are funding researchers and others who have great proposals that would move the needle.”

The new awards are listed below:

Coordination Hub

NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub: SRI International, Timothy Podkul

Alliances

NSF INCLUDES Alliance: Expanding the First2 STEM Success Network: Associated Universities Inc/National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Sue A. Heatherly; West Virginia University Research Corporation, Gay B. Stewart; Higher Education Policy Commission, Jan Taylor; Fairmont State College, Erica Harvey; High Rocks Educational Corporation, Sarah Riley

NSF INCLUDES Alliance: Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions: University of Texas at El Paso, Ann Q. Gates

NSF INCLUDES Alliance: STEM Core Expansion: Saddleback College, Jim Zoval; University of Colorado at Boulder, Sarah M. Miller

NSF INCLUDES Alliance: Inclusive Graduate Education Network: American Physical Society, Theodore Hodapp; University of Southern California, Julie Posselt; Rochester Institute of Tech, Casey W. Miller; American Chemical Society, Joerg Schlatterer

NSF INCLUDES Alliance: National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty (NAIDSF): Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Howard J. Gobstein; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Robert D. Mathieu; University of California-Los Angeles, Erin Sanders; University of Texas at El Paso, Benjamin C. Flores; University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc., Suzanne E. Barbour; Iowa State University, Craig A. Ogilvie

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.