The NSF has released a program solicitation seeking to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs).  UCI has HSI status and therefore qualifies as an applicant.

This HSI Program supports standard and continuing grants that will:

  • Develop, implement, and test models for the retention of students advancing from lower-division courses to upper-division STEM coursework, including those transferring from a two-year to a four-year institution.
  • Create evidence-based and evidence-generating approaches that increase the graduation rates of students pursuing STEM associate or baccalaureate degrees at HSIs.
  • Enhance research that improves understanding of how to build faculty capacity and student opportunities to conduct STEM research or STEM educational research at HSIs through partnerships with other HSIs and organizations (e.g., federal laboratories, research centers, industrial or business organizations, non-profit entities, etc.).
  • Increase knowledge about evidence-based approaches to engaged student learning and how to broaden the participation of undergraduate students majoring in STEM disciplines at HSIs.

Towards these ends, the HSI Program will accept proposals in two tracks: (1) Building Capacity and (2) HSIs New to NSF. Of these two, UCI is only eligible to apply for Track 1. The Building Capacity track which funds projects from $500K to $1.5M for up to 5 years and has three priority areas: Critical Transitions; Innovative Cross-Sector Partnerships; and Research on Broadening Participation in STEM.

The HSI Program will also fund one Resource Hub project up to $3M for up to five years. The Resource Hub will support the needs of HSIs with little or no prior NSF funding, such as assistance with proposal writing and financial compliance. In addition, the Resource Hub will facilitate networking and professional development that build and strengthen collaborations among HSIs.

UCI may submit just one application in Track 1 for consideration of an award, and likewise one application as a resource hub.  As we have received indication that there are multiple parties interested in this program, we are holding an expedited internal review process.  Interested applicants are asked to submit the following to the Office of Research (via the UCI Review application portal) by February 7:

  • Project Summary (1 page): Provide an overview of the project and address the two NSF merit review criteria: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts.
  • (Optional) An additional 2 pages are permitted to expound on the project summary.
  • Draft Budget – In the interest of time please just provide a broad overview of planned expenses (detailed spreadsheets are not required)
  • NSF Style 2-page biosketch of the PI and other principal participants

Proposals will be reviewed by a select committee of individuals who are familiar with grants of this nature (e.g. NSF IUSE).  Selected applicants will be notified by February 14th, which will provide them 3 weeks to develop their full proposal for submission by NSF’s deadline of March 6, 2018.

For more information please consult the full program solicitation available here: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18524/nsf18524.htm.  Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at greg.ruth@uci.edu or x4-0372