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.  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.  Typically  this requires an internal competition, however the Office of Research does not anticipate the need to conduct an internal review in this case.

In order to verify that no internal review is required, interested applicants are asked to send an “Expression of Intent” to the Office of Research by next Friday, January  12th  if they do intend to submit an application to this program.  This Expression of Intent may consist of an email from the PI(s) with a brief 1-paragraph overview of the proposed program and its participants, and should be sent to OR@research.uci.edu. An internal review and selection process will be held if multiple parties express interest. The application to NSF is due 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.

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