NSF has launched a new program solicitation entitled: Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES).

The initiative aims to—on a national level—improve the preparation, increase the participation, and ensure the contributions of individuals from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented and underserved in the STEM enterprise, including women, members of racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with low socio-economic status. Significant advancement of these groups will result in a new generation of promising STEM talent and leadership to secure our nation’s future in science and technology.

Viewing this challenge as a social innovation problem, NSF is particularly interested in using approaches to scaling and growth such as collective impact, networked communities and strategic partnerships. The objective is to develop networks that involve representative organizations and consortia from different sectors that are committed to a common agenda to solve a specific STEM inclusion problem at scale. The long-term goal of NSF INCLUDES is to support, over the next ten years, innovative models, networks, partnerships, and research that enable the U.S. science and engineering workforce to thrive by ensuring that women, blacks, Hispanics, and people with disabilities are represented in percentages comparable to their representation in the U.S. population.

Examples of national broadening participation (BP) objectives that have potential for scaling nationally and require regional implementation include, but are not limited to: all high schools in a state offer advanced placement courses in calculus, computer science, and engineering; a disciplinary organization launches a major initiative designed to significantly improve the diversity of PhD graduates in that discipline; creating preK-20+ pathways in major urban centers involving universities, community colleges, local schools, surrounding communities, not-for-profits, museums and science centers, local businesses and industries, and science-rich institutions designed to enable success for students from underrepresented and low socio-economic groups.

In FY 2016, NSF seeks proposals for Design and Development Launch Pilots to catalyze the formation of NSF INCLUDES Alliances.

UCI may submit only one Design and Development Launch Pilot proposal in response to this program solicitation,  which typically requires that we run an internal competition to determine who may go forward.  However, based on several factors we do not anticipate that an internal competition will be needed.   In order to verify this, however, interested applicants are asked to send an “Expression of Intent” to the Office of Research by Friday ,March 11th, if they do intend to submit a Design and Development Launch Pilot  proposal where UCI is the lead.  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. A campus internal competition will only be held if multiple parties express interest.

For the complete NSF guidelines, including detailed information about the program, please refer towww.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16544/nsf16544.htm. Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at greg.ruth@uci.edu or x4-0372.

James W. Hicks
Interim Vice Chancellor for Research
Professor of Biology