Date Open: 
National Science Foundation
Agency Deadline: 
Limit per Institution: 
1 as lead organization
Important Notes: 
Waiting for new RFP

Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into the Earth, Ocean, Polar and Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences(IUSE:GEOPAths)

Program Solicitation
NSF 20-516

RO Internal Letter of Intent Due -  Friday, August 31, 

NSF Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

     November 17, 2020

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

     January 26, 2021

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 1

  • An organization may serve as a sole submitting organization or as lead organization of a collaborative project on only one submission per competition, regardless of track, but may serve as the non-lead organization of a collaborative project more than once per competition. Additional eligibility requirements are described later in the solicitation.
  • Potential PIs are advised to contact their institutional office of research regarding processes used to select proposals for submission.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI:

  • A Principal Investigator may serve in the role of PI or Co-PI on only one proposal per competition if they are at the sole-submitting organization or the lead organization of a collaborative project but may serve as the Co-PI for a non-lead organization of a collaborative project more than once per competition

The IUSE:GEOPAths funding opportunity invites creative proposals to identify, broaden, strengthen, and sustain the pathways that will engage and retain diverse students in pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate geoscience degree programs. 

The overarching questions being addressed through this solicitation are:

  • Which strategies are most effective for creating inclusive environments in the geosciences that are attractive and supportive to students from groups that have been historically excluded in STEM?
  • Which approaches are most effective in introducing pre-college students to geoscience content?
  • Which methods are most effective in recruiting and retaining undergraduate students in the geosciences?
  • Which experiences are most effective in preparing undergraduate geoscience majors and graduate students for the workforce, and smoothing their transition post-graduation?
  • Which strategies are most effective for increasing the number and diversity of non-geoscience undergraduate majors that pursue post-baccalaureate degrees in geoscience?
The general guidance for the preparation of letters of intent to the Research Office:

COVER SHEET (1 page)

  • Solicitation Name and Descriptive Title
  • Project Summary:  3 or 4 sentences or bullet points that provide an overview of the objective of your proposed research, how you plan to do it, and the expected outcome.
  • Key PI/co-PIs:  5 or 6 sentences or bullet points that highlight team expertise as it relates to the project.
  • Budget:  Example:  The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $ X, with $ Y being requested from the NSF.  NSF funds will be used for: $ A for personnel; $ B for operations, and $ C for broader impacts/subcontracts etc. 


  • Problem statement: Clear and concise statement of 1) research question(s) and how the project will address the research question(s); 2) what technical barriers need to be overcome to perform the research, and 3) how the proposed research can lead to the advancement of research/knowledge in this area.
  • Proposed activities: Describe the project to be undertaken and provide the technical specifications of the research activities and timelines that will be conducted - Refer to the questions, "Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria" taken directly from the RFP as you describe your project.
  • Expected results: Describe the outcome you anticipate from the research.

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

  • Participant Recruitment: Is the recruitment and selection process described with sufficient detail? Is the recruitment plan likely to attract a diverse population of students that would benefit from the proposed activities?
  • PI Team: Does the project team have sufficient experience in supporting students in the types of activities being proposed?
  • Organizational Commitment: Is organizational commitment outlined well in the proposal, and is the evidence of support for the project sufficient to achieve the goals and objectives?
  • Connection to Research on Geoscience Education: How well informed are the vision and execution plan by the literature and prior attempts, if applicable, to implement change. Is the expectation of success well-justified?
  • Connection to Careers: Is there a sufficient connection in the proposed project to viable workforce paths in the geosciences?
  • Student Recruitment/Mentoring Plan: Is there a mentoring plan in place for student participants? The plan should emphasize strategies to ensure inclusive environments, programming and experiences with a focus on retention and movement of participants to the next appropriate level of education and research acumen (including but not limited to sufficient training for faculty and staff to successfully undertake their roles as mentors and supervisors of the student participants).
  • Project Evaluation and Reporting: Will the evaluation and monitoring plan provide sufficient documentation that project goals and outcomes have been realized?
  • Potential for Sustainability: What is the potential for sustaining project activities and/or institutional collaborations after funding ends?
  • Optional - Suggest one or two names to serve on the internal review committee.

Submit your Notice of Intent to the:  Submit your Notice of Intent to the: SMARTSHEET FORM LINK

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