OSP FO# 11-182

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF)/Directorate for Engineering (ENG)/Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)/Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)

PROGRAM: Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science: Supplements and Sites

OBJECTIVES: This program provides funding to support the active involvement of K-12 science, technology, engineering, computer and information science, and mathematics (STEM) teachers and community college faculty in engineering and computer science research in order to bring knowledge of engineering, computer science, and technological innovation into their classrooms. The goal is to help build long-term collaborative partnerships between K-12 STEM teachers, community college faculty, and the NSF university research community by involving the teachers and community college faculty in engineering and computer science research and helping them translate their research experiences and new knowledge into classroom activities. Partnerships with inner city schools or other high needs schools are especially encouraged, as is participation by underrepresented minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. This announcement features two mechanisms for support of in-service and pre-service K-12 STEM teachers and community college faculty: RET supplements to ongoing ENG or CISE awards and new RET Site awards. RET supplements may be included in proposals for new or renewed NSF Directorate for Engineering (ENG) or CISE grants or as supplements to ongoing NSF ENG or CISE funded projects. RET in Engineering and Computer Science Sites are based on independent proposals from engineering or computer and information science departments, schools or colleges to initiate and conduct research participation projects for a number of K-12 STEM teachers and/or community college faculty.

(1) RET in Engineering and Computer Science Supplement A request for funding of a RET in Engineering and Computer Science supplement should be made under an existing NSF ENG or CISE award or within a proposal for a new or renewed NSF ENG or CISE award. The description of the RET activity must clearly articulate in some detail the form and nature of the prospective K-12 STEM teacher and/or community college faculty member’s involvement in the Principal Investigator’s ongoing or proposed research. It is expected that the RET in Engineering and Computer Science supplement experience will also lead to the transfer of new knowledge to classroom activities. Therefore, the RET supplement description must also indicate what type of sustained follow-up will be provided during the academic year to help in translating the teacher’s research experience and new understanding of engineering and computer science concepts into classroom practice.

(2) RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site A RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site project is an independent proposal to provide groups of in-service and pre-service K-12 STEM teachers and/or community college faculty with discovery and technology-based learning experiences in engineering and computer science laboratories and facilities, which will then be incorporated into their classroom activities during the school year. A RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site project may be conducted during the summer, academic year, or both, and must have a well-defined focus, with clearly articulated projects and activities for teachers and/or community college faculty. A RET Site proposal must be submitted by a College, School, or Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology, or Computer and Information Science and must involve teachers and/or community college faculty in an engineering or computer science research project for a duration of at least six weeks. In those cases where limited availability of specialized facilities, such as clean rooms, electron microscope, etc., make it possible to offer an extraordinary experience in a shorter timeframe, a research component of a shorter duration may be proposed with appropriate justification. Because the RET experience will also lead to the transfer of new knowledge to classroom activities, the proposal must provide a plan for sustained follow-up by the RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site project team with the teachers and/or community college faculty to ensure that the research experience is translated into classroom practice during the academic year. The proposal must also provide a plan for evaluation of the proposed project and the classroom impact.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: No more than three RET Site proposals may be submitted by an institution as the lead institution. The principal investigator of an RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site proposal must have a faculty appointment within a College/Department of Engineering or Engineering Technology or a College/Department of Computer and Information Science within the submitting U.S. academic institution. An individual may serve as PI on no more than one RET Site proposal.

DEADLINES:
BU Internal Deadline (for RET Sites only): August 29, 2011
RET Sites: October 3, 2011
RET Supplements: varies with the research program – PIs should contact the cognizant Program Director for guidance.

FUNDING INFORMATION: The maximum total request for an RET Site grant is $500,000 for up to three years, and the program may be carried out during summer months, academic year, or both. The total cost per teacher is limited to $10,000 per year, which includes funds for the teacher’s stipend and up to $2,000 for the cost of materials, equipment, software, and other supplies for developing classroom instructions and experiments. The total amount that may be requested for an RET Site may not exceed $500,000 for a duration of up to three years. Additional funds up to 25% of the total Participant Support Costs listed in the proposed budget may be requested for activities in other cost categories (e.g., salaries, wages and fringe benefits, travel, materials and supplies, and applicable indirect costs) that contribute to the effectiveness of the RET program. It is expected that teacher/community college faculty stipends will be adjusted according to their length of residency and that stipends for in-service teachers will generally be higher than those for pre-service teachers (education majors who are still pursuing their degrees).

RET Supplements are supported by the various disciplinary research programs within the Directorates for Engineering and for CISE. An RET Supplement request may be included in a proposal for a new or renewal ENG grant or cooperative agreement or submitted later as a supplement to an ongoing award. The duration of the RET Supplement will be one year and the project may be carried out during summer months, academic year, or both. The total cost of the supplement is limited to $10,000 per teacher. The budget includes a teacher’s stipend and up to $2,000 for the cost of materials, equipment, software and other supplies for developing classroom instructions and experiments. Additional funds up to 25% of the total Participant Support Costs listed in the proposed budget may be requested for activities in other cost categories (e.g., salaries, wages and fringe benefits, travel, materials and supplies, and applicable indirect costs) that contribute to the effectiveness of the RET program. Normally, funds may be available for one to two teachers, but exceptions will be considered. Center or large research efforts may request support for a number of teachers commensurate with the size and nature of the project.

AGENCY CONTACT:
Mary Poats, Program Manager
Directorate for Engineering (ENG)
Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 585 N
Arlington, Virginia 22230
Telephone: (703) 292-5357
Fax: (703) 292-9051
Email: mpoats@nsf.gov
Web: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11509/nsf11509.htm

INTERNAL REVIEW PROCESS: To screen potential proposals for this competition, an internal deadline has been established. Principal Investigators (PIs) interested in submitting a preliminary proposal should provide the following proposal information to their Associate Dean by Monday, August 29, 2011 for internal review purposes:

1. Project description (maximum length 4 pages) should include items a – e:
(a)   describe the objectives of the proposed RET site, the timeline and the planned participants (K-12 teachers and/or community college faculty);
(b)   discuss the intellectual focus of the site and provide examples of clearly articulated research projects and activities;
(c)   outline plans for follow-up between faculty and participants to ensure that research experience is translated to classroom practice;
(d)   describe plans for recruitment of participants; and
(e)   address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activity (the NSF Merit Review criteria).
2. Budget and budget justification (2 pages).
3. Biographical sketches: include 2-page NSF format biographical sketch for PI and Co-PIs.
4. Review comments from any previous RET submission.

Following the Dean’s assessment of the internal application, it will be forwarded to OSP-CRC Director Joan Kirkendall for review and then to the Office of the VP for Research for final selection. PIs will be informed if their proposal is selected for submission in time to complete and process their proposal for final review.

REMARKS: Applications must be submitted electronically using either the NSF FastLane system or Grants.gov. Collaborative proposals must be submitted via FastLane. For more information about FastLane, or to register as a FastLane user, please contact India Adams (adamsi@bu.edu) or A. B. Effgen (abeffgen@bu.edu)in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at x3-4365. Information about Grants.gov for BU Investigators can be obtained on the OSP web site at: http://www.bu.edu/osp/proposal-preparation/electronic-submission/. In addition, for investigators interested in submitting proposals via Grants.gov, NSF has published the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide which may be found online at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf. Investigators should contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to their school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through either FastLane or Grants.gov.

Complete program guidelines and application material (NSF 11-567 and NSF GPG 11-1) may be obtained from the web site listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.