NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

In 1998 Congress enacted the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act which provided funds to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a mechanism whereby the hiring of foreign workers in technology-intensive sectors on H-1B visas would help address the long-term workforce needs of the United States. Initially, scholarships were only provided for students in math, engineering, and computer science. Later legislation authorized NSF to expand the eligible disciplines at the discretion of the NSF director. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in most disciplinary fields in which NSF provides research funding (with some exclusions described elsewhere in this document) are eligible as long as there is a national or regional demand for professionals with those degrees to address the long-term workforce needs of the United States.

The main goal of the S-STEM program is to enable low-income students with academic ability, talent or potential to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields. Ultimately, the S-STEM program seeks to increase the number of academically promising low-income students who graduate with a S-STEM eligible degree and contribute to the American innovation economy with their STEM knowledge. Recognizing that financial aid alone cannot increase retention and graduation in STEM, the program provides awards to institutions of higher education (IHEs) not only to fund scholarships, but also to adapt, implement, and study evidence-based curricular and co-curricular [1] activities that have been shown to be effective supporting recruitment, retention, transfer (if appropriate), student success, academic/career pathways, and graduation in STEM.

Social mobility for low-income students with academic potential is even more crucial than for students that enjoy other economic support structures. Hence, social mobility cannot be guaranteed unless the scholarship funds the pursuit of degrees in areas where rewarding jobs are available after graduation with an undergraduate or graduate degree.

The S-STEM program encourages collaborations, including but not limited to partnerships among different types of institutions; collaborations of S-STEM eligible faculty, researchers, and academic administrators focused on investigating the factors that affect low-income student success (e.g., institutional, educational, behavioral and social science researchers); and partnerships among institutions of higher education and business, industry, local community organizations, national labs, or other federal or state government organizations, as appropriate.

To be eligible, scholars must be domestic low-income students, with academic ability, talent or potential and with demonstrated unmet financial need who are enrolled in an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree program in an S-STEM eligible discipline. Proposers must provide an analysis that articulates the characteristics and academic needs of the population of students they are trying to serve. NSF is particularly interested in supporting the attainment of degrees in fields identified as critical needs for the Nation. Many of these fields have high demand for training professionals that can operate at the convergence of disciplines and include but are not limited to quantum computing and quantum science, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, computer science and computer engineering, data science and computational science applied to other frontier STEM areas, and other STEM or technology fields in urgent need of domestic professionals. It is up to the proposer to make a compelling case that a field is a critical need field in the United States.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

Deadlines:

  • Duke Internal: Interested applicants from within Duke should contact fundopps@duke.edu as early as possible.
  • Tracks 2, 3 & Collaborative Planning Grants: March 2, 2023
  • Track 1 proposals: March 29, 2023

 

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

S-STEM Eligible Degree Programs

Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Engineering, and Associate of Applied Science

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Applied Science

Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Engineering

Doctoral (Ph.D. or other comparable doctoral degree)

S-STEM Eligible Disciplines

Disciplinary fields in which research is funded by NSF, including technology fields associated with the S-STEM-eligible disciplines (e.g., biotechnology, chemical technology, engineering technology, information technology, etc.).

The following degrees and disciplines are excluded:

  • Clinical degree programs, including medical degrees, nursing, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, and others not funded by NSF, are ineligible degrees.
  • Business school programs that lead to Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business Administration degrees (BABA/BSBA/BBA) are not eligible for S-STEM funding.
  • Masters and Doctoral degrees in Business Administration are also excluded.

Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact Program Officers before submitting a proposal if they have questions concerning degree or disciplinary eligibility.

The S-STEM program particularly encourages proposals from 2-year institutions, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), predominately undergraduate institutions, and urban, suburban and rural public institutions.

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.

For Track 1 (Institutional Capacity Building) and Track 2 (Implementation: Single Institution) projects, the Principal Investigator must be (a) a faculty member currently teaching in an S-STEM eligible discipline, or (b) an academic administrator who has taught in an S-STEM eligible discipline in the past two years. The Principal Investigator must be able to provide the leadership and time required to ensure the success of the project. Projects involving more than one department within an institution are eligible, but a single Principal Investigator must accept overall management and leadership responsibility. Faculty from all departments involved need to have roles in the project as either Co-Principal Investigators, senior personnel or scholar mentors. Other members of the S-STEM project senior leadership and management team may be listed as Co-Principal Investigators.

For Track 3 (Inter-institutional Consortia) projects, the Principal Investigator must be (a) a faculty member currently teaching in an S-STEM eligible discipline, (b) an academic administrator who has taught an S-STEM eligible discipline in the past two years, or (c) a non-teaching institutional, educational, or social science researcher investigating questions related to low-income student success. The Principal Investigator must be able to provide the leadership and time required to ensure the success of the project. Track 3 consortium proposals must have a Principal Investigator who accepts overall management and leadership responsibility across all consortia members. Faculty from all institutions and departments involved need to have roles in the project as either Co-Principal investigators, senior personnel or scholar mentors. Other members of the S-STEM project senior leadership and management team may be listed as Co-Principal Investigators or as Principal Investigators on collaborative research proposals.

Collaborative Planning grants are intended to help a collection of institutions plan for a future Inter-institutional Track 3 proposal. For Collaborative Planning grants, the Principal Investigator must be (a) a faculty member teaching in any S-STEM eligible discipline, or (b) a STEM administrator (department head or above) at one of the institutions within the envisioned inter-institutional consortia, or (c) a non-teaching institutional, educational, or social science researcher investigating questions related to low-income student success. The Principal Investigator on a Collaborative Planning grant must demonstrate the capacity to convene and lead a team of inter-institutional S-STEM eligible faculty, social science or educational researchers, and administrators focused on low-income student success to write the desired proposal in a 1-year timeframe.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

An institution may submit up to two proposals (either as a single institution or as a subawardee or a member of an inter-institutional consortia project (lead or co-lead) for a given S-STEM deadline. Multiple proposals from an institution must not overlap with regard to S-STEM eligible disciplines. See Additional Eligibility Information below for more details (see IV. Eligibility Information).

Institutions with a current S-STEM award should wait at least until the end of the third year of execution of their current award before submitting a new S-STEM proposal focused on students pursuing degrees in the same discipline(s).

The above restrictions do not apply to collaborative planning grant proposals.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 50 to 90 subject to availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $80,000,000 to $120,000,000

Awards for Track 1 (Institutional Capacity Building) projects may not exceed $1,000,000 total for a maximum duration of 6 years.

Awards for Track 2 (Implementation: Single Institution) projects may not exceed $2,500,000 total for a maximum duration of 6 years.

Awards for Track 3 (Inter-institutional Consortia) projects may not exceed $5,000,000 total for a maximum duration of 6 years.

Collaborative Planning projects may not exceed $100,000 for a maximum duration of 1 year.

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty
Institutional

Category

Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

March 2, 2023