Tips for Starting
To explore the below ECR funding opportunities, we suggest you:
- Consider what fundamental research means in your context (see description here).
- Explore example ECR projects for the funding opportunity that most interests you below.
- Read the ECR:Core or ECR Building Capacity in STEM Education Research (ECR:BCSER) solicitations.
- Use this recorded ECR Hub workshop to develop a one-pager of your idea.
- Contact an NSF program officer with your one-pager (see contact details below).
- Subscribe to the ECR Hub Mailing List for updates of future community events and resources.
Are you new to STEM education research? If so, consider the BCSER IID opportunity below, which has less strict requirements regarding fundamental research for investigators new to STEM education research (see IID Track A in the BCSER solicitation).
Example Projects by Funding Type
Click the links below to see example projects for each ECR funding type, whether from the ECR:Core solicitation, the ECR:BCSER solicitation, or broader NSF funding mechanisms that ECR participates in:
The ECR:Core solicitation supports fundamental research on (a) STEM learning and learning environments, (b) broadening participation in STEM, and (c) STEM workforce development. Projects can include up to $2.5M in costs and be up to 5 years in length, accounting for the largest source of ECR funds to date.
BCSER Individual Investigator Development
BCSER Individual Investigator Development (IID) projects support individual investigators, both experienced and new to STEM education research, who have identified specific capabilities they need to develop more fully to conduct high-quality STEM education research in a critical area.
BCSER Institutes for Methods and Practices projects provide participants with training and support in cutting-edge methodological techniques and/or research practices relevant to STEM education research. Proposers should be experts in the proposed institute’s methodological or practice focus.
The NSF-wide Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program supports early-career researchers at the assistant professor or equivalent rank via 5-year projects that integrate research and education. Though broader than ECR, CAREER also accepts proposals that align with ECR’s focus.
Both the ECR:Core and ECR:BCSER solicitations accept conference proposals, which can be submitted at any time. The conference or meeting should have a well-defined focus that aligns with ECR:Core’s goals for fundamental research or ECR:BCSER’s capacity-building goals.
The NSF-wide Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) program provides mid-career researchers with protected time, resources, and the means to gain new skills through partnerships, typically outside the candidate's home institution. Like CAREER, MCA is broader than ECR but also accepts ECR-aligned proposals.
The NSF-wide Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) funding mechanisms are distinct from "regular" NSF proposals. RAPID supports research projects with severe urgency regarding data availability or other resources, and EAGER supports "high risk-high payoff" exploratory work.
The ECR program sometimes also supports projects via other opportunities such as the solicitation for the ECR Hub. ECR also co-funds projects submitted to other NSF programs whose project scope aligns with ECR’s mission (the project search tool does not presently include these co-funded projects).
ECR Funding Details and Next Steps
Click the embedded links below for the solicitation or more information on NSF’s webpage.
After developing a one-pager (see recorded workshop here), we recommend emailing your one-pager to the applicable contact below. You can request to discuss with an NSF program officer about whether your idea aligns with ECR versus another NSF program.
As an example experience, see Dr. Teomara Rutherford's reflections on developing her ECR-CAREER proposal, which started as a 1-paragraph blurb and finished as a successfully funded ECR project. Your experience may differ based on your research topic, institutional context, and proposed funding type.
|Funding type||Next deadline(s)||Maximum length||Maximum amount||Email contact|
|ECR:Core||October 5, 2023 |
October 3, 2024
|BCSER IID||February 23, 2024||3 years||$350,000||ECRBCSER@nsf.gov|
|BCSER Institute||February 23, 2024||3 years||$1,000,000||ECRBCSER@nsf.gov|
|CAREER||July 24, 2024||5 years||None firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com|
|Conference||Submit any time||1-2 years typically||$25,000 to $100,00 typically||ECR@nsf.gov or ECRBCSER@nsf.gov|
|MCA||March 1, 2024||3 years||See solicitation||MCA.firstname.lastname@example.org|
|RAPID||Submit any time||1 years||$200,000||ECR@nsf.gov|
|EAGER||Submit any time||2 years||$300,000||ECR@nsf.gov|
Further Proposal Development Resources
After your initial idea generation and scoping, consider exploring the following proposal development resources from partner hubs or websites.
- Dr. Ilana Horn and Dr. Terrell Morton discuss insights from panel reviews and responding to rejection for NSF DRK-12 proposals.
- The partner hub STELAR provides a free, self-paced proposal development course for NSF ITEST proposals.
- The partner hub CADRE provides tips for early-career researchers, a suggested proposal development timeline, and links to further resources.
- NSF's Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) provides detailed guidance and policies applicable to all NSF programs.
A caveat: Though much of this partner content is general, some details are specific to other programs (e.g., DRK-12, ITEST) and less relevant to ECR.