The NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Program
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM in informal environments. Proposals are due on November 7, 2018, by 5 p.m. local submitter's time.
AISL Program & Solicitation
Virtual Office Hours on Wednesday, Oct. 24
To help you develop and submit your proposal, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) invites you to join one virtual office hours with NSF AISL program officers on Wednesday, October 24 from 3 to 4 pm ET. Virtual office hours are informal sessions where you can ask questions about the solicitation and/or the NSF merit review process. They are open to everyone. Register and read important preparation information here.
Learn More With CAISE-NSF Webinars
An overview of the 2017-2019 NSF AISL program solicitation
In 2017, a three-year AISL solicitation was released. The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), an NSF-funded resource center supporting the AISL program, worked together with NSF program officers to offer an overview. Watch the webinar recording below, and view the slides.
New for 2018: Preparing Clear and Effective Budgets and Budget Justifications
It is the job of the Principal Investigator (PI) to ensure that the project narrative, budget, and budget justification tell a single, connected story that makes a convincing argument for funding. It is also the PI’s responsibility to ensure that all of these follow the National Science Foundation (NSF) guidelines, based on the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and the relevant program solicitation. In this Oct. 17 webinar, NSF program officers Catherine Eberbach and Ellen McCallie, along with Daniel McEnrue, from NSF’s Division of Grants and Agreements, provided insight into how to apply the PAPPG guidelines to develop clear and effective budgets and budget justifications and answered audience questions. Watch the webinar below, and download the audio-enhanced slides.
Additional webinars and presentations:
- Quick overview of the AISL program: View the slides.
- Deep dive into all sections of the solicitation, including the six AISL project types: Part 1 (solicitation structure and introductory materials); Part 2 (about EHR and DRL, budgets, through supplementary documents); and Part 3 (budgets continued, merit review, and award conditions).
- Writing a competitive AISL proposal: Watch the webinar recording and view the slides.
- Addressing broadening participation within AISL proposals: Watch the webinar recording and view the slides.
Previously Funded AISL Projects
- Many AISL projects showcase their work in the NSF STEM for All Video Hall Showcase, an annual online event. Visit the archives: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
- Project descriptions of all AISL projects are catalogued on InformalScience.org. See the list of 2017 and 2016 awards.
Other CAISE Resources
- Webinar: Using InformalScience.org to strengthen grant proposals (webinar recording here)
- Slidedoc: CAISE's 2017 Year in ISE Review is a sector-based collection of notable publications, events, and trends within informal science education (ISE).
- Resource collection: What Does Informal STEM Education Research Tell Us? includes key synthesis reports and literature reviews.
- Resource collection: Learn from Experience offers an overview of resources for three informal learning environments: Zoos and aquariums, libraries, and citizen science projects.
- Guide: The Principal Investigator’s Guide to Managing Evaluation in Informal STEM Education Projects walks you through how to integrate evaluation into all phases project design, development, and implementation. Written in collaboration with the Visitor Studies Association.
- Blog series: Working with an Institutional Review Board (IRB) helps you navigate the complexities of defining appropriate procedures for human subjects protection.
- Online forum: Design Based Research (DBR), Design Based Implementation Research (DBIR), and Informal STEM Learning
Resources from NSF
- Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development
- Data Management for NSF EHR Directorate Proposals and Awards
- Grants.gov Application Guide
- NSF Merit Review
- NSF Prospective New Awardee Guide (January 2017)
- Perspectives on Broader Impacts
- Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1)
- Want to be an NSF reviewer? Things you should know