The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) was a resource center for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) (fka Informal Science Education [ISE]) program from 2007-2022. Through three cooperative agreement awards (#0638981, #1212803, #1612739) CAISE was charged to strengthen and advance the informal STEM education field by providing infrastructure, resources, and connectivity for practitioners, researchers, evaluators, and other value-holders.

See a brief summary of CAISE’s activities throughout its tenure.

Over its term of service to the field, CAISE evolved a Theory of Action:


…convenes those working across informal STEM education sectors and settings; connects people and related work; characterizes the state of the field with regard to trends, topics, and approaches through the collection and curation of project examples, scholarship and evaluation reports; and communicates what it learns and creates to the wider field…


…will advance the development of knowledge from practice, research, and evaluation in informal  STEM education, science communication, and engagement.

In 2012 CAISE launched a new InformalScience.org website, integrating content from its previous InSci.org site with other relevant web infrastructure. It contains a community-contributed repository of informal STEM education (ISE) project descriptions, research articles, and evaluation reports and tools dating from the 1980’s to the present. 

CAISE Activities

NSF AISL Project Meetings (2008-2023)
Newsletter Archives (2021-2022)
Year in Informal STEM Education (2017-2020)
Task Forces (2017-2020)
News and Views (2008-2023)
CAISE Convenings (2011-2015)
Inquiry Group White Papers (2009-2010)

CAISE-Developed Resources

People reviewing a wall of post-it notes

Project Planner

A resource for developing informed proposals
young people with computers and

Broadening Participation Toolkit

A suite of professional learning tools to support your work
CAISE project life cycle

Discover Research

Learn what's applicable to the design, implementation, and assessment of ISE
Blue cover of Year in ISE 2020

Year in ISE

Annual compilations of trends and accomplishments from the ISE field


CAISE was composed of core staff at the Association of Science and Technology Centers in Washington, D.C., and a network of co–principal investigators, staff, advisors, and contractors based at academic institutions and informal STEM education organizations across the United States. Over the course of its history, CAISE engaged thousands of informal STEM learning, science communication, STEM engagement, and broader impacts professionals in inquiry groups, task forces, convenings, edit-a-thons, roundtables, workshops, online forums, and NSF AISL program awardee and Principal Investigator meetings. The team is deeply grateful to those individuals and communities for their countless, rich contributions to our field and knowledge-building efforts.

Jamie Bell
James Bell | Project Director and
Principal Investigator

Shannon Sullivan
Shannon Sullivan |
Program Manager
Aya Rothwell
Aya Rothwell |
Communications Coordinator

Co-Principal Investigators 2016-2022

The following co–Principal Investigators contribute to the project’s vision and the development of CAISE activities and resources.

Kevin Crowley
Kevin Crowley | University of Pittsburgh
Cecilia Garibay
Cecilia Garibay |
Garibay Group
Rabiah Mayas
Rabiah Mayas | Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Martin Storksdieck
Martin Storksdieck | Oregon State University