About the NSF 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. The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) was an NSF-funded resource center supporting the AISL program. CAISE worked in partnership with NSF Program Directors to plan resources that can help teams develop their proposals.  After their grant period ended in 2022, the Reimagining Equity and Values in Informal STEM Education (REVISE) center continues CAISE’s work and is now collecting and sharing new information pertaining to AISL. View previously funded projects.

Read the current NSF AISL Program Solicitation (22-626).

Check out the 2023-2024 AISL Program Webinars and Resources and learn more about applying for funding.

Full Proposal Deadline (due by 5pm local submitter’s time): January 8, 2025

Note: The AISL Program funds five types of projects: (1) Synthesis; (2) Conference; (3) Partnership Development and Planning; (4) Integrating Research and Practice; and (5) Research in Support of Wide-reaching Public Engagement with STEM.

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Recordings: NSF AISL Informational Webinars

The AISL program team has put together a series of live webinars and recorded presentations that highlight recent changes to the AISL solicitation (NSF 22-626) as well as other proposal preparation aspects submitters will find helpful. There are six “topic focused” live webinars plus three open sessions for questions and answers. Learn more about and view the 2023-2024 AISL Program Webinars.

Previous recordings include:

Key NSF Documents

NSF has several prescriptive documents that should inform your proposal development, preparation, and submission.

  1. The Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide or PAPPG (NSF 22-1) is the essential document for understanding how to prepare and submit proposals to NSF, as well as how NSF makes awards, and administers and monitors grants. Proposals must be submitted through Research.gov or Grants.gov platforms.
  2. Prospective New Awardee Guide – There are significant administrative and financial accountability requirements associated with federal grant awards and it is your responsibility as a prospective awardee to understand them. Read this guide in its entirety, as missing, incomplete, or inadequate information may result in your proposal being declined!
  3. Data Management for NSF EHR Directorate Proposals and Awards – All NSF proposals must include a “Data Management Plan,” which is a supplementary document that describe how your project will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. While some guidance on Data Management Plans is included in the PAPPG, this document provides additional guidance specific to the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate.
  4. Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development – The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and NSF co-developed the Common Guidelines to clarify the different types of education and learning research and to provide guidance about the purpose, justification, design features, and expected outcomes from these various types. Also, be sure to review the 2018 Companion Guidelines on Replication and Reproducibility in Education Research, which focuses on the importance of replication and reproducibility of research and provides guidance on steps researchers can take to promote corroboration and build the evidence base.
  5. NSF Merit Review Website – NSF’s merit review process is intended to ensure that submitted proposals are reviewed in a fair, competitive, transparent, and in-depth manner. While the process is described in the PAPPG, this website offers a deeper dive and an interactive, graphical representation of the timeline. This animated video illustrates the process. You can also watch this video to get a sense of what really happens during a review panel. A new Merit Review Process Digest was released in Fiscal Year 2018.
  6. Perspectives on Broader Impacts – All proposals to NSF must address two criteria—intellectual merit, or the potential to advance knowledge, and broader impacts, the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. While NSF is not prescriptive about what qualifies as “broader impacts,” it did host a 2014 summit to bring together NSF staff, university leaders, and current Principal Investigators to share definitions and examples of broader impacts activities. This report outlines those diverse perspectives.

New to Research.gov? Here are some training supports

Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending (Other) Support

Important Information

Innovating and migrating proposal preparation and submission capabilities from FastLane to Research.gov is part of the ongoing NSF information technology modernization efforts, as described in Important Notice No. 147. In support of these efforts, research proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation must be prepared and submitted via Research.gov or via Grants.gov, and may not be prepared or submitted via FastLane.

Any proposal submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), which is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021.

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