New International Partnership Funding Opportunity Available Science Learning+

April 10th, 2014

Science Learning+ will provide up to $14.4 million to support research into how learning happens outside the classroom, exploring the most effective practices and building the evidence base in this area. The aims are: (1) to learn more about, evaluate, and maximize the impact of informal learning experiences, and (2) to improve understanding of how informal environments may help to widen access to STEM for youth from all backgrounds.

Science Learning+ is an international partnership established by NSF (National Science Foundation), the UK-based Wellcome Trust and the UK ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Noyce Foundation.

Science Learning+ funding is particularly aimed at encouraging collaborative projects between researchers and practitioners in the US and UK, developing stronger links and partnerships internationally, and building a learning community for exchanging experience and expertise.

The program’s objectives are:

Strengthen the research and knowledge base.


  • research the value and impacts of informal STEM experiences, especially upon young people aged from birth to 19 years;
  • develop a theoretical understanding of the processes which lead to these impacts;
  • develop better methodologies to measure the impacts of informal STEM experiences especially upon learning and mediation of learning;
  • build research capacity in informal STEM learning;


Bridge the practice and research gap


  • increase partnerships, understanding and influence between researchers and practitioners; develop collaborations among institutions and individuals engaged in informal STEM experiences;
  • translate, communicate and document the outcomes of research into practice;


Share knowledge and expertise


  • encourage the sharing of knowledge and skills relating to informal STEM learning, between researchers and practitioners, across different countries (particularly the UK and US), and across different areas of research expertise.


The funding will take place in two phases lasting over four to six years, with half of the funds coming from NSF and the other half from UK sources. One-year-long Planning Grants (proposals due on July 10, 2014) will enable initial collaboration and ideas development. Partnership Grants (due in 2015), will fund research activities for up to five years.

Science Learning+ is a 6th Program Type within the new AISL Solicitation (See publication 14-555). If you have questions after reading the new solicitation, please contact Dennis Schatz or Richard Duschl, the Science Learning+ Program Directors.