Transforming STEM Education through Participatory and Community-Engaged Research: An Incubator Project

October 1st, 2023 - September 30th, 2025 | PROJECT

Community-engaged schooling focuses on assets, perspectives, questions, and solutions emerging from communities and is beneficial for a wide array of students not always included in STEM. Infrastructure is needed to build connections through which geographically distributed community-engaged educators can be supported as co-researchers in STEM education research. This effort seeks to enact change in the research process itself including where research is undertaken, how research is conducted, and who holds power to initiate, enact, and use STEM education research. This Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure Incubator is enabling researchers, communities, and educators in co-developing and pilot testing infrastructure to increase the speed and scale of equitable STEM education research.

The network will bring together stakeholders from five core communities: STEM education research, formal education, informal education, participatory and community-engaged research, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) research. Through two in-person large meetings, multiple in-person small meetings, and virtual meetings, the network will plan the development and pilot testing of 1) a geographically distributed facility and field site infrastructure, and 2) a federated, interoperable digital infrastructure. Field sites are local, community-engaged STEM learning spaces and facilities are spaces that connect field sites together. The federated, interoperable digital infrastructure will enable individual Field Sites to connect to their facilities, and through those facilities, connect to a larger network. This design will provide shared communication protocols and common data standards while enabling local communities to shape the structure of their own field fite. The network will explore the scientific and technical requirements underlying the facilities, field fites, and digital infrastructure.

Project Website(s)

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Team Members

Julie Libarkin, Principal Investigator, Michigan State University
Rashida Harrison, Co-Principal Investigator, Michigan State University
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Co-Principal Investigator, Michigan State University
Gillian Roehrig, Co-Principal Investigator, University of Minnesota


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 2321946
Funding Amount: $499,721.00


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Learning Researchers
Discipline: General STEM
Resource Type: Project Descriptions | Projects
Environment Type: Informal | Formal Connections