Virtual office hours for NSF AISL applicants

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September 25th, 2018

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program supports a range of projects within the field of informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. The current NSF AISL Program Solicitation #17-573 is a three-year solicitation covering 2017, 2018, and 2019. Proposals for the next round of funding are due on Wednesday November 7, 2018.

To help you develop and submit your proposal, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), invites you to join one (or both) of the following virtual office hours with NSF AISL program officers:



Tuesday, October 9 from 3 to 4 pm EDT

  • With NSF program officers Ellen McCallie, Sandy Welch, and Amy Wilson-Lopez

Wednesday, October 24 from 3 to 4 pm EDT

  • With NSF program officers Bob Russell and Sandy Welch

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.

Important preparation

Prior to attending the virtual office hours, you and your team should read the entire solicitation thoroughly and watch the webinar overview of the solicitation below. You might also review this list of helpful resources and additional webinar recordings, compiled by CAISE, in order to help you better understand the solicitation and NSF requirements.

What to expect

The virtual office hours will be hosted on the GoToWebinar platform. At the start of the virtual office hour, we will communicate the general order of broad topics that the program officers will address based upon the submitted pre-registration questions. There will be additional time towards the end to address any questions that did not fall within a topic area, or that came up as you were listening.

Within the GoToWebinar platform you will be able to indicate that you’d like to ask a question by “raising your hand” (see this short tutorial). CAISE moderators will call on you and give you speaking privileges. All participants will be on mute unless asking a question. Throughout the office hour you will also be able to submit written questions via the “Questions” tab.


Our goal is that you remain anonymous among other participants. They will not see your name in the attendee list, or see written questions submitted via the “Questions” tab. If you asking a verbal question, CAISE moderators will use your first name only, e.g. “Mary, you are no longer muted, and may ask your question.” You are welcome to use a pseudonym when registering.


By registering advance, you can help us get a sense expected attendance numbers and question topic areas. This will allow us to group similar queries and set a balanced pace in order to answer as many questions as possible.

And don’t forget to prepare!