NSF Grants $39 Million to Boost University Preparation of Underrepresented Groups for STEM Careers

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding a total of $39 million to establish four new university alliances aimed at preparing and including individuals from historically underrepresented groups for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) .

The new grants are part of NSF INCLUDES, a comprehensive, national effort to strengthen U.S. leadership in scientific discovery and innovation by ensuring greater accessibility and inclusiveness in STEM fields.

“NSF INCLUDES is developing networks that are key to building and sustaining the kind of systemic change needed to substantially move the needle on inclusivity in STEM,” said Sylvia M. Butterfield, acting deputy director of NSFs Directorate for Education and Human Resources. “The latest NSF INCLUDES Alliances will create opportunities for a new generation of STEM talent and leadership.”

Each of the four 2022 NSF INCLUDES winners will receive nearly $10 million over five years to address a range of issues related to building STEM capacity and diversifying the STEM workforce.

Clark Atlanta University leads the NSF INCLUDES National Data Science Alliance, which aims to increase the number of black people earning data science credentials such as undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate minors, certificates, and degrees. On average, blacks make up only about 3% of all data science professionals, an indication of the need for a scalable program that can address this problem.

The NDSA will form a network of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that will work with industry, government and academic partners to increase the number of black data science professionals. These are three HBCUs, organized in regional hubs: Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University and Howard University.

The NSF INCLUDES Alliance in Support of the Pacific Impact through Computational Excellence will enhance education in data science for the sake of sustainability, economic development, and social justice in the Hawai’i-Pacific region, with a focus on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

It will be led by Chaminade University of Honolulu with partners from the University of Texas Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center and the University of Hawai’i. This alliance will adapt data science online curricula to reach rural areas. It will also increase the faculty’s data science research capacity, develop undergraduate data science research experiences, create new Pacific-focused data science courses, and build a “Wayfinding to Data” portfolio of education opportunities in the field of data science. data science for marginalized populations in K-20 education.

The NSF INCLUDES Re-imagining STEM Equity Using Postdoctoral Pathways Alliance aims to increase the number of minority STEM faculties by strengthening postgraduate preparation. It will focus on four interventions: 1) facilitating formal assessments of the diversity efforts of departments, institutions and systems to promote more inclusive policies and practices; 2) creating pathways that facilitate the recruitment and conversion of postdocs to tenure-track faculty positions; 3) developing more postdoctoral researchers from minorities; and 4) supporting mentors from minority postdocs and junior faculties.

This alliance will leverage the efforts of two state university systems that have successfully diversified faculty by coordinating postdoctoral recruitment, training and transition to faculty positions – the University System of Maryland’s NSF AGEP PROMISE Academy Alliance and the University of California Postdoctoral Fellowship Program president.

These two systems will support three additional state university systems that will adapt these models as Scaling Partners: the University of Texas System, the Texas A&M University System, and the University of North Carolina System.

Finally, the University of Montana will be the lead institution for the NSF INCLUDES Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Educational Leadership and STEM Alliance. It will work to increase representation of American Indian and Alaska Native students in STEM disciplines and the workforce of six EPSCoR states (Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming) through STEM- instruction, mentoring, investment and pathways at the K-12 level of education.

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