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NSF to Host Ideas Lab to Foster Transformative Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – June 6, 2013

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) has released a solicitation for an Ideas Lab, titled “Data-Intensive Research to Improve Teaching and Learning,” to utilize large data sets to foster transformative approaches to teaching and learning.  This Ideas Lab workshop will be held on October 7-11, 2013.

The Data-Intensive Research to Improve Teaching and Learning Ideas Lab has a stated goal of fostering “novel, transformative, multidisciplinary approaches that address the use of large data sets to create actionable knowledge for improving STEM teaching and learning environments (formal and informal) in the medium term, and to revolutionize learning in the longer term.”  Through bringing together a range of experts including learning scientists, STEM disciplinary experts, computer scientists, mathematicians, database experts, and educational researchers, NSF hopes to produce approaches to using data “to help educators respond more effectively to the learning needs of individuals and groups of learners in multiple settings.”

NSF Ideas Labs bring together a group of participants with expertise in a relevant area to work in teams over a five day, intensive workshop to develop proposals.  Following the workshop, select teams will be invited to submit proposals to a competition for funding; additional funding is available for proposals not generated through the Ideas Lab.  Ideas Labs generally involve 20-30 participants who are assisted by scientists with relevant expertise and a team of facilitators.  While participation in the Ideas Lab is not required in order to submit a proposal, the Ideas Lab provides an opportunity to form new multidisciplinary collaborations and gain real-time iterative feedback to improve proposal ideas.

Letters of Intent: Not applicable.

Due Dates: Preliminary proposals are required for participation in the October Ideas Lab workshop and are due on August 19, 2013.  Selected participants for the Ideas Lab will be notified by September 6.  Full proposals (whether developed in the Ideas Lab or not) are due on December 9.

Total Funding and Award Size:  NSF will accept 20-30 proposals for participation in the October Ideas Lab workshop.  NSF anticipates a total funding availability of $5 million for up to 10 awards in fiscal year (FY) 2014, subject to the availability of funds.  NSF expects that up to $3 million will be available for FY 2014 for successful proposals developed through the Ideas Lab; an additional $2 million will be available in FY 2014 for proposals not developed in the Ideas Lab.

Eligibility and Limitations: Eligible applicants include universities and colleges; non-profit, non-academic organizations; state and local governments; and unaffiliated individuals.

The program solicitation is available here.



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