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National Science Foundation (NSF)
Pathways into the Earth, Ocean, Polar, and Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences (GEOPAths) invites creative proposals to identify, broaden, strengthen and sustain the pathways that will engage and retain diverse students in pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate geoscience degree programs. Specifically, applicants should address the current needs and opportunities related to education, learning, training, and professional development within the geosciences community through the formation of STEM Learning Ecosystems that engage students in the study of the Earth, its oceans, polar regions and atmosphere. The primary goal of GEOPAths is to increase the number of students pursuing undergraduate and/or postgraduate degrees through the design and testing of novel approaches that engage students in authentic, career-relevant experiences in geoscience.
This program includes three funding tracks:
- GEOPAths: Informal Networks (IN). Collaborative projects in this track will support geoscience learning and experiences in informal settings for teachers, pre-college (e.g., upper-level high school) students, and early undergraduates in the geosciences.
- GEOPAths: Undergraduate Preparation (UP). Projects in this track will engage pre-college and undergraduate students in extracurricular experiences and training in the geosciences with a focus on service learning and workplace skill-building.
- GEOPAths: Graduate Opportunities (GO). Projects in this track will improve research and career-related pathways into the geosciences for undergraduate and graduate students through institutional collaborations with a focus on service learning and workplace skill building.
History of Funding
GEOPAths:IN track activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Providing experiences that help pre-college students transition more successfully into undergraduate geoscience programs.
- Creating mechanisms to engage students with sensory, physical, or intellectual disabilities, including less apparent” disabilities in accessible field and research experiences.
- Creating summer bridge programs that expose incoming undergraduate freshmen to the geosciences.
- Leveraging science centers, museums, aquaria, etc. to expose home-schooled pre-college students to geoscience content and opportunities.
- Creating mechanisms to engage upper-level high school or community college students in experiences that demonstrate the geosciences as a viable career path before applying for college admission or transfer to a 4-year program.
- Providing experiences for teachers to gain geoscience content for use in the classroom
GEOPAths:UP track activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Providing students with service-learning or community-based opportunities related to the geosciences.
- Establishing and conducting novel support programs aimed at retaining diverse students in geosciences.
- Partnering with large research facilities, to provide students with hands-on training and experience using sophisticated geoscience instrumentation, large data sets, and/or models.
- Engaging students in large, ongoing, and separately funded field-based research campaigns and subsequent data analysis and synthesis.
- Creating competitions and prizes that offer capstone experiences at large or unique geoscience research facilities.
- Leveraging large research infrastructure (e.g., ships, geophysical facilities) to expose students from high schools, community colleges and nongeoscience majors to geoscience content and opportunities.
- Establishing new multi-year, academic-year geoscience research opportunities for cohorts of undergraduate students at the awardee institution.
- Creating summer bridge programs that expose incoming undergraduate freshmen to geosciences.
- Offering accessible field research experiences for students with sensory, physical, or intellectual disabilities; this includes intentional engagement of students with less apparent” disabilities, high functioning undergraduate students on the autism spectrum, and students in STEP-like transition programs [
- Supporting research experiences for individuals (e.g., veterans) at the undergraduate level who want to enter or re-enter the geosciences after an interruption in their academic training
GEOPAths:GO track activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Creating mentored geoscience-related internships, externships, certificate or apprenticeship programs in collaboration with the private sector.
- Convening small conferences or strategic planning activities to establish new organizational collaborations.
- Designing and testing novel bridge programs that help post-undergraduate students from non-geoscience fields transition into geoscience graduate programs.
- Creating enrichment programs that develop skills required by the evolving job market for geoscientists and increase their entry into jobs classified as geoscience.
- Fostering career-aligned collaborations between academia and the local private sector or state/local government that facilitate transitions between undergraduate/graduate programs and the geoscience workforce.
- Developing content for virtual research experiences that link to the evolving nature of the modern work environment
The following institutions and organizations are eligible to submit proposals under the GEOPAths: Informal Network (IN) track:
- Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US.
- Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.
The following institutions and organizations are eligible to submit proposals under the GEOPAths: Undergraduate Preparation (UP) track:
- Only institutions of higher education (as defined in section 101 (a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965) in the U.S and its territories that grant associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degrees in the disciplines listed in the National Center for Education Statistics' Classification of Instructional Programs database are eligible to submit proposals, with the following restrictions: institutions identified by the Carnegie Classification in effect at the time of submission as the non-lead institution of a collaborative GEOPAths:UP proposal. To be clear, while "very high research activity institutions (e.g., R1s) may participate in this program, their participation should be clearly justified in terms of how these collaborations foster research capacity at non- R1s.
The following institutions and organizations are eligible to submit proposals under the GEOPAths: Graduate Opportunities (GO) track:
- Only Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US may submit proposals as the sole submitting organization or lead institution in a collaborative proposal, with no restrictions on institution type.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
A total of $6,000,000 is available in total funding. NSF expects to make up to 15 awards, with approximately 5 awards being made in each of the three tracks. The project period is 36 months. A cost match is not required.
*Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.
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