Collage of persons with disabilities and people of different ages, ethnicities and races doing research and learning.
Broadening Participation in STEM

Supporting Persons With Disabilities in STEM

The U.S. National Science Foundation is dedicated to increasing the involvement of individuals with disabilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

NSF's strategic investments ensure individuals of diverse abilities can contribute to U.S. leadership in STEM.

Research highlights

Explore some of the ways that NSF work enhances the lives of persons with disabilities.
Instruction at the People with Disabilities Achieving Career Employment (PACE) center at the University of Pittsburgh – Human Engineering Research Laboratories helps prepare individuals with disabilities to work in advanced manufacturing or to continue their STEM education.
Instruction at the People with Disabilities Achieving Career Employment (PACE) center at the University of Pittsburgh – Human Engineering Research Laboratories helps prepare individuals with disabilities to work in advanced manufacturing or to continue their STEM education.

Credit: Photo from ATE Impacts 2018-2019 book (https://ateimpacts.net/book)

Biomedical engineering makes strides in assistive technologies

Explore NSF-supported research that is advancing rehabilitative and assistive technologies that support movement, touch, the brain and hearing.

 

Research offers strategies for broadening participation in STEM

Explore how NSF-supported researchers in the field of science and technology studies are developing a more inclusive and accessible scientific enterprise.

STEM education initiative for students with disabilities

NSF awarded $10 million to Auburn University to lead a national research effort to promote STEM education among students with disabilities.

 

Use-inspired solutions for persons with disabilities

NSF's Convergence Accelerator awarded $11.8 million to 16 teams to develop solutions to enhance quality of life and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Data on persons with disabilities in STEM

Published every two years, NSF's STEM and Diversity: Woman, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities report provides insights into the diversity of the STEM workforce in the United States.

Key findings from the 2023 report include:

  • Persons with a disability who worked part time in a STEM-related occupation in 2021 reported wanting to work full time at about twice the rate of those without a disability (28% vs. 15%).
  • In 2021, 65% of STEM workers with a disability had less than a bachelor's degree education.
  • Among STEM doctorate recipients in 2021, individuals earning degrees in psychology and social sciences had the highest rate of disability (13%) and those in engineering had the lowest rate (8%).

Supporting NSF staff with disabilities

NSF is dedicated to enhancing its recruitment, promotion and retention of qualified persons with disabilities.

NSF's accessABILITY Employee Resource Group:

  • Builds partnerships with stakeholders to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and support the full participation of NSF employees and applicants with disabilities.
  • Enhances awareness and education on challenges and support mechanisms for persons with disabilities, while identifying and addressing potential barriers.
  • Contributes to improving accessibility at NSF, including sharing tools and resources for assistive technologies.
  • Cultivates a supportive community for employees who share common experiences.