The National Science Foundation (NSF) hereby solicits proposals for the establishment of the Arecibo Center for STEM Education and Research (ACSER) at the original site of the Arecibo Observatory (AO). NSF seeks to evaluate proposals that would transition the existing AO site to the new ACSER, shifting the disciplinary focus from primarily on the astronomical sciences to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research more broadly . ACSER would serve as a hub for STEM discovery and exploration by building upon existing programs and opportunities currently in place at the AO site, while also creating and implementing new STEM education, research, and outreach programs and initiatives.
The goals of ACSER would be to:
- promote STEM education, learning, and teaching,
- support fundamental and applied STEM and STEM education research,
- broaden participation in STEM, and
- build and leverage existing and new collaborations and partnerships.
The reimagined Center would have a significant role in modeling and advancing equitable and inclusive STEM education and research, especially in Puerto Rico and for individuals and communities underrepresented in STEM. ACSER would be poised to serve as a catalyst for increased and inclusive engagement in a broad range of STEM disciplines, cutting-edge research, and workforce development initiatives by students, teachers, researchers, local communities, and the public within and outside of Puerto Rico.
NSF recognizes the scientific, educational, historic, cultural, and economic significance of the AO site to Puerto Rico and the global scientific community. Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, the AO site is identified as a historic district worthy of preservation and includes a Learning Center, a Visitor’s Center and Shop, an auditorium, exhibition space, cafeteria, office space, and dormitories. This solicitation calls for proposals to manage the education, research, and outreach aspects of ACSER. A third-party contractor would be responsible for overall site maintenance.
 Prior to reaching a final decision in response to this solicitation, NSF will need to complete any required environmental reviews.