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Broadening Participation in Engineering (BPE)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See NSF 22-514 for the latest version.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The Broadening Participation in Engineering (BPE) Program is a Directorate-wide initiative dedicated to supporting the development of a diverse and well-prepared engineering workforce. Across every educational juncture (e.g., elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels), efforts to improve engineering interests, preparation, connections, experiences, and opportunities among underrepresented groups is of major importance to BPE.

In FY 2016, aligned with NSF-wide INCLUDES, BPE is interested in funding projects that bring together multiple groups (e.g., school districts, community colleges, engineering schools, industry, philanthropy, government, etc.) and offer the greatest return on investment by producing outcomes that are scalable, sustainable, and applicable to various contexts, settings, and demographics within the engineering enterprise. For example, it is interested research projects that help us to analyze and understand the problem of insufficient interest and poorly sustained participation in engineering across underrepresented demographic groups; insignificant preparation and scarce opportunities for members of underrepresented demographic groups to learn meaningful, relevant engineering and other STEM-related content; insufficient access to support systems and social networks that raises career awareness about different engineering pathways among underrepresented groups; and structural inequalities and biases within educational and workforce systems that may influence engineering persistence.

For FY 2016, BPE is equally interested in funding demonstration projects that focus on issues associated with diversity within the engineering professoriate, with a particular interest in proposals concentrating on racial and ethnic minorities. Such projects should be informed by the current theoretical and scientific literature as well as add to the extant knowledge base. Given the breadth of targeted groups, it is expected that all institutions of higher learning (i.e., 2-year and 4-year) have at least one if not more targeted demographics that they could propose a strategy for improving diversity (e.g., creation of a professoriate preparation program for graduate students, development of a postdoctoral program, or creation of a mentoring program for early career faculty). A successful proposal should, therefore, provide appropriate data to support selection of the targeted group(s), with specific and applicable objectives, demonstrate applicable knowledge of the relevant literature on underrepresentation and describe a clear strategy for improving representation. These demonstration projects should also integrate assessment and evaluation protocols capable of measuring how well they achieve their stated objectives as part of the project management plans.  The effectiveness of the proposed evaluation is one aspect of a project’s intellectual merit. Similarly, there should be evidence of clear, measureable outcomes and consideration of how the strategy will work for disparate institutions. It is expected that proposed projects would advance our knowledge of this field in many ways.

In closing, before submitting a research or demonstration project proposal to the BPE program, prospective PIs are strongly encouraged to speak to the program director to obtain guidance as to whether the proposed ideas are aligned with the strategic goals of the BPE. It is also strongly recommended that proposals be submitted to the BPE not later than the Full Proposal Target Date to enable full consideration of the proposed project for the related fiscal year's funding. 


Program contacts

Paige E. Smith
psmith@nsf.gov 703-292-7107 ENG/EEC

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