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.

Dear Colleague Letter

CAREER Proposals Submitted to the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)

Encourages the submission of Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) proposals to specific divisions and programs in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, and highlights and clarifies important program guidelines.

Encourages the submission of Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) proposals to specific divisions and programs in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, and highlights and clarifies important program guidelines.

Dear Colleagues:

The Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) encourages eligible members of the STEM education research community to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation's CAREER program. The purpose of this letter is twofold: (a) to highlight, clarify, and draw attention to important information included in Program Solicitation NSF 20-525 as it relates to CAREER proposals submitted to divisions and programs within EHR; and (b) to list the divisions and programs within EHR that intend to review and fund CAREER proposals.

EHR supports excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in all settings to develop a well-informed citizenry and a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians, and STEM educators. EHR invests strategically in research to understand STEM learning and education. Supporting early-career investigators is a crucial element of this EHR investment across EHR's programs.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty (and eligible investigators at non-degree-granting organizations, such as museums, observatories, or research labs) who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from eligible investigators at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

The CAREER program solicitation (NSF 20-525) highlights significant items related to the eligibility criteria for investigators, including that they will: (a) be engaged in research and education in a field supported by the NSF; and (b) hold at least a 50% tenure-track (or tenure-track-equivalent) position as an assistant professor (or equivalent title) as of the annual deadline. It is important to reiterate that for a position to be considered tenure-track-equivalent, it must meet all of the following requirements: (1) the employee has a continuing appointment that is expected to last the five years of a CAREER grant; (2) the appointment has substantial research and educational responsibilities; and (3) the proposed project relates to the employee's career goals and job responsibilities, as well as to the mission of the department or organization. For additional information, see the CAREER program solicitation (NSF 20-525) and the set of Frequently Asked Questions related to the CAREER Program (NSF 20-025).


Divisions and Programs within EHR emphasize different categories of research and development activities. When submitting a CAREER proposal to EHR, investigators need to indicate the program that most closely aligns with their proposal's scope of work. The EHR Divisions and Programs listed below accept CAREER proposals. Investigators are encouraged to read the program solicitations identified below and determine the best fit for their work.

Divisions and Programs within EHR that accept CAREER proposals are:

Division of Graduate Education

Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings

Division of Undergraduate Education

Division of Human Resources Development

For additional guidance, please contact one of EHR's Directorate or Division contacts; their contact information is found online at


Karen Marrongelle
Assistant Director