CREST Center awards provide support to enhance the research capabilities of Minority-serving institutions (MSIs) through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research. CREST Center awards promote the development of new knowledge, enhancements of the research productivity of individual faculty, and an expanded presence of students historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Successful CREST Center proposals will demonstrate a clear vision and integration of STEM research and education and will align with the mission of the Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM (EES) with respect to the development of a diverse STEM workforce. CREST Centers are also expected to provide leadership by meaningfully involving the efforts of those faculty, students, and postdoctoral researchers who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM at all levels. Centers are required to use evidence-based and innovative strategies to address salient broadening participation and workforce development issues, such as recruitment, retention, and mentorship of participants from underrepresented groups. Successful proposals are expected to achieve national research competitiveness, broaden participation in STEM, and generate sustained, non-CREST funding from federal, state, and/or private-sector sources.
Phase I and Phase II CREST Center Awards
Preliminary proposals are required for Phase I and Phase II projects. Thus, an invitation from NSF must be received before submitting a full proposal. Both Phase I and Phase II CREST Center awards provide multi-year support for institutions that demonstrate a strong research base. Phase I CREST Center awards provide funding for five years of research on a specific NSF-supported topic. If invited, institutions may submit a Phase II CREST Center proposal requesting funding to continue research in the same disciplinary area as the Phase I Center or may submit a Phase I proposal focused on a disciplinary area that is significantly different from those of the previous award(s).
CREST Partnership Supplements
CREST Partnership Supplemental funding requests are invited from current CREST Center awardees. Supplements support the establishment or strengthening of partnerships and collaborations with active CREST Centers and other nationally or internationally recognized research centers (including NSF-supported research centers), private sector research laboratories, K-12 schools, and/or informal science entities, including museums and science centers, as appropriate. Such partnerships and collaborations should aid CREST Centers’ quest in advancing knowledge and education on a research theme of national significance.