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Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT)

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NSF 23-507

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.

Supports inclusive experiential learning opportunities that provide cohorts of diverse learners with the skills needed to succeed in emerging technology fields.

Supports inclusive experiential learning opportunities that provide cohorts of diverse learners with the skills needed to succeed in emerging technology fields.


Through this new initiative, the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and the newly established Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) seek to support experiential learning opportunities for individuals from diverse professional and educational backgrounds that will increase access to, and interest in, career pathways in emerging technology fields (e.g., advanced manufacturing, advanced wireless, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, semiconductors, and microelectronics). As NSF seeks to support the development of technologies in such fields, similar support will be needed to foster and grow a diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce to contribute to such innovation. Large scale societal challenges like climate change and clean energy also require a STEM workforce that brings varied perspectives and expertise to further accelerate the translation of science and engineering discoveries into large-scale solutions. Moreover, as current and new emerging technologies continue to evolve, unforeseen issues around security, safety and privacy will impact the preparation of the workforce. Emerging technologies are also dynamic and rapidly changing, with career entry and advancement often requiring "learning-by-doing" experience, even for those with some STEM education. Therefore, NSF recognizes that a competitive emerging technology workforce must include individuals from traditional and nontraditional education pathways as well as those individuals who may have “stopped” out of traditional educational pathways.

The ExLENT program will support inclusive experiential learning opportunities designed to provide cohorts of diverse learners with the crucial skills needed to succeed in emerging technology fields and prepare them to enter the workforce ready to solve our Nation’s most pressing scientific and societal challenges. Furthermore, the ExLENT program will directly support NSF’s priority to build a diverse workforcein emerging technologies to assure the Nation’s competitiveness in STEM.  

Key goals of the program are to (1) expand access to career-enhancing experiential learning opportunities for a broader, more diverse population, including adult learners interested in re-skilling and/or upskilling (e.g., those who face or who have faced significant barriers to accessing a formal STEM education); (2) promote cross sector partnerships between organizations in emerging technology fields and those with expertise in workforce development; and (3) develop a workforce aligned with regional economies based on emerging technologies across the Nation, in alignment with the mission of the TIP Directorate.  

Program contacts

General Inquiries
ExLENT@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111
Rebecca Shearman
rshearma@nsf.gov (703) 292-7403 TIP/ITE
Nina Maung-Gaona
nmaungga@nsf.gov (703) 292-4697 TIP/ITE
Mary Crowe
mcrowe@nsf.gov (703) 292-7177

Awards made through this program

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