Equipping New Scholars
The World is facing “all minds needed” problems, but due to historical systemic structures, all minds have not been fully engaged. Recent research shows that science scholars who are underrepresented in STEM produce higher rates of scientific novelty, yet they do not persist in the systems where the innovation is created (Hofstra et al. 2020). Because the geosciences continue to lag other STEM fields in creating a diverse community of researchers, scholars, and practitioners, disruptive strategies and evidence-based practices are needed to recruit and specifically retain individuals who historically have not been included in geoscience education, research and careers.
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) seeks to support activities that will develop unique approaches or bring to scale current efforts to increase and sustain the inclusion of individuals from diverse backgrounds in the geoscience education and research community. Proposals that will address elements in the following two areas are encouraged:
Professional Development. GEO encourages projects that will develop efforts and training that focus on the creation of BAJEDI (Belonging Accessibility Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion) leaders through scaling of model professional development (PD) programs, identifying barriers that exist within academia and/or the geosciences that prevent the development of diversity champions, and the employment of strategies that will create and sustain cohorts of diversity leaders to maximize collective impact in the geoscience ecosystem.
- Examples of focus areas for PD centered proposals could include: 1) training in BAJEDI for graduate students and postdocs who will soon be on the job market, 2) creation of curriculum and standards for safe, equitable and inclusive education and research practices, 3) development of guidance that would assist geoscience academic and research units in developing or implementing BAJEDI plans, and 4) identification and fostering of practices related to the valuation of BAJEDI leaders and their activities in institutional promotion systems.
Geoscience Capacity Building at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). With the recognition that Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) operate with intentionality and holistic support of students (NASEM 2019), GEO also welcomes proposals that envision new efforts to create educational or degree granting geoscience programs at MSIs or scale existing geoscience programs into graduate programs at MSIs with the following elements in mind:
- Consideration of the necessary steps to create or scale an educational or degree granting geoscience program through partnerships and collaborations, with an emphasis on collaborative infrastructure as defined under the NSF INCLUDES Program.
- Development of pilot bridge programs (high school to undergraduate, undergraduate to graduate and graduate to workforce) to grow the pool of potential geoscience program majors at MSIs and prepare them to be geoscience professionals.
- Identification and reduction of barriers (e.g., grants infrastructure or institutional policies) that may hinder the creation and sustainability of educational and degree granting geoscience programs at MSIs.
- Creation of a coordinating unit to assist in supporting or building grants management infrastructure at MSIs.
When developing proposals, the PI team should acknowledge the need for increased engagement from social and behavioral science experts to address issues related to BAJEDI in the geosciences and include these best practices and experts in proposed projects. Proposals could also focus on the dissemination of information on lessons learned from related activities (e.g., GOLD, NSF INCLUDES National Network, etc.) to the geoscience community, and encourage new opportunities for collaboration in the community and across other NSF Broadening Participation Programs.
Competitive funding requests will explicitly describe and demonstrate their alignment and/or connections to the mission and goals of NSF’s GOLD Program. Failure to sufficiently demonstrate relevancy to these Programs will result in the funding request being declined.