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SBE Science of Broadening Participation (SBE SBP)

Important Information for Proposers

Any proposal submitted in response to this funding opportunity should be submitted in accordance with the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. The NSF PAPPG is regularly revised and it is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets the requirements specified in this solicitation and the applicable version of the PAPPG. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports research on expanding participation in education, the workforce and major societal institutions, with the goal of advancing theory and knowledge to enable informed decisions, design of effective interventions and programs that engage diverse groups.


The Science of Broadening Participation (SBP) uses the theories, methods, and analytic techniques of the social, behavioral, economic, and learning sciences to better understand the factors that enhance as well as the barriers that hinder our ability to expand participation in education, the workforce and major social institutions in society, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and other sectors. The results of these efforts can help to increase the access and involvement of underrepresented groups in education, the workforce, major social institutions in society and to strengthen our national productivity and competitive advantage. The SBP research advances scientific theory or knowledge in innovative ways so that educators, employers, and policy makers are able to make informed decisions, design effective interventions and create programs that successfully engage diverse groups.

SBP research proposals may focus on factors such as the following:

Institutional, organizational and group factors (e.g., studies of organizational, structural, cultural or climate factors that impact participation in education, the workforce, and major social institutions in society)

Affective, behavioral, cultural and social factors (e.g., studies of psychological, behavioral, or implicit bias factors that affect participation and achievement rates in education, the workforce, and major social institutions in society)

Economic and policy-related factors (e.g., studies of economic factors that impact participation in education, the workforce, and major social institutions in society, as well as the association between broader participation and social innovation).

Many of the fields represented within SBE can contribute to the Science of Broadening Participation. Some examples of potential research questions related to the SBP include but are not limited to:

  • What are the underlying psychological and social issues affecting the different participation and graduation rates of people who vary by gender, race, ethnicity, disability and other statuses in education, both within STEM but also in other fields?
  • What social, behavioral, or economic processes and mechanisms contribute to positive outcomes within education, the workforce, and major social institutions in society? Do those processes and mechanisms differ by gender, race, ethnicity, disability and other statuses?        
  • What factors help promote and maintain underrepresented youths' interest in education, including STEM fields?
  • What are the impacts of a diverse workforce on scientific productivity and innovation and the national economy?

Scholars conducting research that contributes to the Science of Broadening Participation should submit proposals to the most relevant program(s) of the SBE Directorate and designate the proposal as SBP by including "SBP:" at the beginning of the proposal title.  A listing of the SBE programs that may be relevant for Science of Broadening Participation (SBP) proposals is listed below under Related URLs.  All proposals submitted with the "SBP:" designation are assessed alongside other proposals submitted to the core program(s), according to the program(s) standard merit review criteria. 

Program contacts

For general inquiries about SBE-SBP, please contact Enrique Pumar. For inquiries pertaining to the scientific programs through which an SBE-SBP project is to be submitted, please contact the program officers as listed on the specific programs’ webpages. See the Listing of Relevant SBE Core Programs for Science of Broadening Participation to find the SBE programs that are most appropriate for SBP proposals.

Enrique Pumar
epumar@nsf.gov (703) 292-5188 SBE/OAD

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