NSF News

New Build and Broaden program awards help train the nation's future scientists

With an emphasis on supporting fundamental research, building research capacity and encouraging research collaborations with scholars at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), the U.S. National Science Foundation is investing more than $8 million through its Build and Broaden program. Funding will support 16 projects across all social and behavioral science disciplines at MSIs and their partner institutions, including six awards in states that are part of the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which supports areas in the U.S. that have historically received less federal support for research and development.

The Build and Broaden program supports cutting-edge research, training opportunities and new research infrastructure in the social, behavioral and economic sciences at MSIs, including historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges and universities.

"This year's Build and Broaden awards examine a wide range of topics and cultivate collaborations to support the research enterprise at universities across the nation. A strategy we call diversifying diversity," says Enrique S. Pumar, program director in NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE). "This kind of collaboration not only builds research capacity but also helps early researchers at MSIs overcome other barriers."

For example, in a collaboration between Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Tuskegee University and the University of Minnesota, a team of researchers will establish a faculty learning community to help early-career research faculty at MSIs overcome issues such as limited library and information technology resources and insufficient mentoring. A team of researchers from New York University will collaborate with their partners at the University of Nevada Las Vegas to analyze research design and implementation support services from Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions to see whether these services lead to measurable positive academic and racial identity outcomes.

Further, researchers at Felician University, a New Jersey MSI, will organize an intensive training seminar and white paper series to assess the success rates for first- and continuing-generation students. Researchers at Kean University will foster cross-disciplinary research in the social sciences and science, technology, engineering and mathematics to strengthen data and visualization tools used to address socioeconomic issues confronting urban communities.   

"At its core, Build and Broaden builds capacity and makes it possible for more scientists at MSIs to submit competitive research proposals to programs across NSF," said Sylvia Butterfield, SBE's acting assistant director. "Minority-serving institutions play a critical role in supporting and training the nation's future scientists and engineers, and Build and Broaden helps them build partnerships to further that mission." 

For more information, visit the Build and Broaden program webpage.