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Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, IHEs, and Agencies to Strengthen the Quality of STEM Education

Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
National Science Foundation (NSF)
CFDA Number: 47.076
Funding or PIN Number: NSF 22-626
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Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Deadline: 01/10/24 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, for-profits, IHEs, and government agencies to strengthen the quality of STEM education for the general public. Applicants are advised that required registrations take several weeks to finalize. Funding is intended for a broad range of projects that provide the public with access to STEM learning. This Program seeks proposals that center equity and belonging, and further the well-being of individuals and communities who have historically been and continue to be excluded, underserved, or underrepresented.

The Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Program is committed to funding research and practice, with continued focus on investigating a range of informal STEM learning (ISL) experiences and environments that make lifelong learning a reality.

This program seeks to further the well-being of individuals and communities who have historically been and continue to be excluded, under-served, or underrepresented due to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, neurodiversity, geographic location, and economic status, among others, as well as their intersections.

The informal STEM learning field comprises a broad community of STEM education researchers, practitioners, learning organizations, associations, and communities who seek to understand the theoretical and empirical foundations for effective informal experiences and environments.

AISL Goals for Proposals

  • Goal #1: Learning STEM in Informal Experiences and Environments (required of all proposals)
  • Goal #2: Advancing the Knowledge Base of Informal STEM Learning (required of all proposals)
  • Goal #3: Equity, Belonging, and Broadening Participation (required of all proposals)
  • Goal #4: Intentionally Community/Practitioner Driven 
  • Goal #5: Professional Capacity Building & Informal STEM Infrastructure
  • Goal #6: Support Learners' Participation in and Understanding of STEM practices 

More information about goals:

The AISL Program funds five types of projects: (1) Synthesis; (2) Conference; (3) Partnership Development and Planning; (4) Integrating Research and Practice; and (5) Research in Support of Wide-reaching Public Engagement with STEM. More about Project Types:


  • Unrestricted (i.e., open to any type of entity below), subject to any clarification in the text field entitled "Additional Information on Eligibility"

Additional Eligibility Criteria
NSF welcomes proposals on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers, and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF, although some programs may have special requirements that limit eligibility.

Categories of Proposers: Except where a program solicitation establishes more restrictive eligibility criteria, organizations in the following categories may submit proposals:

- Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the U.S., acting on behalf of their faculty members.

- Non-profit, Non-academic Organizations - Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the U.S. that are directly associated with educational or research activities.

- Tribal Governments - The term “ tribal government” means the governing body of any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe under the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a, et seq.)

The following organizations may be eligible to submit proposals:

- For-profit Organizations - U.S.-based commercial organizations, including small businesses, with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education and a passion for innovation.

- State and Local Governments - As programmatically necessary and as provided for in a solicitation or BAA, State, and local governments may be eligible to submit proposals.

For more details about eligibility, see

Activities primarily focused on formal educational systems or outcomes are outside the scope of work supported by this program. AISL does not fund formal elementary, middle, or high school, or undergraduate or graduate education, whether in-person or online. Similarly, AISL does not fund formal workforce training (e.g., professional certifications and degree-earning programs) that is not aimed directly at informal STEM learning professionals.

Unaffiliated individuals are not eligible to submit proposals in response to this solicitation.

Foreign organizations - NSF rarely provides direct funding support to foreign organizations. NSF will consider proposals for cooperative projects involving U.S. and foreign organizations, provided support is requested only for the U.S. portion of the collaborative effort.

Other Federal Agencies - NSF does not normally support research or education activities by scientists, engineers or educators employed by Federal agencies or FFRDCs. Under unusual circumstances, other Federal agencies and FFRDCs may submit proposals directly to NSF.

Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Pre-Proposal Conference
The AISL program team has put together a series of recorded presentations and live webinars designed to support submitters in the preparation of proposals for the AISL program (NSF 22-626). There are six topic-focused recorded webinars plus five office hour-type sessions where AISL program officers will be available to respond to questions from participants about topics covered in the recordings. Please prepare for the live webinars by watching the recorded webinars in advance.

Final Open Q&A Sessiosn
Tuesday, November 28, 2023, 4:00 - 5:00 PM ET
A final open “office hours” for your questions. All types of questions will be addressed. Register here:

See links to recorded webinars at:

Pre-Application Information
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):
- January 10, 2024
- Second Wednesday in January, Annually Thereafter

Proposers should allow up to six months for programmatic review and processing. In addition, proposers should be aware that the NSF Division of Grants and Agreements generally makes awards within 30 calendar days after the program division/office makes its recommendation.

All proposers must provide a UEI when applying for a new or renewal award. NSF requires that organizations registering to use NSF’s electronic systems have a valid and active SAM registration and have a valid UEI. SAM ( is the primary registrant database for the U.S. Government. Proposers are advised that entity registration will become active after three to five business days when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) validates the Tax ID Number.

The NSF ID is a unique numerical identifier assigned to users by NSF. The NSF ID is used throughout NSF’s electronic systems as a login ID and identification verification. Each individual user of NSF systems, (e.g., should not have more than one NSF ID.

- Full Proposals submitted via Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), which is available at:
- Full proposals submitted via Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the NSF Application Guide: The complete text of the NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at: (

Resources available: Check out other resources available at

HTML version of Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG):

HTML version of Program Solicitation:

About proposal preparation and submission on

View this grant opportunity on online user guide:

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants
Estimated Number of Awards: 48 to 77: Pending availability of funds, it is anticipated that about 6-8 Synthesis awards, 10-15 Conference awards, 10-15 Partnership Development and Planning awards, 12-16 Integrating Research and Practice awards and 5-8 Research in Support of Wide-reaching Public Engagement with STEM Project awards will be made. AISL will also fund 1-3 awards made through the Research Coordination Networks (RCN) mechanism and 4-12 CAREER awards and REU supplements.

Estimated Size of Grant
Award Ceiling: $3,500,000
Award Floor: $150,000

Limits for funding requests of AISL proposals under this solicitation are as follows:
(1) Synthesis projects: $100,000 to $500,000
(2) Conference projects: $75,000 to $250,000
(3) Partnership Development and Planning projects: $50,000 to $150,000
(4) Integrating Research and Practice projects: $250,000 to $2,000,000
(5) Research in Support of Wide-reaching Public Engagement with STEM projects: $1,000,000 to $3,500,000

Term of Contract
Duration of AISL proposals under this solicitation are as follows:
(1) Synthesis projects: duration up to three years
(2) Conference projects: duration up to two years
(3) Partnership Development and Planning projects: duration of one to one and one-half years
(4) Integrating Research and Practice projects: duration of two to five years
(5) Research in Support of Wide-reaching Public Engagement with STEM projects: duration of two to five years

Contact Information
Address Question to the Program, telephone: (703) 292-8616, email:

For questions related to the use NSF systems contact:
NSF Help Desk: 1-800-381-1582 Help Desk e-mail:

National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 292-5111

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