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Advanced Technological Education (ATE)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, Agencies
and IHEs to Enhance STEM Curricula

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline Date:

10/15/18 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time


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Grants to USA IHEs, nonprofits, for-profits, government agencies, and certain qualifying individuals to enhance the quality of science and technology in higher education. Special emphasis is placed on two-year postsecondary institutions. Support is available for curriculum development, college faculty and secondary school teacher professional development, and facilitating science and technology career pathways from secondary school to two-year colleges, and from two-year colleges to four-year institutions.

The program involves partnerships between academic institutions (grades 7-12, IHEs) and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary institution school levels. The program invites research proposals that advance the knowledge base related to technician education. It is expected that projects will be faculty driven and that courses and programs credit bearing, although materials developed may also be used for incumbent worker education.

The ATE program encourages partnerships with other entities that may impact technician education. For example, with
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) ( as applicable to support technician education programs and the industries they serve;
- Manufacturing USA Institutes ( and Investing in Manufacturing Communities of Practice (IMCPs) ( addressing workforce development issues (also see DCL NSF 16-007); and
- NSF Industry University Cooperative Research Centers Program (I/UCRC) awardees (

Fields of technology supported by the ATE program include, but are not limited to, advanced manufacturing technologies, agricultural and bio-technologies, energy and environmental technologies, engineering technologies, information technologies, micro- and nanotechnologies, security technologies, geospatial technologies, and applied research on technician education that informs all supported areas. The ATE program is interested in projects addressing issues in rural technician education and projects that broaden the diversity of the entry-level technical workforce including strategies to recruit veterans into technician education programs.

Activities may have either a national or a regional focus, but not a purely local one as results and outcomes should be applicable to a broad community. Projects must, however, have an institutional impact and make a case that graduates with these skills will have a measurable impact on the local workforce. All projects must be guided by a coherent vision of technological education--a vision that recognizes technicians as life-long learners together with the needs of the modern workplace, including employability skills, and the articulation of educational programs at different levels.

The ATE program supports projects, centers, and targeted research on technician education. A project or center is expected to communicate a realistic vision and an achievable plan for sustainability. It is expected that at least some aspects of both centers and projects will be sustained or institutionalized past the period of award funding. Being sustainable means that a project or center has developed a product or service that the host institution, its partners, and its target audiences want continued. To be sustainable is to ensure a center's or project's products and services have a life beyond ATE funding. For example:
- The institution commits to maintaining some of the positions for faculty/personnel hired by the project;
- Partners pledge to supply external resources to fund parts of the project after the NSF award ends;
- The institution commits to continuing to maintain, improve and disseminate resources developed by the project; and/or
- The institution seeks other sources of funding as ATE funding ends.

Program Tracks:

The ATE program supports proposals in four major tracks: Projects, Small Projects New to ATE, Centers, and Targeted Research on Technician Education.

Proposals in all tracks should demonstrate a thorough awareness of previous relevant ATE grants, research on effective technician education, and contemporary developments in the relevant field(s) of technology. Whenever feasible, projects should utilize and innovatively build upon successful educational materials, courses, curricula, strategies, and methods that have been developed through other ATE grants, as well as other exemplary resources (including those not supported by NSF) that can be adapted to technological education. Proposers should contact the Principal Investigators (PIs) of previously funded projects and centers to explore the possibilities for adapting materials, evaluating materials, receiving guidance, or collaborating in other ways, such as conducting research projects that focus on the effectiveness of technician education.

1. ATE Projects: ATE Projects focus on one or a few of the focus areas described below. Multifaceted projects that cut across some of these areas are encouraged.
- Program Development and Improvement
- Curriculum and Educational Materials Development
- Professional Development for Educators
- Leadership Capacity Building for Faculty
- Teacher Preparation:
- Business and Entrepreneurial Skills Development for Students
- ATE Coordination Networks
- Adaptation and Implementation (A&I)
- Instrumentation Acquisition

2. Small Grants for Institutions New to the ATE Program:
This track seeks to increase the incentives and opportunities for community colleges that have little or no previous experience with the ATE program to undertake projects to improve science and engineering technician education programs or teacher preparation programs that focus on technological education. This small grants opportunity is designed to stimulate implementation, adaptation, and innovation in all areas supported by the ATE program and to broaden the base of community colleges participating in the program. Proposers are strongly encouraged to utilize resources developed by other ATE or NSF awardees and to consult with people from these projects and centers. Prospective PIs are encouraged to provide sufficient detail on what is being proposed to clearly inform both reviewers and NSF staff.

It is expected that some of the funded projects in this category will serve as a prototype or pilot for an idea that may be expanded in a future proposal for an ATE project. The ATE program is particularly interested in projects addressing issues in rural technician education.

Only community college campuses that have not had an ATE award within the past 7 years may be the "performing organization" on a proposal in this category. It is acceptable for a system administrative office or other governing organization to submit the proposal and be the "awardee organization," even if that organization has received a previous ATE award. But the campus that is the "performing organization" must not have been the performing organization on an ATE award within the past 7 years and must be geographically distinct and have its own chief academic officer. (Note: community colleges that have had an ATE award within the past 7 years and other institutions may still submit a proposal for a small project under the other categories of ATE Project grants.)

3. ATE Centers:
The ATE program recognizes the need to develop an integrated approach to technician education that will define and disseminate the critical knowledge and skills required to support the advanced technology industries in the US. To facilitate this integrated approach, the ATE program will support up to ten centers. A center may be supported in the following areas: Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Agricultural Technologies, Biotechnology, Energy Technologies, Environmental Technologies, Engineering Technologies, Information Technologies, Security Technologies, and Micro- and Nano-Technologies. Proposals may be considered for an emerging advanced technology field that is not included in the previous list, if that field has a high potential for career opportunities for two-year IHE graduates.

4. Targeted Research on Technician Education:
The goals of this track are: 1) to simulate and support applied research on technician education in established and emerging advanced technology fields in STEM, and 2) to build the partnership capacity between 2-year and 4-year IHEs with industry input to design and conduct research and development projects. The ATE research track seeks applied research projects that investigate issues related to the education and workforce development of the skilled technical workforce in STEM fields. The program supports a broad range of research methodologies, which are guided by research questions addressing current and emerging issues and gaps in the knowledge 8 base in technician education and STEM workforce development. Proposals are particularly encouraged that address immediate challenges and opportunities facing the development of high quality technicians for the nation's established and emerging STEM workforce, as well as those that anticipate new structures (e.g., new methods for certification or credentialing recognized by industry; program and course re-conception; long-standing or emerging issues, such as recruitment, retention and attainment of degrees and credentials; and emerging careers and pathways and the need for new or adapted resources for attaining required knowledge and skills). Exemplary efforts include strong partnerships among faculty at two-year IHEs, industry, and 4-year IHE researchers and focus on issues that concern practitioners and stakeholders. Results and findings from ATE research projects, in turn, contribute to NSF's and the Education and Human Resources Directorate's efforts that focus attention on STEM workforce development and emerging STEM fields, and increasing participation and persistence in STEM, especially by members of underrepresented and under-served groups.

Projects must clearly demonstrate that two-year IHEs have leadership roles. All projects must include a literature review that establishes the basis for the proposed study; a clear description of the alignment of research questions with methodologies; and be informed by the Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development ( ods_key=nsf13126).

5. Conference and Meetings:
The ATE program supports a small number of conferences, meetings, and special projects that lead to a better understanding of issues in advanced technological education. These efforts must be related to the mission of the ATE program. Please refer to the guidelines for more information.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174409

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Estimated number of awards: 45 to 75

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Approximately 25-30 new awards, ranging from $75,000 to $200,000 per year and having a duration of up to three years (maximum budget not to exceed $600,000, including ATE-CN).
- Adaptation and Implementation: approximately 10-15 awards each totaling $300,000 to $400,000 typically spread over two to three years.
- Instrumentation Acquisition: approximately four awards each totaling $400,000 to $500,000 typically spread over two to three years.

Small Projects:
- For institutions new to the ATE program: approximately 12-20 awards for up to $300,000 (each) typically spread over three years. It is expected that the budget request will match the scope of the project.

- Funding will be $7.5 million spread over five years, with the possibility of a competitive renewal for $7.5 million over an additional five years. It is expected that 1-3 awards may be made each year.
- Resource centers: funding will be $1.65 million spread over three years with the possibility of a competitive renewal for an additional three years. It is expected that one to two awards may be made each year.
- Planning Grants for Centers: one to two new awards for up to $70,000 (each) to develop well-formulated plans for a future center (see Section V.A ["Proposal Preparation"] for additional information).

Targeted Research on Technician Education Track:
- Planning and Pilot study: $150,000 total with a duration up to 2 years
- Exploratory Research and Development: $300,000 total with a duration up to 2 years.
- Full Scale Research and Development: $800,000 total with a duration up to 3 years.

Conferences and Meetings: The cost will normally not exceed a total of $250,000.

Term of Contract:

Funding periods range from up to two years to five years, depending on award type.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The ATE program encourages proposals from Minority Serving Institutions and other institutions that support the recruitment, retention, and completion (certificate, degree, program) of students underrepresented in STEM in technician education programs that award associate degrees. NSF is particularly interested in proposals from all types of Minority Serving Institutions (including Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions) where the proportion of underrepresented students interested in advanced technology careers is growing.

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.

Scientists, engineers, and educators usually initiate proposals that are officially submitted by their employing organization. Before formal submission, the proposal may be discussed with appropriate NSF program staff. Graduate students are not encouraged to submit research proposals, but should arrange to serve as research assistants to faculty members. Some NSF divisions accept proposals for Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants when submitted by a faculty member on behalf of the graduate student.

Categories of Proposers:

Except where a program solicitation establishes more restrictive eligibility criteria, individuals and organizations in the following categories may submit proposals:
1. Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs): Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. IHEs located outside the US fall under paragraph 6. below.

Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs

If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.

2. Nonprofit, Non-academic Organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the US that are directly associated with educational or research activities.

3. For-profit Organizations: US commercial organizations, especially small businesses with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education. An unsolicited proposal from a commercial organization may be funded when the project is of special concern from a national point of view, special resources are available for the work, or the proposed project is especially meritorious. NSF is interested in supporting projects that couple industrial research resources and perspectives with those of universities; therefore, it especially welcomes proposals for cooperative projects involving both universities and the private commercial sector.

4. State and Local Governments: State educational offices or organizations and local school districts may submit proposals intended to broaden the impact, accelerate the pace, and increase the effectiveness of improvements in science, mathematics and engineering education in both K-12 and postsecondary levels.

5. Unaffiliated Individuals: Unaffiliated individuals in the US and US citizens rarely receive direct funding support from NSF. Recipients of Federal funds must be able to demonstrate their ability to fully comply with the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. As such, unaffiliated individuals are strongly encouraged to affiliate with an organization that is able to meet the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200. Unaffiliated individuals must contact the cognizant Program Officer prior to preparing and submitting a proposal to NSF.

6. Foreign Organizations: NSF rarely provides funding support to foreign organizations. NSF will consider proposals for cooperative projects involving US and foreign organizations, provided support is requested only for the US portion of the collaborative effort. In cases however, where the proposer considers the foreign organization’s involvement to be essential to the project (e.g., through subawards or consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain why local support is not feasible and why the foreign organization can carry out the activity more effectively. In addition, the proposed activity must demonstrate how one or more of the following conditions have been met:
- The foreign organization contributes a unique organization, facilities, geographic location and/or access to unique data resources not generally available to US investigators (or which would require significant effort or time to duplicate) or other resources that are essential to the success of the proposed project; and/or
- The foreign organization to be supported offers significant science and engineering education, training or research opportunities to the US.

7. 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. A proposed project is only eligible for support if it meets one or more of the following exceptions, as determined by a cognizant NSF Program Officer:
- Special Projects. Under exceptional circumstances, research or education projects at other Federal agencies or FFRDCs that can make unique contributions to the needs of researchers elsewhere or to other specific NSF objectives may receive NSF support.
- National and International Programs. The Foundation may fund research and logistical support activities of other Government agencies or FFRDCs directed at meeting the goals of special national and international research programs for which the Foundation bears special responsibility, such as the US Antarctic Research Program.
- International Travel Awards. In order to ensure appropriate representation or availability of a particular expertise at an international conference, staff researchers of other Federal agencies may receive NSF international travel awards.

Proposers who think their project may meet one of the exceptions listed above must contact a cognizant NSF Program Officer before preparing a proposal for submission. In addition, a scientist, engineer or educator who has a joint appointment with a university and a Federal agency (such as a Veterans Administration Hospital, or with a university and a FFRDC) may submit proposals through the university and may receive support if he/she is a faculty member (or equivalent) of the university, although part of his/her salary may be provided by the Federal agency. Preliminary inquiry must be made to the appropriate program before preparing a proposal for submission.

The ATE program does not support projects that focus on students who will become health, veterinary, or medical technicians.

Pre-Application Information:

Full Proposal Deadline Date: October 15, 2018.

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):
- October 15, 2018
- October 03, 2019
- October 01, 2020

Groups of institutions contemplating a proposal for a center should make early contact with one of the ATE Lead Program Directors to discuss their ideas.

Investigators who are interested in conducting a targeted research project are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans with a program officer prior to submission.

Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via or via the NSF FastLane system.

Full proposals submitted via FastLane: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: Paper copies of the PAPPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse via telephone or email. Proposers are reminded to identify this program solicitation number in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

For Proposals Submitted Via FastLane:
To prepare and submit a proposal via FastLane, see detailed technical instructions available at: For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

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: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via The complete text of the NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website. To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application Forms Package, click on the Apply tab on the site, then click on the Apply Step 1: Download a Grant Application Package and Application Instructions link and enter the funding opportunity number, (the program solicitation number without the NSF prefix) and press the Download Package button. Paper copies of the Application Guide also may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse.

For Proposals Submitted Via
Before using for the first time, each organization must register to create an institutional profile. Once registered, the applicant's organization can then apply for any federal grant on the website. Comprehensive information about using is available on the Applicant Resources web page: In addition, the NSF Application Guide (see link in Section V.A) provides instructions regarding the technical preparation of proposals via For user support, contact the Contact Center. The Contact Center answers general technical questions related to the use of Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this solicitation.

Submitting the Proposal: Once all documents have been completed, the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must submit the application to and verify the desired funding opportunity and agency to which the application is submitted. The AOR must then sign and submit the application to The completed application will be transferred to the NSF FastLane system for further processing.

Proposers that submitted via FastLane are strongly encouraged to use FastLane to verify the status of their submission to NSF. For proposers that submitted via, until an application has been received and validated by NSF, the Authorized Organizational Representative may check the status of an application on After proposers have received an e-mail notification from NSF, should be used to check the status of an application.

For ATE Center Proposals Only:
The staggered submission dates for specific areas of technology (below) reflect the current set of active ATE National and Regional Center awards.
October 2018 (for funding in 2019)
- Environmental Technologies
- New Emerging Area of Technology
- Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
- Biotechnology

October 2019 (for funding in 2020)
- Micro- and Nano-Technologies
- Agricultural Technologies

October 2020 (for funding in 2021)
- Engineering Technologies
- Security Technologies

October 2021 (for funding in 2022)
- Energy Technologies
- Information Technologies

ATE Center proposals submitted outside the specified deadlines and topical areas above will be returned without review

Attention: Proposers using the Collaborators and Other Affiliations template for more than 10 senior project personnel will encounter proposal print preview issues. Please see the Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information website for updated guidance.

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 18-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

Funding Opportunities Listing:

Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Documents:

ATE Program Solicitation:

Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information: Grant Information Page:

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), January 2018:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online application through FastLane:

Online application through

V. Celeste Carter
(703) 292-4651

Heather Watson
(703) 292-7091

For questions about specific areas of technology or disciplines proposers are encouraged to contact a Program Officer from the list below.

- Celeste Carter, telephone: (703) 292-4651, email:
- Rupa Iyer, telephone: (703) 292-4639, e-mail:
- Pushpa Ramakrishna, telephone: (703) 292-2943, e-mail:

- Heather Watson, telephone: (703) 292-7091, e-mail:

- Connie Della-Piana, telephone: (703)292-5309, email:

Geographic Information Systems/Geosciences
Information technology/Computer Science
- Stephanie August, telephone: 703-292-5128, e-mail:

Information technology/Cybersecurity
- Corby Hovis, telephone: (703)292-4625, email:

New to ATE track
- Liz Teles (Mathematics), telephone: (703)292-7197, email:

For system-related questions, please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188 or Policy-related questions regarding the content of the COA template should be directed to Contact Center

NSF Publications Clearinghouse:
(703) 292-7827

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming