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Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, IHEs, Agencies,
and Individuals to Improve PreK-12 STEM Education

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline Date:

11/14/18 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time


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Grants to USA nonprofits, for-profits, IHEs, government agencies, and individuals for research to enhance the quality of preK-12 STEM education. Projects should build upon fundamental research in STEM education and existing research and development. All research proposals must have a theoretical and empirical justification.

Projects should result in research-informed and field-tested outcomes and products that inform teaching and learning. Teachers and students who participate in DRK-12 studies are expected to enhance their understanding and use of STEM content, practices, and skills.

DRK-12 invites proposals that address immediate challenges that are facing preK-12 STEM education as well as those that anticipate radically different structures and functions of preK-12 teaching and learning.

The DRK-12 program has three major research and development strands: (1) Assessment; (2) Learning; and (3) Teaching. The program recognizes the synergy among the three strands and that there is some overlap among them. However, PIs should identify a clear focus of the proposed research efforts (i.e., assessment, learning, or teaching) consistent with the proposal’s main objectives and research questions.

The program supports six types of projects: (1) Exploratory, (2) Design and Development, (3) Impact, (4) Implementation and Improvement, (5) Syntheses, and (6) Conferences. All six types of projects apply to each of the three DRK-12 program strands.

DRK-12 Resource Center Proposal

The DRK-12 program intends to fund one Resource Center to provide technical support for all DRK-12 projects, to organize meetings and topical webinars, to facilitate national dissemination of project outcomes, and to further develop the expertise in the preK-12 STEM education research and development community to enhance the learning and teaching of preK-12 STEM. The Resource Center should engage the multiple communities that both carry out the STEM education research funded in the DRK-12 program and that benefit from products and outcomes of DRK-12 projects.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177489

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

20 to 31 ( 8-13 Level I awards, 5-8 Level II awards, 1-4 Level III awards, and 5 Conference/Synthesis awards, and one resource center will be supported)

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Level I Projects: Up to $450,000
-Level II Projects: Up to $3,000,000
-Level III: Up to $5,000,000
- Synthesis proposals: Up to $300,000
- Conference proposals: Up to $100,000
- DRK-12 Resource Center project: not to exceed $3,500,00.

Term of Contract:

- Level I projects have a duration of up to 3 years.
- Level II projects have a duration of up to 4 years.
- Level III projects have a duration of up to 5 years.
- Synthesis proposals are two years duration.
- Conference proposals are one year duration.
- The DRK-12 Resource Center project will be supported for 3 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter I, Section E.

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

1) Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions. Academic institutions located outside the US fall under paragraph 6. below.

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 post-secondary 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 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.

7) Other Federal agencies - NSF does not normally support research or education activities by scientists, engineers or educators employed by Federal agencies or Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (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.

DRK -12 generally does not fund equipment that is normally found in schools, universities, and research and development organizations, such as computers. Requests for equipment must be accompanied by justification for its importance to the operation of the project.

DRK -12 does not provide scholarships for undergraduate, pre-service, or other students.

Pre-Application Information:

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

- November 14, 2017
- November 14, 2018
- Second Wednesday in November, Annually Thereafter

Proposals may be submitted via or NSF FastLane.

To prepare and submit a proposal via FastLane, see detailed technical instructions available at:

View this opportunity on

Program page:

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide:

Contact Information:

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

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:


Arlene de Strulle, STEM+C, telephone: (703) 292-5117, email:

Julia V. Clark, telephone: (703) 292-5119, email:

Catherine Eberbach, telephone: (703) 292-4960, email:

Michael Ford, telephone: (703) 292-5153, email:

David L. Haury, telephone: (703) 292-8614, email:

Margret Hjalmarson, telephone: (703) 292-4313, email:

Karen King, telephone: (703) 292-5124, email:

Rebecca Kruse, telephone: (703) 292-4211, email:

Julio E. Lopez-Ferrao, telephone: (703) 292-5183, email:

Robert Ochsendorf, telephone: (703) 292-2760, email:

Joseph Reed, telephone: (703) 292-5187, email:

Ferdinand D. Rivera, telephone: (703) 292-8620, email:

Robert Ronau, telephone: (703) 292-5089, email:

Monya A. Ruffin, telephone: (703) 292-4635, email:

Robert Russell, telephone: (703) 292-2995, email:

Joan M. Walker, telephone: (703) 292-7016, email:

David B. Campbell, telephone: (703) 292-5093, email:

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