NSF Awards $39 Million To Boost University Preparation Of Underrepresented Groups For STEM Careers | #education | #technology | #training

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding a total of $39 million to establish four new university-based alliances focused on the preparation and inclusion of individuals from historically underrepresented groups for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The new grants are part of NSF INCLUDES, which is a comprehensive, national effort to enhance U.S. leadership in scientific discovery and innovation by ensuring greater accessibility and inclusivity in STEM fields.

“NSF INCLUDES develops networks that are the key to building and sustaining the kind of systemic change that is needed to move the needle on inclusivity in STEM in a substantial way,” said Sylvia M. Butterfield, acting assistant director of NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources. “The latest NSF INCLUDES Alliances will create opportunities for a new generation of STEM talent and leadership.”

Each of the four 2022 NSF INCLUDES awardees will receive almost $10 million over five years to tackle a range of issues involved in building STEM capacity and diversifying the STEM workforce.

Clark Atlanta University is leading the NSF INCLUDES National Data Science Alliance, which aims to increase the number of Black people who earn data science credentials, such as undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate minors, certificates, and degrees. On average, Blacks comprise only about 3% of all data science professionals, an indication of the need for a scalable program that can address this issue.

The NDSA will form a network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that will collaborate with industry, government, and academic partners to increase the number of Black data science professionals. It will involve three HBCUs, organized into regional hubs: Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University and Howard University.

The NSF INCLUDES Alliance Supporting Pacific Impact through Computational Excellence will enhance data science education in the interests of sustainability, economic development, and social justice in the Hawai’i-Pacific region, with a focus on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders..

It will be led by Chaminade University of Honolulu with partners at the University of Texas Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center, and the University of Hawai’i. This alliance will adapt data science online curricula in order to reach rural areas. It will also increase faculty research capacity in data science, develop undergraduate data science research experiences, create new Pacific-focused data science courses and curate a “Wayfinding to Data” portfolio of data science training opportunities for marginalized populations in K-20 education.

The NSF INCLUDES Re-Imagining STEM Equity Utilizing Postdoctoral Pathways Alliance aims to increase the number of minority STEM faculty by strengthening postdoctoral preparation. It will focus on four interventions: 1) facilitating formal assessments of the diversity efforts of departments, institutions, and systems in order to promote more inclusive policies and practices; 2) creating pathways that facilitate recruitment and conversion of postdocs into tenure-track faculty positions; 3) developing more minority postdoctoral scholars; and 4) supporting mentors of minority postdocs and junior faculty.

This alliance will leverage the efforts of two state university systems that have successfully diversified faculty by coordinating postdoctoral recruitment, training, and transition into faculty positions – the University System of Maryland’s NSF AGEP PROMISE Academy Alliance and the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

These two systems will provide support to three additional state university systems that will adapt these models as Scaling Partners: the University of Texas System, the Texas A&M University System, and the University of North Carolina System.

Finally, the University of Montana will be the lead institution for the NSF INCLUDES Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education and STEM Alliance. It will work to increase the representation of American Indian and Alaska Native students in STEM disciplines and the workforce of six EPSCoR states (Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming) through STEM instruction, mentoring, investments, and pathways at the K-12 educational level.

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