New solicitation for NSF STEM-C: Emphasis on K-12 and Integration with Other STEM Disciplines
The new NSF STEM-C solicitation is out: See http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15537/nsf15537.htm.
The introduction to the new solicitation is visionary and speaks of the power of computing in STEM and for all students. Here’s just the first paragraph:
The STEM + Computing (STEM+C) Partnerships program seeks to advance a 21st century conceptualization of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that includes computing. The “+ Computing” notation emphasizes that computing is integral to the practice of all the other STEM disciplines. In this solicitation, computing refers to the whole set of fundamental concepts and skills that will allow students to creatively apply and adapt computation across a range of application domains, to “bend digital technology to one’s needs, purposes, and will.”
The focus of this solicitation is primarily on integration of computing with other STEM education disciplines, and secondarily, on computing education in K-12 (including teachers). The prioritization is pretty clear from the budget limits:
The maximum total budget for Track 1: Integration of Computing in STEM Education awards is $2.5 million for Design and Development awards, $1.25 million for Exploratory Integration awards, and $250,000 for Field-Building Conferences and Workshops. The maximum total budget for Track 2: Computing Education Knowledge and Capacity Building awards is $600,000 for Research on Education and Broadening Participation awards and $1.0 million for CS 10K awards.
You can get up to $1.25M USD to explore integration of computing in STEM ($2.5M to design and develop), but at most $1M to put computing into schools and at most $600K to do research on computing education and broadening participation. We might argue about the ratios, but in the end, both tracks and all the types of proposals have enough funding to do important work that needs to happen.