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Building Bridges and Getting Over Them: Broadening Participation in the SBE Sciences National Science Foundation Workshop September 29,30 2004 NSF Centers CREST, ERC, SLC and STC Soo-Siang Lim, Ph.D Program Director, SLC Program. Overview of NSF Centers.

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Building Bridges and Getting Over Them:Broadening Participation in the SBE SciencesNational Science Foundation WorkshopSeptember 29,30 2004NSF Centers CREST, ERC, SLC and STCSoo-Siang Lim, Ph.DProgram Director, SLC Program

overview of nsf centers
Overview of NSF Centers
  • NSF supports a variety of individual centers programs that contribute to NSF’s investment in people,ideas, and tools.
  • The centers play a key role in furthering the advancement of science and engineering in the U.S., particularly through their encouragement of interdisciplinary research, and the integration of research and education.

NSF Centers

common commitment
Common Commitment
  • Centers generally share a common commitment in four areas:
    • A long-term, large scale, and coordinated research effort

(2) A team-based, cross-disciplinary research and education culture to train the Nation’s next generation of scientists and engineers

(3) Diversity of participants at all levels

(4) Developing partnerships with industry and education that help to ensure that research is relevant to national needs

NSF Centers

commitment to diversity
Commitment to Diversity
  • Implement student and faculty diversity as integral component of Center activities. Some features:
    • Strategies for recruitment, mentoring, retention and graduation of minority students, and coordination across schools/departments

(2) Collaborations with students and faculty who are members of underrepresented groups; actively seeking participation from minority–serving institutions and community colleges

    • Outreach activities to minority –serving institutions and development of new approaches (e.g. via IT) to engage members of underrepresented groups.
    • Financial support and reward systems: for graduate study, for faculty engagement in diversity activities
    • Comprehensive student development strategies, including oral and written communication skills

NSF Centers

nsf center program types
NSF Center Program Types
  • Some NSF programs support centers from a variety of science and engineering disciplines:
    • e.g., CRESTs, ERCs, SLCs, STCs
  • Some NSF programs support centers from specific disciplines of science and engineering:
    • e.g., MRSECs, Chemistry Centers, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Physics Frontiers Centers, Mathematical Science Research Institutes, Plant Genome Virtual Centers, LTERs, Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, ITR Centers, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers, Children’s Research Initiative Centers

NSF Centers

centers of research excellence in science and technology crest
Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST)


  • to enhance the research capabilities and education activitiesat the most productive minority serving institutions
  • to produce new knowledge
  • to enhance the national research competitiveness

of individual faculty

  • to promote organizational connections and linkages

between CREST institutions and outstanding research and development organizations

  • to foster integration of research and education at CREST institutions
  • to increase participation in STEM disciplines by a diverse student population

Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology

crest award types
CREST Award Types:
  • Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII)

Provide funding to institutions able to demonstrate the existence of a strong research and education base and a compelling vision for research infrastructure improvement. Awards of up to 1 million per year for up to five years.

  • Supplements to RII projects

Support the establishment and/or enhancement of one or more collaborations with nationally recognized research centers in areas of mutual research interest. Awards of up to $100,000 or 50% or total NSF support (whichever is less).

  • CREST Co-funding

Support proposals submitted to NSF’s regular research programs by CREST-eligible institutions that substantially enhance research at one or more CREST RII awardee sites. Awards of up to $100,000 or 50% or total NSF support (whichever is less).

Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology


Institutions eligible for a CREST RII award shall have:

  • Enrollments of 50% or more members of minority groups
  • Graduate programs in NSF-supported fields of science or engineering
  • Demonstrated strengths in NSF-supported fields
  • A willingness and capacity to serve as a resource center
  • Strong collaborations in the proposed field of research

Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology

engineering research centers program
Engineering Research Centers Program

Guiding Goals:

  • Educate a globally competitive engineering workforce in an integrated, interdisciplinary research environment where academe and industry join in partnership to advance fundamental engineering knowledge and engineered systems
  • Awards: 3-4M/year for five years, renewable for an additional five years.

Engineering Research Centers

key features
Key Features:
  • Long-term, strategic vision for an engineered system
  • Cross-disciplinary research program to integrate fundamental and enabling technology research
  • Education program to team undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines and integrate research findings into curricular materials for students and practitioners;
  • Outreach in research and education to motivate students to study engineering
  • Partnership with industry and other practitioners to speed technology transfer
  • Strong leadership and a cohesive, interdisciplinary team that is diverse in gender, race, and ethnicity
  • Infrastructure of space, equipment, and facilities;
  • Substantial financial and other commitments from the academic, industrial, and other partners to support and sustain the ERC

Engineering Research Centers

science of learning centers program
Science of Learning Centers Program

The science of learning integrates a broad range of research traditions…

biological foundations, neural basis of learning, motivation, emotional and social contexts, reasoning, causal analysis, assessment, learning of disciplinary content, learning technologies, machine learning, equitable access, visualization and representation, language and communication...

Science of Learning Centers

the goals of the slc program are
The goals of the SLC programare:
  • to advance the frontiers

of all the sciences of learning through integrated research

  • to connect this research

to specific scientific, technological, educational, and workforce challenges

  • to enable research communities

that can capitalize on new opportunities and discoveries and respond to new challenges

Science of Learning Centers

key features1
Key Features:
  • vision and strategic plan
  • Integrated, multidisciplinary research program
  • Diverse teams at all levels
  • Appropriate partnerships involving significant exchanges of people and ideas
  • Mechanisms to share resources and disseminate ideas
  • Educational, research, and career development opportunities
  • Strong project leadership combined with external expertise and interests

Science of Learning Centers

award types
Award Types:
  • Centers

Full-scale, long term support similar in format to ERCs and STCs. Serve as national resources. Awards of up to 3-5 million per year for 5 years, renewable for up to 10 years total.

  • Catalysts

To support limited-duration, research and partnership-building activities that facilitate multidisciplinary approaches to questions that require multiple areas of expertise. Networking opportunities. Awards of up to total of $200,000 for 2 years.

Science of Learning Centers

science and technology centers stc
Science and Technology Centers (STC)
  • Enable innovative research and education projects that promise to contribute to the Nation’s future through discovery and learning
  • Conduct world-class research through partnerships of academic institutions with national laboratories, industry and/or other public/private organizations
  • Pursue those opportunities in science, engineering, and technology where complexity of the research agenda requires the duration, scope, scale, flexibility, and facilities that center support can provide
  • Awards: 3-5 million/year for five years, renewable to 10 years total

Science and Technology Centers

science and technology centers
Science and Technology Centers
  • Goals:
    • Conduct world-class science
    • Promote discovery in service to society
    • Pursue excellence in science, math, and engineering education
    • Create meaningful knowledge
  • Core strategies:
    • Strengthen physical infrastructure
    • Integrate research and education
    • Promote partnerships
    • Develop intellectual capital
    • Capitalize on diversity
    • Build intellectual infrastructure within and between disciplines

Science and Technology Centers