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forwarded message from Guenter Riegler
Riegler, Guenter 12-AUG-1994 09:54:10.81
Subj: Announcement-Education Grants
I am forwarding the 1994 call for proposals for the "IDEA" education program,
headed by Cheri Morrow.
Please circulate this text to your advisory or user groups, guest
investigators, and any other potentially interested U.S. scientists.
INITIATIVE to DEVELOP EDUCATION through ASTRONOMY
IDEA Research Grants
Proposals Due: 30-September-1994
The Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy (IDEA) research grants
program is very similar in spirit and content to the former Astrophysics Grant
Supplements for Education (AGSE) program developed by the NASA Astrophysics
Division. There are three major differences and a sufficient number of detailed
changes to warrant a careful reading of this announcement before proceeding to
write proposals. Please pay special attention to the new list of Evaluation
Criteria and to the Budget Guidelines. The three MAJOR differences between the
AGSE and IDEA grants programs are summarized below.
First, the IDEA grants program will be implemented by the Space Telescope
Science Institute, AURA, Inc., which is acting as an agent for NASA. Oversight
of program content and proposal review remains with the Astrophysics Division
of NASA Headquarters. PROPOSALS MAY BE RELATED TO ANY AREA OF SPACE ASTRONOMY
RESEARCH, not just areas associated with the Hubble Space Telescope.
Second, the program is open to ALL professionals in astronomy, not just those
funded by the NASA Astrophysics Division. However, preference will be given to
proposals that include active roles for astronomers who are supported by NASA.
Third, there are now two funding categories -- Small grants which are less than
or equal to $6,000 (the level at which most proposals will be funded), and
Mid-size grants which are between $6,001 and $20,000.
The field of astronomy is of widespread interest to the general public.
Children, in particular, seem to have an innate fascination with the subject.
The broad appeal of astronomy places a special obligation on publicly funded
astronomers to use their expertise to enhance education at all levels.
The purpose of the IDEA program is to encourage the participation of research
astronomers, particularly those funded by NASA, in experimenting with projects
that take advantage of their special talents and the excitement of astronomy to
promote greater mathematical, technological, and scientific literacy.
IDEA grants are a program of NASA's Astrophysics Division, implemented by the
Space Telescope Science Institute. To apply for an IDEA grant you must be
professional in astronomy. Strong preference will be given to proposals that
include the active participation of NASA-supported investigators. Astronomers
at ANY institution, including NASA field centers and industry are eligible for
The following guidelines apply to all IDEA projects:
Emphasis on Collaboration:
Preference will be given to proposals that include partners in the professional
education community as co-creators, participants and evaluators. You are urged
to contact teachers or education specialists in K-12 school districts, Schools
of Education at Colleges and Universities, community colleges, science museums,
planetariums, aerospace or telecommunications industries, publishing companies,
educational radio or television, or professional organizations devoted to
science and/or to education (a list of national astronomy/science education
groups is available upon request).
Proposers from the astronomy community at Universities and Colleges are
strongly encouraged to collaborate with Schools or Colleges of Education to
engage science education faculty, graduate students in science education, and
undergraduate teachers in training in the proposed education activity. If your
institution is involved in a NASA Space Grant Consortium, they should at least
be aware of your activities, if not involved directly.
IDEA grants are intended to promote math, science, and astronomy education
among non-specialists. It is therefore expected that most grants will target
K-12 teachers and students or public audiences. However, some consideration
will be given to innovative proposals to enhance or improve introductory
college courses in astronomy or math/science literacy. In particular, proposals
targeting undergraduate or graduate students training for careers in K-12
education are permitted and encouraged.
Researcher Involvement / Links to Research:
IDEA grant PIs are expected to be active participants in the proposed
educational endeavor. All projects must have an astronomy focus, and be related
to NASA space astronomy in particular. Innovative projects are especially
welcome, particularly ones that place astronomy in an interdisciplinary or
multi-cultural context, including efforts that reach beyond the physical
sciences to include the arts, social sciences, history, mathematics, and other
Links to Active Learning and Education Reform:
A large body of educational research has demonstrated that passive education is
relatively ineffective. "Tell me, I forget; Show me, I remember; Involve me, I
understand." Preference will be given to IDEA projects that contain meaningful
hands-on components related to space astronomy research, and that are centered
on the concept of teacher/student as scientist, explorer and discoverer.
Projects that involve development of written or audio-visual products should
ensure that these products are accompanied by suggested active-learning
activities. Such activities should be co-developed with and tested by teachers
or otherwise appropriate representatives of the intended audience to ensure
their value and suitability to modern science curricula (see IMPORTANT NOTE
If your proposed educational activity involves teacher training or enhancement,
you are encouraged to include teachers who are involved in science education
reform and/or who have the ability and interest to share with other teachers
what they experience and produce in association with your project. National
organizations devoted to science education can help to identify such teachers
in your area.
IDEA proposers and grantees are encouraged to take advantage of the increasing
number of training opportunities for research astronomers interested in
***IMPORTANT NOTE--PLEASE READ***
Educational Activity vs. Educational Products
NASA legal policies prohibit offering a grant (instead of a contract) for the
sole purpose of generating a potentially marketable end-product such as a
video, slide set, or computer software. Experimenting with educational ACTIVITY
must be the emphasis of your proposal. Your project may involve the development
of an educational product, but this product must be used and assessed in the
proposed educational activity. Thus, grants can be awarded for educational
activity that might incorporate the use and assessment of a developed
Multiplier Effects and Dissemination:
Each IDEA project should have the potential for multiplying its impact beyond
its direct effect. This is most likely achieved through partnerships with the
professional communities in education, communication and/or dissemination.
For example, you might work with teachers who reach out to their students or to
other teachers. Or you might work directly with a science museum director or a
producer of educational television on a project that will touch teachers and
the general public. Another possibility is to collaborate with experienced
disseminators who can more broadly distribute a high-quality, teacher-tested
educational product created by your project efforts. Telecommunications
technologies offer a good means to propagate your efforts, but bear in mind
that many classroom teachers do not yet have access to the Internet.
Sharing the methods and evaluation (see section below) of your educational
efforts directly with professional colleagues is also strongly encouraged.
All IDEA proposals must have a clearly described plan for evaluating the
effectiveness of the proposed project. It is recognized that a thorough
evaluation can be a time-consuming professional process. For the purposes of
IDEA grants, you are being asked only for a simple analysis of your
experimental efforts in education. To do this, your proposal must articulate
testable goals and the methods you will use to determine whether you succeed in
achieving them (e.g. giving pre- and post tests of science knowledge,
collecting questionnaires from participants, keeping track of contact hours
with teachers and classroom hours spent on astronomy as a result of your
All projects must report to NASA their successes and failures via a final
report (see later section for the desired format of this report). NASA will
make these reports available to other research astronomers who are looking for
ways to begin exploring their roles in educational outreach.
PROPOSAL EVALUATION CRITERIA
Consistent with these project guidelines all IDEA grant proposals will be
assessed according to the following list of evaluation criteria. All of these
factors (a-f) are important and will be considered in the evaluation of each
a) Evidence of the existence of mutually beneficial partnerships between
research astronomers and professionals in education for the purpose of
promoting math and science literacy using the context of astronomy.
b) Contribution to the education and training of members of groups who are
currently underrepresented in the physical sciences and mathematics.
c) Relationship to NASA's astronomy research, appropriate leveraging of the
existing infrastructures in research and education, and where appropriate,
coordination with other NASA-sponsored educational activities.
d) Evidence that the investigator team is familiar with science education
reform and effective techniques in science education.
e) Feasibility of plans for dissemination or other multiplier effects intended
to maximize the impact of the project or its adoption by others.
f) Potential educational effectiveness as demonstrated by an appropriate plan
for assessing of the value to the intended audience, and by the involvement of
educators at the targeted educational level in development and implementation.
IDEAS FOR POSSIBLE PROJECT AREAS
Subject to the above guidelines and evaluation criteria, any innovative
proposal will be considered. The following areas are of particular interest,
but you should not feel confined by these. A directory of information about
projects that were supported by 1992 grant awards is available upon request.
1) Astronomy workshops for school teachers and/or teachers in training.
Workshops should help teachers to learn how they can incorporate astronomy into
their regular classroom curricula. Workshops for teachers at any grade level
can be funded, but some preference will be given to workshops for elementary
school teachers that involve the development of age-appropriate classroom
activities. If possible, workshops should offer college credit.
2) Innovative projects for bringing the excitement of astronomy to women and
underrepresented cultural groups.
Innovative ideas for using astronomy to excite scientific interest among women
and underrepresented cultural groups are especially encouraged. Projects might
include activities that bring students and their teachers in for special
"astronomy days" (or nights), or activities that send astronomers (including
post-docs, graduate or undergraduate students studying astronomy) out to
schools with large "minority" enrollments. Multi-cultural and nontraditional
(e.g. wilderness experiences) approaches to astronomy are also encouraged.
3) Use of interactive, educational software involving space astronomy data.
Astronomical science relies heavily on computers for the storage, transfer and
analysis of astrophysical data. Projects are sought that can translate modern
astrophysical data into interactive electronic formats that are useful and
accessible to teachers of astronomy at all levels. It is expected that any
educational software you create as a part of your grant activity will be made
available for NASA distribution.
4) Educational writing or consulting that uses astronomy to improve public
understanding and appreciation of science.
Projects that involve the participation of astronomers in writing or consulting
for non-profit public outreach opportunities that have very large audiences are
of special interest. This might include collaborations with established science
outreach programs in the media: radio, television or newspapers; or in informal
science education settings such as science museums and planetaria.
Please be sure that you follow the guidelines below in preparing your IDEA
The spirit of the IDEA grants program is to encourage all research astronomers
to devote a small fraction of their total efforts toward experimentation with
educational projects. Thus, it is preferable to fund many small projects,
facilitating the participation of many astronomers in education, rather than
funding fewer large projects.
IDEA proposals may be made in either of two categories: Small Projects or
Mid-size Projects. Small Projects are limited to $6,000; it is expected that
most of the IDEA grant awards will be made in this category. Mid-size Projects
may request between $6001 and $20,000; it is expected that 0-5 awards will be
made in this category. In general, a PI may submit no more than one proposal in
If you have received an Astrophysics Grant Supplement for Education (AGSE) in
1991 , 1992, and/or 1993, you may apply to the 1994 IDEA grants program for a
new project or to expand and enhance your existing project. IF YOU ARE
EXPANDING ON A PREVIOUSLY FUNDED PROJECT, YOU MUST INCLUDE WITH YOUR PROPOSAL A
ONE-PAGE SUMMARY, STATING EVIDENCE OF EFFECTIVENESS, LESSONS LEARNED, PLANNED
IMPROVEMENTS, AND ANY HUMAN OR FINANCIAL RESOURCES THAT HAVE BEEN LEVERAGED BY
YOUR PREVIOUS GRANT. Also, please note, that the proposal guidelines in 1994
contain significant changes to those from previous years.
You may request salary support for hiring individuals to help bring your
project to fruition, including undergraduate assistants, school teachers,
teachers in training, and others.
Salary support to astronomers may be funded if the proposal can clearly
demonstrate that such support is essential to the success of the educational
project. Bear in mind that it is not the purpose of this program to subsidize
Because of the limited funds available for this program, hardware requests are
unlikely to be accepted. In particular, this program may not be used to
purchase hardware that will be used for purposes other than the direct support
of your education project. You must also certify that when your project is
complete, the ongoing use of any hardware purchased will be for educational
Requests for purchase of major equipment (e.g., telescopes, software, etc.)
will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Past experience, however, has shown
they are unlikely to be approved. As a guideline, remember that the purpose of
this program is to involve you, the researcher, in the educational process. It
is not our intent to purchase equipment for general use in schools, museums,
planetariums or other institutions.
Materials and Dissemination
You may request funds for the purchase of any materials needed in the
development of your project, or for costs associated with disseminating your
work. You may also request funds for materials that will be distributed to
teachers as part of a workshop.
In order to achieve maximum leverage from IDEA funds, please remember that NASA
Teacher Resource Centers and the Public Affairs Offices in NASA Centers and
Institutes have FREE outreach materials available for educational purposes.
NASA also has other dissemination mechanisms (e.g. NASA TV, and SpaceLink
(Internet)) that might be of use to you, both for obtaining access to
educational products and for disseminating the results of your own work. More
information about NASA dissemination mechanisms will be provided upon request.
Travel, Honoraria, Refreshments
Local travel, expenses, or tuition for teachers participating in workshops are
generally acceptable. It will be more difficult to make a convincing case for
long distance travel, honoraria for speakers, or other large expenditures for
single individuals. Travel support for an astronomy researcher who will attend
a workshop or conference to learn about effective educational outreach and/or
science education reform is acceptable as long as it does not dominate the
total budget request.
Refreshments or meals may not be funded by this program, although the special
value of social events held in conjunction with outreach activities is well
It is impossible to foresee all possible types of budget requests. Any items
not covered above will be considered on a case-by-case basis, subject to legal
restrictions, NASA policy, and the spirit of IDEA grants program.
In many cases, IDEA grants will be building upon a base of much larger
federally funded research activities conducted by IDEA grant investigators.
Since the IDEA grants are quite small and are intended to stimulate outreach
activities that are of direct social benefit, strong preference will be given
to proposals whose administrative costs are waived or reduced below 20% of the
HOW TO REQUEST AN IDEA GRANT
The proposal process is being kept as simple as possible while securing all the
information the Review Panel will need to critically evaluate your proposal.
Both goals will be served by following the format below. Please constrain your
proposals to 3-5 pages in length, plus cover pages, budget pages, and special
forms. Proposals should include each of the following sections:
1) Cover Page: List the title of your proposal, the names, titles and
affiliations of the investigators, the total amount of funds requested for the
proposed work, and a 150-200 word abstract of your educational project. Also,
be sure to provide the SIGNATURES OF APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS AT YOUR INSTITUTION.
2) Audience and Education Collaborators: Specifically identify the intended
audience for your proposed project, and how your collaborators will help ensure
that you can effectively reach that audience.
3) Project Description: Describe the mechanics of your proposed project. Be
sure to clearly and explicitly address the PROJECT GUIDELINES and proposal
EVALUATION CRITERIA described above.
4) Budget Explanations: Briefly justify each item in your budget, paying close
attention to the BUDGET GUIDELINES above. If applicable, be sure to include a
statement indicating any waiver or reduction of institutional overhead. Please
also indicate the possibility of matching funds, in-kind contributions, or
other opportunities to leverage this award for larger effect.
5) Budget Page: Attach a table with the itemization of your budget.
6) Special Forms: Attach to the original and two hard-copies (as opposed to the
electronic copy) of your proposal, two special forms, both available through
your local contracts and grants organization. These are: 1) Certification of a
Drug Free Workplace, and 2) Debarment and Suspension.
The performance period for 1994 IDEA grants will end one year after the grant
money is received. It is understood that certain types of educational
activities require particular phasing with the academic year, and thus
allowances will be made for no-cost extensions.
The IDEA research grants program is experimental in nature. In order to
evaluate the success of the program, each supported project should produce a
brief (1-2 pages) final report. The final report should be submitted by email
to firstname.lastname@example.org. It should include:
a) the IDEA grant PI's position, institution, and source of other NASA support
b) the original IDEA proposal abstract
c) a brief description of any fundamental changes that were made to your
original plan, together with the rationale for those changes.
d) a list of the positive and negative lessons learned from your experience.
e) a quantitative estimate about what human and/or financial resources have
been leveraged by your IDEA grant activity.
If you have developed an educational product or a model proposal for an IDEA
grant that may be of use to other educators or researchers, please emphasize
this in your final report. Sending well-labeled photos or illustrations of your
activities is also encouraged.
REVIEW OF PROPOSALS
The formal evaluation of IDEA grant proposals will be done by a Review Panel
composed of program managers from NASA, astronomers, and educators. The
Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters will have oversight and approval
authority for the review process. The panel will consider the merit of each
proposal in light of the guidelines and evaluation criteria listed above.
SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
Proposals for the IDEA grants are due by close of business on 30 September
Decisions will be announced 4-6 weeks later.
Send proposals (including the unsigned cover page, project description and
budget sections) electronically (text-only) to: email@example.com
Send the complete original and 2 complete hard copies (including the SIGNED
cover page and the appropriate special forms as well as the project description
and budget sections) to:
Attn.: Project Scientist for Education
Space Telescope Science Institute
3700 San Martin Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
INQUIRIES ABOUT THE PROPOSAL PROCESS
Inquiries about the PROPOSAL process should be made directly to the Space
Telescope Science Institute:
INQUIRIES ABOUT THE REVIEW PROCESS
Inquiries about the REVIEW process should be made directly to the Education
Officer in the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters:
Please check your local FTP site or NASA HQ/STScI WWW home pages for any
changes which may be made to this announcement.