May 27, 2010

NSF grant will coordinate with STEM progams

by Erin Rosacker

Iowa State was awarded a human resource development award from the National Science Foundation. The $749,786 grant will fund a three-year initiative, "Strengthening the Professoriate at Iowa State University: A Campus Network to Enable Strong Science and Diverse Communities."

The initiative will coordinate with several campus programs, such as ISU ADVANCE, to establish a university network aimed at increasing participation of women and under-represented minorities in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Bonnie Bowen, one of the co-principal investigators of the initiative, said funding will support a faculty director and program assistant who will coordinate faculty-led study groups. These discussion groups will allow colleagues to share ideas and explore the literature on how to incorporate participation, education and outreach components (known as "broader impacts") in their research.

The broader impacts of research -- such as hiring a female or under-represented minority student to help with summer field work, or providing lab experiences for elementary and secondary teachers -- can be important factors in determining which grant proposals are funded by NSF. And, with an eye to the future, the initiative actively will seek the involvement of new faculty, post docs and graduate students.

"This really is about partnerships of existing programs on campus," Bowen said. "This will build a network and create a clearing house to help faculty who are preparing proposals."

The NSF funds will be distributed from July 1 to June 30, 2013. Additional support also is being provided by the executive vice president and provost; the vice president for research and economic development; college deans (Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Vet Med); and some department chairs.