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Don’t Miss Out: NSF Still Accepting Proposals for Innovative Funding Opportunity

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By Julius Valentine Maina, J.D. , Policy & Inclusive Innovation Specialist

There is a common misconception that the Federal Government does not offer enough funding opportunities specifically targeted at increasing and supporting the participation of under-represented populations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and the STEM workforce. The reality is that funding does indeed exist, but most agencies simply don’t have the bandwidth to engage in both the implementation of a new program and extensive outreach strategies.

To facilitate this need, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) launched the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3) to better assist minority business entrepreneurs (MBEs) in accessing Federal Government resources. This launch further solidified MBDA’s determination to facilitate the increase and participation of minority business enterprises (MBEs) and minority-serving institutions in the federal laboratory network as well as our commitment to supporting all federal initiatives that further the mission of I-3.

One such funding opportunity is the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s NSF INCLUDES initiative. For those who are “click savvy,” I’m sure you have already clicked on the link, viewed the solicitation, and arrived at the seemingly bleak conclusion that the deadline to submit a proposal has passed. However, that is the second most common misconception about multi-year funding opportunities. The reality is that yes, the deadline has passed, but often times due to the lack of applicants, funding often remains available for most solicitations targeted at under-represented populations. Further, it may be in your best interest to take the extra five to ten minutes to verify that funding has been exhausted before you disqualify yourself from any solicitation.

NSF INCLUDES is a comprehensive initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering discovery and innovation by proactively seeking and effectively developing STEM talent from all sectors and groups in our society.

By facilitating partnerships, communication, and cooperation, NSF aims to build on and scale up what works in broadening participation programs to reach underserved populations nationwide.

The components of NSF INCLUDES are:

  • Design and development launch pilots: to plan activities and lay the foundations for potential partners to share common goals and purposes through collective impact-style approaches.
  • Alliances: to leverage and build on the activities of design and development launch pilots, adding new partners, collaborators, or networks. Each alliance will have its own local communication organization.
  • Coordination Hub: to provide increased communications, interoperability, coordination, support, and accountability for the network of NSF INCLUDES alliances. The backbone organization will help drive overarching vision and strategy, align common activities, establish shared measurement practices, build public will, advance policy, and mobilize funding across the network.

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