(OPEN) Limited Submission: Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES)- NSF INCLUDES Alliances


NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations by focusing on broadening participation in these fields at scale.The vision of NSF INCLUDES is to catalyze the STEM enterprise to collaboratively work for inclusive change, which will result in a STEM workforce that reflects the population of the Nation. The initiative is developing a National Network composed of NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilots, NSF INCLUDES Alliances, an NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub, NSF-funded broadening participation projects, other relevant NSF-funded projects, scholars engaged in broadening participation research, and other organizations that support the development of talent from all sectors of society to build an inclusive STEM workforce. The successful implementation of NSF INCLUDES will result in substantial advances toward a diverse, innovative, and well-prepared STEM workforce to support our Nation’s economy and continued U.S. leadership in the global STEM enterprise. It is anticipated that NSF’s investment will contribute to new and improved STEM career pathways, policies, opportunities to learn, and practices for equity and inclusion.

This solicitation offers opportunities for NSF INCLUDES Alliances. The critical functions of each NSF INCLUDES Alliance are to:

  1. Develop a vision and strategy (e.g., problem statement and theory of change) for broadening participation in STEM along with relevant metrics of success and key milestones/goals to be achieved during the project’s life cycle;
  2. Contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM through broadening participation and implementation research, sharing project evaluations, data, new scientific findings/discoveries, and promising practices;
  3. Develop multi-stakeholder partnerships and build infrastructure among them to decrease social distance and achieve progress on common goals targeted by the Alliance;
  4. Establish a “backbone” or support organization that provides a framework for communication and networking,network assistance and reinforcement, visibility and expansion of the Alliance and its partners, that will collaborate with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub;
  5. Advance a logic model or other heuristic that identifies Alliance outcomes that reflect implementation of change at scale and progress toward developing an inclusive STEM enterprise.

All NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals should describe the results they expect to achieve in broadening participation in STEM. Each proposal must explain how they will build the infrastructure to foster collaboration and achieve impact by emphasizing the following five characteristics of the NSF INCLUDES Program: a) Vision, b) Partnerships, c)Goals and Metrics, d) Leadership and Communication, and e) the Potential for Expansion, Sustainability and Scale.

Vision: Every NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposal should describe the vision of what the Alliance aspires to achieve. What will be different in the landscape of broadening participation in STEM as a result of the efforts of this Alliance?

Partnerships: Partnerships and networks are at the heart of the NSF INCLUDES National Network, and Alliance proposals should include a plan for creating a platform for partnerships and collaborative action that includes a “backbone” or support organization. How will the Alliance partners engage an expansive community in a shared vision of the importance and power of broadening participation for scientific innovation? Why is the partnership that is being developed the right partnership to achieve the vision?

Goals and Metrics: Alliance proposals should delineate how the partnerships and networks will develop and be driven by shared goals, available evidence from research that forms the basis for the plans, and the metrics and milestones that define the pathway to achieving the vision. Robust data collection plans and implementation research will need to be included, to facilitate evidence-based decision making and adjustments as the Alliance matures.

Leadership and Communication: Alliance proposals should provide details for how the Alliance will build and strengthen capacity for leadership and communication among collaborating organizations and individuals to create opportunities and enact inclusion in STEM.

Expansion, Sustainability and Scale: Finally,Alliance proposals should discuss how the collaborative infrastructure building process will ultimately lead to: expansion (more partners joining the movement), sustainability (more long-term connections being made), and implementation of change at scale (a likelihood for collaborative change to lead to change on a broad scale).

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount

NSF anticipates making up to three Alliance awards with a duration of five years, contingent on availability of funds and receipt of competitive proposals. Awards will range from $1 million to $2.5 million per year for five years depending on the goals, objectives and the size of the communities affected. Awards will be made as Cooperative Agreements, with ongoing support contingent upon satisfactory performance as assessed through reviews of annual progress reports, annual site (or reverse site) visits, and annual reviews of the NSF INCLUDES Alliances’ development plans, as well as the availability of funds. The total amount of NSF’s investment in any one NSF INCLUDES Alliance will depend upon the needs, plans, and opportunities offered by the Alliance, as well as the availability of NSF funds.


All NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals must be built upon a foundation developed by one or more NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot project(s). The integration of the Design and Development Launch Pilot’s broadening participation goals and collaborative change strategies must be clearly evident in the Alliance proposal. Partnerships based on more than one Launch Pilot are especially encouraged. Additionally:

  • At least one Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator from an NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot must be included as a PI/Co-PI on the Alliance proposal.
  • While the NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot PI’s organization does not have to be the lead organization for the Alliance proposal, nor does the individual have to be the lead PI, the choice of lead institution or PI should be fully explained in the proposal.
  • Design and Development Launch Pilots may be apart of more than one Alliance proposal. However, they may be the lead institution on only one Alliance proposal.
  • In instances where a group of two or more of the same Design and Development Launch Pilots come together to submit an Alliance proposal, they are limited to one Alliance proposal submission representing that group.

An individual may serve as a PI or Co-PI on only two (2) NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals. Proposals that exceed the PI or Co-PI limit will be returned without review. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit,proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. No exceptions will be made.

Selection Criteria

In addition to the NSF Merit Review Criteria, reviewers will be asked to consider the ability of the proposed NSF INCLUDES Alliance to provide the collaborative infrastructure necessary to support the Alliance’s partners and activities. Questions to be considered include:

  • Vision: Is the vision for the NSF INCLUDES Alliance sufficiently compelling, ambitious and comprehensive to justify the resources requested?
  • Partnerships: Is the team of partners and personnel proposed for the NSF INCLUDES Alliance appropriate? Does the partnership have the capacity to act as both a fiscal agent and a team to accomplish the proposed work? Do the partners have the expertise necessary both in broadening participation in STEM and collaborative change strategies? Are all members of the organizational and personnel team meaningfully integrated into an NSF INCLUDES Alliance that is more than just the sum of its parts? Does the Alliance have a viable plan to create and incorporate a”backbone” or support organization into the Alliance?
  • Goals and Metrics: Is the strategic plan for shaping a common agenda and shared measurement systems appropriate and convincing? Does the proposal include a robust evaluation plan appropriate for informing program management and establishing the NSF INCLUDES Alliance’s outcomes and/or impacts? Will the Alliance effectively use a”backbone” or support organization to coordinate shared goals and metrics? Does the Alliance have a plan for integrating data with the NSF INCLUDES National Network through the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub?
  • Leadership and Communication: Does the proposal include a promising plan to promote the development of leadership for the Alliance and within each Alliance partner? Does it incorporate rigorous and innovative research studies into Alliance activities that contribute to the knowledge base about broadening participation in STEM.? Is there a credible communication strategy to share knowledge and promising practices both across the Alliance and with the NSF INCLUDES National Network and Coordination Hub?Does the leadership and communication plan effectively use the”backbone” or support organization?
  • Potential for Expansion, Sustainability and Scale: Does the proposal have a promising plan to support the expansion of the Alliance, provide for long-term sustainability and impact, and manage Alliance scaling? Does the sustainability plan include provisions to maintain the “backbone” or support organization over time?

Limitation Details

An Institution may submit ONE proposal.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to limsub@uga.edu according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:
  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal. The title of the proposed project should begin with the term:”NSF INCLUDES Alliance:”.
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email,and UGA contact information
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions(if any)
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses each of the selection criteria listed above (Vision; Partnerships;Goals and Metrics; Leadership and Communication; Potential for Expansion Sustainability,and Scale).
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)
  • Curriculum vitae
Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward. Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to limsub@uga.edu by the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to limsub@uga.edu.

For questions directly related to this program, please call (703) 292-4635 or email nsfincludes@nsf.gov.

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