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Limited Submission: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions (ADVANCE)

The NSF ADVANCE program contributes to the National Science Foundation’s goal of a more diverse and capable science and engineering workforce.

  • Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Internal Deadline: June 29, 2020
  • Adaptation and Partnership LOI Deadline: August 3, 2020 (Letters of Intent are only required for Adaptation and Partnership tracks.)
  • IT Preliminary Proposal Deadline: April 22, 2021 (IT-Preliminary proposal Target Date – preliminary proposals are only required for institutions of higher education that want to submit a full Institutional Transformation proposal.)
  • Partnership and Adaptation Full Proposal Deadline: November 4, 2020
  • Sponsor Catalyst Proposal Deadline: August 7, 2020
  • IT
  • Link

The NSF ADVANCE program contributes to the National Science Foundation’s goal of a more diverse and capable science and engineering workforce.1 In this solicitation, the NSF ADVANCE program seeks to build on prior NSF ADVANCE work and other research and literature concerning gender, racial, and ethnic equity. The NSF ADVANCE program goal is to broaden the implementation of evidence-based systemic change strategies that promote equity for STEM2 faculty in academic workplaces and the academic profession. The NSF ADVANCE program provides grants to enhance the systemic factors that support equity and inclusion and to mitigate the systemic factors that create inequities in the academic profession and workplaces. Systemic (or organizational) inequities may exist in areas such as policy and practice as well as in organizational culture and climate. For example, practices in academic departments that result in the inequitable allocation of service or teaching assignments may impede research productivity, delay advancement, and create a culture of differential treatment and rewards. Similarly, policies and procedures that do not mitigate implicit bias in hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions could lead to women and racial and ethnic minorities being evaluated less favorably, perpetuating historical under-participation in STEM academic careers and contributing to an academic climate that is not inclusive.

All NSF ADVANCE proposals are expected to use intersectional approaches in the design of systemic change strategies in recognition that gender, race and ethnicity do not exist in isolation from each other and from other categories of social identity. The solicitation includes four funding tracks:  Institutional Transformation (IT)AdaptationPartnership, and Catalyst, in support of the NSF ADVANCE program goal to broaden the implementation of systemic strategies that promote equity for STEM faculty in academic workplaces and the academic profession.

  • The Institutional Transformation (IT) track is designed to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative systemic change strategies that promote gender equity for STEM faculty within an institution of higher education.
  • The Adaptation track is designed to support the work to adapt, implement, and evaluate evidence-based systemic change strategies that have been shown to promote gender equity for STEM faculty in academic workplaces and the academic profession. Adaptation projects can either: 1) support the adaptation of evidence-based systemic change strategies to promote equity for STEM faculty within an institution of higher education; or 2) facilitate national or regional STEM disciplinary transformation by adapting evidence-based systemic change strategies to non-profit, non-academic organizations.
  • The Partnership track is designed to support the work to facilitate the broader adaptation of gender equity and systemic change strategies. Partnership projects are expected to result in national or regional transformation in STEM academic workplaces and the academic profession and demonstrate significant reach. Partnership projects can focus on the transformation of institutions and organizations and/or the transformation within one or more STEM disciplines.
  • The Catalyst track is designed to broaden the types of IHEs that are able to undertake data collection and institutional self-assessment work to identify systemic gender inequities impacting their STEM faculty so that these can be addressed by the institution.

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

Award Amount

The total number of awards to be made under this solicitation is estimated to be between 18 and 36 over two fiscal years.

In each year, NSF expects to make approximately:

  • six Adaptation awards up to $1,000,000 for three-year long projects
  • six Partnership awards up to $1,000,000 for up to five-year long projects
  • four Catalyst awards up to $300K for two years

NSF anticipates that two to four of the twelve Adaptation and Partnerships projects may qualify for an additional $250,000 for collaborating with a project initiated with NSF funding as described in the project description. Additionally, in FY 2021, the program anticipates making up to two Institutional Transformation awards for up to $3,000,000 for five-years. All award amounts include both direct and indirect costs.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $29,000,000

Pending availability of funds, NSF anticipates having up to $29,000,000 available over a period of two fiscal years for support of the NSF ADVANCE portfolio. It is expected that up to $15,000,000 will be available for the FY 2021 competition and approximately $14,000,000 will be available for proposals for the FY 2022 competition.

  • IT-Preliminary proposals are accepted from a non-profit institution of higher education (IHE) eligible for NSF funding that has not had an ADVANCE IT award.
  • Adaptation proposals are accepted from a non-profit institution of higher education (IHE) or a non-profit, non-academic organization eligible for NSF funding. IHEs cannot have had an ADVANCE IT or Adaptation award.
  • Catalyst proposals are accepted from one non-profit IHE that is not, and has not been, the lead grantee on any type of previous NSF ADVANCE award.
  • Partnership proposals are accepted from partnerships of two or more non-profit IHEs and/or non-profit, non-academic organizations. Partners may include past or current NSF ADVANCE grant recipients, new IHEs and organizations to ADVANCE, and unfunded strategic partners (such as the private commercial sector and NSF research and education centers).
Selection Criteria

Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and

Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

Proposers are reminded that reviewers will also be asked to review the Data Management Plan and the Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan, as appropriate.

There is an additional review criterion for all ADVANCE proposals: Reviewers will be asked to specifically evaluate how well the proposal addresses intersectionality. Intersectionality is an important tool for understanding systemic equity issues for underrepresented STEM faculty and for designing interventions that involve majority STEM faculty in the ADVANCE project. All ADVANCE proposals are expected to take an intersectional approach in the proposal design, research, evaluation, and data collection.

Limitation Details

An Institution can submit one proposal to IT-PreliminaryAdaptation, OR Catalyst. IHEs can also be a partner on one or more Partnership proposals. IHEs and non-profit, non-academic organizations may be partners on multiple ADVANCE Partnership proposals in the same competition but can be the lead organization only on one Partnership proposal in the same competition.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to limsub@uga.eduaccording 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
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any)
    • Program track: ITAdaptionPartnership, or Catalyst
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • 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 by the internal deadline listed above. 


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the following program officers:

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