NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM) Solicitation

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary 

Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM) funds research projects that identify (1) factors that are effective in the formation of ethical STEM researchers and (2) approaches to developing those factors in all the fields of science and engineering that NSF supports. CCE STEM solicits proposals for research that explores the following: ‘What constitutes responsible conduct for research (RCR), and which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?' Factors one might consider include: honor codes, professional ethics codes and licensing requirements, an ethic of service and/or service learning, life-long learning requirements, curricula or memberships in organizations (e.g. Engineers without Borders) that stress responsible conduct for research, institutions that serve under-represented groups, institutions where academic and research integrity are cultivated at multiple levels, institutions that cultivate ethics across the curriculum, or programs that promote group work, or do not grade. Do certain labs have a ‘culture of academic integrity'? What practices contribute to the establishment and maintenance of ethical cultures and how can these practices be transferred, extended to, and integrated into other research and learning settings?

Successful proposals typically have a comparative dimension, either between or within institutional settings that differ along these or among other factors, and they specify plans for developing interventions that promote the effectiveness of identified factors.

CCE STEM research projects will use basic research to produce knowledge about what constitutes or promotes responsible or irresponsible conduct of research, and how to best instill students with this knowledge. In some cases, projects will include the development of interventions to ensure responsible research conduct.

Proposals for awards from minority-serving institutions (e.g. Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions), women's colleges, and institutions primarily serving persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged. Proposals including international collaborations are encouraged when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work by incorporating unique resources, expertise, facilities or sites of international partners. The U.S. team's international counterparts generally should have support or obtain funding through other sources.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST December 2, 2019

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MST February 24, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (2-3 pages maximum): Please include the following: project overview, key personnel, dissemination plan, impact statement describing how the project will benefit CU Boulder, and how the project will enhance the formation of ethical STEM researchers.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://cuboulderovcr.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/6416


There are no special eligibility requirements. For Institutional Transformation Research Grant proposals, it is highly recommended that one or more senior members of the administration (e.g. Provost, VP, and/or President) serves as a PI.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Only one application per institution is allowed.

Award Information and Duration

The maximum for 5-year awards is $600,000 (including direct costs) and the maximum for 3-year awards is $400,000 (including direct costs). The average award is $275,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 6 to 8

Review Criteria

In addition to intellectual merit and broader impacts, note the following review criteria:

  • Is this an innovative effort? Is it likely to enhance the formation of ethical STEM researchers?
  • Does the project include adequate grounding in the relevant research literature?
  • Do potential results have promise for broad utility?
  • Are there adequate supporting materials to document commitment from those individuals and institutions playing a substantive role in the project?

Additional review criteria for Institutional Transformation Research Grant (ITRG) proposals:

  • How significant will the contribution of the study of the proposed innovative components and other institutional transformation activities be to the institutional transformation knowledge base? How strong are the indicators of institutional readiness for institutional transformation and commitment to the project activities and goals?
  • Does the proposal include well-formulated, feasible plans for evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention?
  • How well are the proposed activities linked to the institutional context and data?
  • How well is the relevant social science literature incorporated into the design of the proposed innovative components and other institutional transformation activities?
  • Are mechanisms planned that ensure long-term sustainability beyond the duration of the funded project?