NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into Geoscience (IUSE: GEOPATHS) Solicitation

Program Summary 

NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) initiative supports a coherent set of investments to address immediate challenges and opportunities that are facing undergraduate STEM education, as well as those that anticipate new structures (e.g. organizational changes, new methods for certification or credentialing, course re-conception, cyberlearning, etc.) and new functions of the undergraduate learning and teaching enterprise. The NSF-wide IUSE initiative acknowledges the variety of discipline-specific challenges and opportunities facing STEM faculty as they strive to incorporate results from educational research into classroom practice and work with education research colleagues and social science learning scholars to advance our understanding of effective teaching and learning.

IUSE: GEOPATHS contributes to the IUSE initiative. IUSE: GEOPATHS invites proposals that specifically address the current needs and opportunities related to undergraduate education within the geosciences community. The primary goal of the IUSE: GEOPATHS funding opportunity is to increase the number of undergraduate students interested in pursuing undergraduate degrees and/or post-graduate degrees in geoscience through the design and testing of novel approaches for engaging students in authentic, career-relevant experiences in geoscience. In order to broaden participation in the geosciences, engaging undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented groups or from non-geoscience degree programs is a priority. The IUSE: GEOPATHS solicitation features two funding tracks: (1) Engaging students in the geosciences through extra-curricular experiences and training activities (GEOPATHS-EXTRA), and (2) Improving pathways into the geosciences through institutional collaborations and transfer (GEOPATHS-IMPACT).

CU Boulder is only eligible to submit proposals as the sole or lead institution for the GEOPATHS-IMPACT track. CU Boulder is not eligible to submit a proposal as the lead institution for the GEOPATHS-EXTRA track. See eligibility section for additional information.

The overarching questions being addressed through this solicitation are:

  • Which strategies are most effective for increasing the number and diversity of students entering the geoscience workforce pipeline?
  • Which approaches are most effective in retaining undergraduate students in the geoscience pipeline?
  • Which activities are most effective in preparing undergraduate geoscience majors for the workforce, and smoothing their transition post-graduation?
  • Which strategies are most effective for increasing the number and diversity of non-geoscience undergraduate majors that pursue post-baccalaureate degrees in geoscience?


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST September 5, 2018

Sponsor Letter of Intent (required) Deadline: 5:00pm MST September 21, 2018

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MST November 19, 2018

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Description (2-3 pages): Please include the following: overview of goals and objectives, project design including a description of partnerships and collaborations, project personnel, project evaluation and sustainability. Please describe project intellectual merit and broader impacts of the project.
  • Budget Overview (Up to 1 page): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.
  • Confirmation that the proposal is for the GEOPATHS-IMPACT track of this funding opportunity.

To access the online application, visit: https://colorado.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/6249


A Principal Investigator may serve in the role of PI or Co-PI on only one proposal per competition if they are at the sole-submitting institution or the lead institution of a collaborative project, but may serve as the Co-PI for a non-lead institution of a collaborative project more than once per competition.

GEOPATHS-EXTRA proposals: R1 institutions (including CU Boulder) may not serve as the lead institution and may only submit proposals as the non-lead institution of a collaborative GEOPATHS-EXTRA proposal. NSF is restricting the eligibility of institutions that may serve as the sole submitting organization or the lead institution in a collaborative proposal in order to increase opportunities for smaller and/or primarily undergraduate institutions that have less access to significant Federal funding for STEM research and related infrastructure.

GEOPATHS-IMPACT proposals: Institutions that grant associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degrees in the disciplines listed in section IV.C. are eligible to submit proposals as the sole submitting organization or lead institution in a collaborative proposal, with no restrictions on institution type.

Limited Submission Guidelines

An organization may serve as sole submitting institution or as lead institution of a collaborative project on only one submission per competition, regardless of track, but may serve as the non-lead institution of a collaborative project more than once per competition.

Award Information and Duration

Number of Awards: 20 (10 per track)

Award Amount: Average total award size is expected to be in the $300,000 to $350,000 range.

Award Term: Up to 36 months.