NSF Pathways into the Earth, Ocean, Polar and Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences (GEOPAths)

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

Program Summary

The Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) supports the Pathways into the Geosciences - Earth, Ocean, Polar and Atmospheric Sciences (GEOPAths) funding opportunity. GEOPAths invites proposals that specifically address the current needs and opportunities related to education, learning, training and professional development within the geosciences community through the formation of STEM Learning Ecosystems that engage students in the study of the Earth, its oceans, polar regions and atmosphere. The primary goal of the GEOPAths funding opportunity is to increase the number of students pursuing undergraduate and/or postgraduate degrees through the design and testing of novel approaches that engage students in authentic, career-relevant experiences in geoscience. In order to broaden participation in the geosciences, engaging students from historically excluded groups or from non-geoscience degree programs is a priority. This solicitation features three funding tracks that focus on Geoscience Learning Ecosystems (GLEs):

  1. GEOPAths: Informal Networks (IN). Collaborative projects in this track will support geoscience learning and experiences in informal settings for teachers, pre-college (e.g., upper level high school) students, and early undergraduates in the geosciences.
  2. GEOPAths: Undergraduate Preparation (UP). Projects in this track will engage pre-college and undergraduate students in extra-curricular experiences and training in the geosciences with a focus on service learning and workplace skill building.
  3. GEOPAths: Graduate Opportunities (GO). Projects in this track will improve research and career-related pathways into the geosciences for undergraduate and graduate students through institutional collaborations with a focus on service learning and workplace skill building.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST February 20, 2023

Sponsor Deadline: 5:00pm MST March 27, 2023

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (3 pages maximum): Please include: 1) Overview: the overall goals and objectives of the project, the intellectual focus, organizational structure, timetable, any participating organizations' commitment to the activity and clearly indicate the track being pursued; 2) Project Design: specific activities that will be undertaken to achieve project goals; 3) Project Personnel: relevant experience and the record of involvement with undergraduate research, training, and/or education of the PI, the faculty or other professionals who may serve as mentors for activities
  • 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/6828/home


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

Limited Submission Guidelines

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

Award Information

NSF expects to make up to 15 awards in each fiscal year, with ~5 awards being made in each of the three tracks. The estimated program budget, number of awards, and award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Review Criteria

In addition to the standard NSF criteria of intellectual merit and broader impacts, please note the following solicitation specific criteria below.

  • PI Team: Does the project team have sufficient experience in supporting students in the types of activities being proposed?
  • Institutional Commitment: Is institutional commitment outlined well in the proposal and is the evidence of support for the project sufficient to achieve the goals and objectives?
  • Connection to Research on Geoscience Education: How well informed are the vision and execution plan by the literature and prior attempts, if applicable, to implement change. Is the expectation of success well-justified?
  • Connection to Careers: Is there a sufficient connection in the proposed project to viable workforce paths in the geosciences?
  • Plan for Safe and Inclusive Working Environments: Is there a safe and inclusive working environment plan? Does it adequately address the emphasis areas listed in the plan description?
  • Participant Engagement: Is there a participant plan? Is the recruitment and selection process described with sufficient detail and is it likely to attract a diverse population of students that would benefit from the proposed activities? Is there a mentoring plan in place for participants? The plan should emphasize strategies to ensure inclusive environments, programming and experiences with a focus on retention and movement of participants to the next appropriate level of education and research acumen (including but not limited to sufficient training for faculty and staff to successfully undertake their roles as mentors and supervisors of the student participants).
  • Evaluation: Is there an evaluation plan? Has an experienced evaluator been identified and been well integrated in the planning of the project? Will the evaluation and monitoring plan provide sufficient documentation that project goals and outcomes have been realized?
  • Sustainability: What is the potential for sustaining project activities and/or institutional collaborations after funding ends?

Reviewers will be instructed to evaluate the Plan for Safe and Inclusive Work Environments within the Broader Impacts review criterion, specifically:

  • Is there a compelling plan (including the procedures, trainings, and communication processes) to establish, nurture, and maintain inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment(s)?
  • Does the proposed plan identify and adequately address the unique challenges for the team and the specific off-campus or off-site setting(s)?
  • Are the organizational mechanisms to be used for reporting, responding to, and resolving issues of harassment, should they occur, clearly outlined?