BOX 5-5

National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program

One funding source that has been essential in providing awards to universities has been the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE program. This program offers awards for institutional solutions that empower women to participate more fully in science and technology.a

The precursor to ADVANCE at NSF was Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education (POWRE), an individual fellowship program designed to foster professional growth during the tenure-track years and to increase the pool of women role models in science and engineering. The POWRE fellowships, which were awarded to women on an individual level, did little to effect institutional change in universities and organizations or to help women integrate work and family life.b

Recognizing that POWRE could not facilitate institutional change on a permanent basis, NSF replaced it with ADVANCE in 2001. During the 2005-2006 year, ADVANCE supported the following types of projects:c

  • Institutional Transformation Awards support academic institutional transformation to promote the increased participation and advancement of women scientists and engineers in academe. The awards support innovative and comprehensive programs for institution-wide change.

  • Leadership Awards support the efforts of individuals, small groups, or organizations in developing national or discipline-specific leadership in enabling the full participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.

ior, not because sanctions deter noncompliance, but rather because the law cultivates a normative environment, a “new normal,” that legitimates and motivates compliance.70


Transforming academic institutions so that they will foster the career advancement of women scientists and engineers is a complex task. The NSF’s ADVANCE program is geared specifically to promote such institutional transformation (Box 5-5). It reflects the increasing understanding that individual accommodations and help are not sufficient to bring gender


WT Bielby (2000). Minimizing workplace gender and racial bias. Contemporary Sociology 29:120-129; B Reskin (2000). The proximate causes of employment discrimination. Contemporary Sociology 29(2):319-328; S Strum (2001). Second generation employment discrimination: A structural approach. Columbia Law Review 101(3):458-568.

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