BOX 4.1

The MRSEC Request for Proposals on Education and Outreach

The scope of activities of each Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) depends on the capabilities of the proposing organization. Examination of the 2004 program solicitation from NSF reveals that among the list of activities that most MRSECs incorporate “to an extent consistent with the size and vision of the Center” are the following:1

Programs to stimulate interdisciplinary education and the development of human resources (including support for underrepresented groups) through cooperation and collaboration with other organizations and sectors, as well as within the host organization. Cooperative programs with organizations serving predominantly underrepresented groups in science and engineering are strongly encouraged.

The program solicitation description of what should be included about education and outreach in the proposal is as follows:

Education, Human Resources Development. Describe the education and human resource goals, provide a rationale for those goals, and indicate desired outcomes for the 6-year period. Briefly describe how the education goals integrate strategically with the research and organizational/ partnership opportunities of the Center. Outline plans for increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in Center research and education activities. Outline plans for seminar series, colloquial workshops, conferences, summer school and related activities, as appropriate. Describe any additional education programs not included in other sections of the proposal. Limit: 3 pages.

The program solicitation also specifies that “innovative interdisciplinary educational ventures” are appropriate topics for seed funding.


1National Science Foundation (NSF), Program Solicitation for Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Program, NSF 04-580, NSF, Arlington, Va., 2004.

and Native Americans/Pacific Islanders) involved in STEM fields. Each MRSEC is encouraged to pursue activities consistent with the research and organizational/ partnership opportunities of the center as well as the size and local context of the center.

The committee collected data from a range of sources. Written sources included MRSEC annual reports, program descriptions, MRSEC Web sites, grant proposals, journal papers, and program evaluations. Additional sources included telephone interviews, Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) conference reports, MRSEC EO workshop proceedings, and materials from the National Research Center Educator Network (NRCEN) Web site. A survey specific to EO issues was sent to EO coordinators and MRSEC directors in April 2006 asking for information in order to address issues raised from the preliminary analysis. Information from site visits

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