NSF 20-554 ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions (ADVANCE)

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

In this solicitation, the NSF ADVANCE program seeks to build on prior NSF ADVANCE work and other research and literature concerning gender, racial, and ethnic equity to meet the program goal of broadening the implementation of evidence-based systemic change strategies that promote equity for STEM faculty. The NSF ADVANCE program provides grants to enhance the systemic factors that support equity and inclusion and to mitigate the systemic factors that create inequities in the academic profession and workplaces. Systemic (or organizational) inequity may exist in areas such as policy and practice as well as in organizational culture and climate. The focus on equity and inclusion for STEM academic faculty is strategic, since faculty educate, train, and mentor undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars and therefore have significant influence over the preparation, interest, persistence, completion, and career choice of future scientists and engineers.

All NSF ADVANCE proposals are expected to use intersectional approaches in the design of systemic change strategies for STEM faculty in recognition that gender, race and ethnicity do not exist in isolation from each other and from other categories of social identity.

All NSF ADVANCE proposals are expected to take an intersectional approach regarding the salient categories of social identity for the project. Specifically, proposers should recognize that gender, race and ethnicity do not exist in isolation from each other and other categories of social identity, such as disability status, sexual orientation, economic background, first-generation status, faculty appointment type, etc. Intersectional approaches should be considered throughout the project design – from the data collection and analysis to identify systemic inequities, to the design of the project strategies, and into the project evaluation. Intersectional perspectives are important for identifying equity issues and solutions for underrepresented STEM faculty. Intersectional approaches are also important for identifying factors that need attention in order to effectively involve other STEM faculty whose social identities in addition to gender, race, and ethnicity, such as age, seniority and rank, being foreign-born and/or foreign-trained, may impact the culture and climate of the institution and require tailored equity building strategies to address. ADVANCE proposals should offer strategies that involve all faculty and promote equity for all faculty.

All ADVANCE proposals should report impacts on gender equity related to one or more of the following objectives:

  • The incorporation of intersectional approaches in ADVANCE equity strategies for STEM faculty in recognition that gender, race, and ethnicity do not exist in isolation from each other and from other categories of social identity;
  • The adaptation and implementation by IHEs and non-academic organizations of evidence-based systemic change strategies that have been shown to enhance equity for STEM faculty in academic workplaces and the academic profession; and
  • The empowerment of individual and organizational stakeholders to enhance equity for STEM faculty in academic workplaces and the academic profession. Stakeholders include but are not limited to STEM faculty, organizations that have STEM faculty as members, academic and organization leadership, organizations that have academic leadership as members, institution and organization advisory boards or boards of directors, editors and publishers, STEM professional societies, and higher education and organizational staff.

Description of the four different ADVANCE tracks:
1. The Institutional Transformation (IT) track supports the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative systemic change strategies within a single non-profit IHE with the intention that these innovative strategies could be adaptable by other IHEs and organizations. The IT project must include a rigorous research study related to the ADVANCE project that contributes to knowledge about gender equity and systemic change in STEM academics. The study may be based in the methods and theories from the social, behavioral, learning, or economic sciences. Projects that do not propose innovative strategies are more appropriate for the Adaptation track. Only IHEs that submit an IT-Preliminary proposal can submit a full IT proposal.

2. The Adaptation* track supports the adaptation and implementation of evidence-based organizational change strategies by a single non-profit:

  • Institution of Higher Education (IHE) to address systemic inequities for STEM faculty that includes all the STEM disciplines within the IHE. Prior ADVANCE IT-Catalyst grantees are encouraged to apply for an Adaptation project;

3. The Partnership* track supports projects designed to result in the regional or national diffusion and/or scale-up of evidence-based systemic change strategies. Partnership projects are expected to involve two or more partners. Partnership projects must be designed to have a significant reach to individuals and/or organizations with evidence-based systemic change strategies to enhance equity for STEM faculty in academic workplaces and the academic profession. Individuals and organizations may include, but are not limited to, academic administrators, academic staff in relevant positions (such as human resource officers, institutional research directors, equal opportunity officers, and Title VII and Title IX officers), STEM faculty and leaders, editors and publishers, STEM professional societies, non-profit institutions of higher education, and STEM research funders. The proposer(s) must explain the significance of the reach in the proposal. Describe the intended reach of the project in numbers and percentages as well as the impact of the project in terms of the expected systemic, cultural and/or climatic change. This will be different depending on the systemic inequity issues that are being addressed, the population(s) of interest, and the proposed strategies.

4. The Catalyst track supports the design and implementation of an organizational self-assessment to collect and analyze data to identify STEM faculty inequities, pilot equity strategies as appropriate, and develop a five-year equity strategic plan for STEM faculty. Only non-profit IHEs that are not, and have not been, the lead on any type of ADVANCE grant are eligible.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor LOI Deadline: 
Aug 03, 2020
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Aug 02, 2021
Other Deadline Dates: 
Adaptation and Partnership Tracks Letter of Intent Due August 2, 2021 5:00PM ET; Having led a prior ADVANCE award Penn State is not eligible to submit to the Catalyst track.
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should submit the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF-20-554_2021) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

Cover Page:

  • Proposal Title
  • Principal Investigator’s (PI's) names and departmental affiliation
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • A list of possible participating organizations, if applicable
  • Title and number of this funding opportunity
  • Proposal Track

Project Description (no more than two pages):

  • Identify the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements outlined in the solicitation, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

2-page Biosketches of PI/coPIs

Formatting Guidelines:

  • Font/size: no less than 11 pt.
  • Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
  • (8 ½” x 11)Standard paper size
To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Sunday, May 30, 2021 - 4:00pm