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Dear Colleague Letter: EFRI Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) Program


Friday, November 21, 2014


EFRI supports the active involvement of research participants: high school students and STEM teachers, undergraduate STEM students and faculty (including community college students and faculty), professors, and veterans in hands-on research in order to bring this rich research experience and contact with suitable STEM mentors into their lives. The main goals of the REM program are to enhance EFRI-supported research while providing research experiences and mentoring opportunities to STEM students and/or educators that may ultimately enhance their career and academic trajectories. REM may also enable the building of long-term collaborative partnerships among EFRI-supported researchers, the NSF university research community, and local school districts.

Each REM supplemental funding request should be specific to the local setting, resources, and skills of the PI/team. EFRI especially encourages partnerships with one or more of the following types of institutions:

  • inner city schools or other high-needs K-12 schools;
  • community colleges that serve historically underrepresented populations; and
  • four-year colleges that serve historically underrepresented populations.

Requests for supplemental funding must include a recruitment plan, describing how at least six members of one or more of the following groups will be recruited as RPs in each EFRI topic area:

  • underrepresented minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders);
  • females;
  • veterans enrolled in post-secondary education; or
  • persons with disabilities.

EFRI seeks to encourage activities that are unique, creative, innovative, and site-specific. Effective summer research programs typically have many of the following characteristics, which are provided here as general guidelines:

  • Six to ten weeks of summer research;
  • Continuing interactions/mentorship of RPs throughout the academic year;
  • Well-designed, introductory training for RPs;
  • Mentorship training for researchers;
  • RP's participation in meetings and their creative contributions; and
  • Guidance for RPs in co-authoring publications and/or posters.

Supplemental funding requests must include an evaluation component, including but not limited to a pre-and-post survey of RPs (and possibly mentors, especially if graduate students serve as mentors). Attitudinal changes and/or changes to career trajectory should be measured; an initial Logic Model (describing expected outcomes of the activities undertaken, and the mechanism(s) to measure and evaluate those outcomes) should be provided. Longitudinal data will be expected where appropriate for renewals. The evaluation must be provided in the final report, so that NSF can gauge the value of providing these experiences and relate the program to the STEM pipeline.

RPs and mentors are expected to conduct poster presentations at the annual EFRI-REM grantee meeting, held in conjunction with the Emerging Researchers National Conference (ERN Conference) in Washington, DC in February of 2016.

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