The National Science Foundation (NSF) is expected to award $10-20 million in multi year grants in 2017 for the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in schools Pre K through 12th grade. The motivation for awarding these grants is simple; to help fuel the need for more children and young people interested in STEM related careers. STEM has a role in almost everything today, from cars, computers, cell phones, and even home thermostats.

The program that helps to oversee the creation and distribution for the grants is Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) and NSF describes them as “…a research and development program that supports projects to promote PreK-12 student interests and capacities to participate in the STEM and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future.” They do this by helping them obtain “…disciplinary-based knowledge and practices, or promote critical thinking, reasoning skills, or communication skills needed for entering STEM workforce sectors” as stated by NSF. The programs that apply for and use the funds can be structured to encourage and engage students both inside and outside of the classroom and school, and it’s encouraged if partnerships between higher education and other schools are built.

Of the grants that are being awarded in the 2017 year there are 12 “Strategies” that are worth up to $1.2 million each, up to four two year “Exploratory” grants each worth up to $400,000 each, and finally two three to five year “Successful Project Expansion and Dissemination” grants worth up to $2 million each. The deadline for applications is September 5th, and more information can be found here.