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Awards to USA IHEs to Recognize Efforts to Mitigate
the Impact of COVID-19 on the STEM Community

Taking Action: COVID-19 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Challenge

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Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline Date:

01/30/22 11:59 PM


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Awards to USA and territories IHEs to recognize efforts to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis on the STEM community. Applicants should showcase efforts to preserve diversity, equity, and inclusion. Awards are divided to address issues related to undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and faculty.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking submissions in a 3-page narrative format describing the evidence-based steps that Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) have taken, or will take, to mitigate the long-term negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diversity, equity, and inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty in STEM higher education programs and institutions. Because the issues vary depending on the impacted STEM population, the challenge is divided into four categories: 1) STEM undergraduates at community and technical colleges; 2) STEM undergraduates at four-year institutions; 3) STEM graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; and 4) STEM faculty. The goals of this competition is to identify actions that IHEs can take to ensure DEI in STEM despite the long-term challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and to share these strategies broadly, including via social media and other means, thereby highlighting the importance of these actions, and providing information for others to implement these actions if applicable to their institutional context.

All eligible IHEs are encouraged and invited to submit descriptions of institutional actions that have been implemented, or will be implemented, such as new and revised policies, procedures, and practices to ensure continued progress toward more diverse, equitable, and inclusive STEM higher education programs and institutions. Submissions from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and community and technical colleges are particularly encouraged in all challenge categories for which they are eligible. The challenge first-, second-, and third-place winners will be invited to present their ideas at an NSF-hosted virtual event that will be open to the public, recorded, and made available to the public. For more details, please read the Participant's Guide in its entirety.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 199469

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Each of the four categories will have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place cash-prize winner and up to 10 honorable mention designees.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Prize Breakdown:
- First Place: $25,000
- Second Place: $15,000
- Third Place: $10,000
- Honorable mention: no cash award

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The challenge is limited to submissions from U.S.-based, public or private, non-profit, two- and four-year IHEs (including community and technical colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. Having a previous or current NSF grant award is not required to participate in this challenge.

Important Additional Eligibility Information by Challenge Category:
- Category 1 - Two-Year Undergraduate Challenge. Submissions must come from an institution which primarily awards associate degrees. The institution may have a transfer program towards a four-year degree and occupational/workforce programs (such as certificates requiring coursework).
- Category 2 - Four-Year Undergraduate Challenge. Submissions must come from IHEs that offer bachelor’s degrees in STEM.
- Category 3 - Graduate and Postdoctoral Researcher Challenge. Submissions must come from IHEs that have STEM graduate degree granting programs and/or train STEM postdoctoral researchers.
- Category 4 - STEM Faculty Challenge. Submissions are welcomed from all IHEs that meet the basic eligibility criteria irrespective of degrees offered.

Submissions must be made by an institution-wide administrator. For the purpose of this challenge, institution-wide administrators are defined as the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Academic Officer.

Submissions from individuals, or groups of individuals, will not be accepted because the NSF is seeking entries describing institutional action(s) to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Impacted individuals should be consulted and should contribute to the development of any institutional systemic action. A statement acknowledging the individuals or groups that contributed to the idea(s) should be included in an acknowledgement section on the cover page.

Pre-Application Information:

Submissions will be accepted beginning October 14, 2021. The deadline for submissions has been extended to 11:59 PM EST January 30, 2022.

Email notifications to winners, honorable mention designees, and those not selected for an award will be sent in March 2022.

- Challenge Submissions accepted: October 14, 2021 - January 30, 2022 (11:59 PM EST)
- Challenge Submissions screened for eligibility: January 2022
- Challenge Submissions Judged by External Judges: January-February 2022
- NSF Review and Approval of winning entries: February-March 2022
- Winners and Honorable Mentions announced: March 2022
- Presentations by winners and selected honorable mention designees: April 2022

IHEs can submit entries in more than one category, however, only one entry per category will be accepted. If submitting to more than one category, please submit two separate entries noting each category in the Title field as described above.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

If you have questions about the NSF Taking Action: COVID-19 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Challenge, please send an email to:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

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