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Major Education-Related Sponsors

This is an illustrative (not exhaustive) list of prominent funders of education-related research.

Federal Agencies

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Funding for education-related research from NEH primarily comes from two divisions: Division of Education Programs and Division of Research Programs.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH has 28 institutes and centers that may have opportunities occasionally.

The NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) supports educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. SEPA encourages the development of innovative educational activities for P-12, pre-service and in-service teachers, and students from underserved communities with a focus on Courses for Skills Development, Research Experiences, Mentoring Activities, Curriculum or Methods Development, and Outreach.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Directorate for Education & Human Resources (EHR)

EHR is MLFTC’s most popular source for funding from NSF. The directorate has four divisions, each with a unique focus on STEM education at all levels and in all settings.

  1. Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) 
    1. Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
    2. Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12)
    3. Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)
    4. STEM + Computing K-12 Education (STEM+C)
    5. Division of Graduate Education (DGE)   
    6. Division of Human Resource Development (HRD)
    7. Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
      1. Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE:EHR)
      2. Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

The EHR Core Research (ECR) program solicitation is available within any of the four divisions. The EHR Core Research program (ECR) invites proposals for fundamental research that advances knowledge in one or more of the three Research Tracks: Research on STEM Learning and Learning Environments, Research on Broadening Participation in STEM fields, and Research on STEM Workforce Development

Directorate for Social and Behavioral Economics (SBE)

SBE funds basic research on people and society, seeking to understand human behavior individually and in groups.

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)

The CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide activity supports “early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.” Faculty can apply to the CAREER program through any of the NSF directorates and divisions

Dear Colleague Letters (DCL)

NSF distributes DCLs that are can be Foundation-wide or directorate/division specific. Each DCL has a distinct topic and instructions for applicants. Review the details of each DCL to learn more.

U.S. Department of Education (DOEd or ED)

Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
IES supports research that addresses important issues in education and develops solutions that improve school readiness and academic achievement for all students.

IES has four centers under its umbrella (MLFTC receives funding mostly from NCER and NCSER)

  1. The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)
  2. The National Center for Education Research (NCER)
  3. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  4. The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)

IES offers several funding opportunities. The most common opportunities include:

  1. Education Research Programs
  2. Special Education Research Programs
  3. Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Education Interventions
  4. Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Special Education Interventions
  5. Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) – Opportunity to partner w/ Small Businesses

Click here to see a list of funded projects at ASU.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)

Through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), OSERS offers an array of funding opportunities, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Discretionary Grants, such as:

  1. Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities

a. Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel

b. Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs

c. Leadership Professional Development Programs: Increasing the Capacity of Leaders to Strengthen Systems Serving Children with Disabilities

2. Educational Technology, Media, and Materials For Individuals with Disabilities

a. Stepping-Up Technology Implementation

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)

Through 9 offices, OESE supports a variety of programs. The Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) was recently consolidated with OESE. Funding programs include:

  1. Javits Gifted and Talented Education (CFDA 84.206A)
  2. Education Innovation Research (EIR)
  3. Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP)
  4. Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED)

Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)

OPE has 3 divisions offering a variety of funding opportunities, including:

  1. International Research and Studies Program
  2. Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program

Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE)

Includes adult education and literacy and academic and technical education.

State Agencies and Foundations

Arizona Community Foundation (ACF)

Houses (and administers) local foundations and acts as a clearinghouse for AZ philanthropists. Quality Education is one of their Strategic Investment Priorities.

Arizona Department of Education (ADE)

The ADE is both a source of potential funding (i.e., subcontracts) and a source for state-wide data.

APS Foundation

The APS Foundation supports academic achievement in STEM. Their funding targets projects that help educators increase knowledge in STEM subjects or on transferring STEM knowledge effectively to students. Universities are only eligible for funding once each calendar year; March 1st & Sept 1st deadlines run as Limited Submissions with ASU Foundation.

First Things First (FTF)

FTF is an early childhood organization that offers regional and statewide grants and contracts. FTF invests in strategies and programs that support the development, health and learning of children birth to age 5 (before kindergarten).

Helios Education Foundation

Helios works in Arizona and Florida. The Foundation’s community investments are on success in postsecondary education with emphasis in 3 areas: early childhood education, college and career readiness, and postsecondary success. View their Investment History to see prior awards to ASU and ASU Foundation.

National Foundations

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation works to improve the quality of life for individuals around the world. Their strategies often include education. Gates makes grants through relationships with potential grantees and through public RFPs.

Spencer Foundation

Spencer Foundation funds education research exclusively. Education is “broadly conceived,” allowing investigators to propose research on the topics they feel are most pressing.

Conference Grants

These grants support small research conferences and focused symposia to bring together researchers to build upon and advance best practices in education research.

Lyle Spencer Research Awards to Transform Education

The foundation’s largest award, the Lyle Spencer Research Awards to Transform Education support 5-year research projects up to $1 million, with a commitment to lasting improvement.

NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

This competitive and prestigious fellowship program supports early-career scholars focused on improving education.

See Early Career Research Funding and Award Opportunities

Research Grants on Education: Small

The small research grants support education research projects with budgets up to $50,000 for up to five years. 

Research Grants on Education: Large

The large research grants support education research projects with budgets up to $500,000 for up to five years.

Research-Practice Partnerships: Collaborative Research for Educational Change

The Research-Practice Partnerships supports education research with budgets up to $400,000 for up to three years. Through partnerships, the research will result in new insights into the processes, practices, and policies that improve education.