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STEM Outreach Seed Grant


As part of its 2011 national meeting in Washington D.C., the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) held a workshop for area teachers promoting more effective STEM education through the development of outreach partnerships between area Junior High and High Schools and research scientists located in local universities and colleges.  The goals of the workshop were two-fold: 1) to provide the participants with information on effective ways to initiate and develop outreach partnerships and 2) to serve as a “dating service” whereby participating Junior High and High School faculty and University researchers could easily and immediately connect with interested counterparts.   

The goal of the ASBMB STEM Outreach Seed Grants is to incentivize and support the development of outreach programs and partnerships by teachers and researchers.  We plan to award ten grants of up to $2,000 each to teams consisting of one or more Junior High/High School teacher(s) (or other K-12 educator) and one or more university, college, or institutional (e.g. NIH, NSF, USDA) research scientist(s).  Please note, the ASBMB will only fund applications for which partners from both a K-12 institution and a research college, university, or similar institution have been identified.   

No overhead will be provided.  Seed funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including the purchase of laboratory equipment, materials, and supplies; relevant transportation costs; fees associated with pertinent professional development training; or release time to allow one or more partners to participate in planning and training. 

Application Procedures: 

Application for this grant is now closed.

Please direct questions regarding the application site to Weiyi Zhao at    

Each application will consist of three parts: 



 A. Cover Page (Limit 1 page) 

  1. Short title 
  2. Names and institutional affiliations of key personnel, i.e. participating research scientists and K-12 faculty.  Please include complete mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. 
  3. Total funds requested. 

  4. Name and address of responsible official. The ASBMB needs to know who has the authority to receive the funds, provide purchasing services, keep financial records for audit, etc.  The office of sponsored programs at the participating college or university handles these activities on a routine basis. (Note: If the funds are received by one of the participating partners, that person will be requested to complete a W-9 and subject to applicable federal and state taxes.) 

B. Project Description (Limit 2 pages) 

This section should include: 

  1. A realistic plan of action that culminates in K-12 student participation in a STEM activity or series of activities, preferably inquiry-based.  Please describe the rationale behind the selection of the activity(s) to be sponsored and the learning expectations for the participating students. 
  2. An estimate of the number of students expected to participate and their grade level(s). 
  3. The site(s) at which each activity(s) will take place. 
  4. A description of the specific roles of each member of the partnership (While the participation of graduate students and postdoctoral trainees is welcome, the lead for the higher education portion of each partnership team should be a tenured or tenure track faculty member or an established researcher.) 
  5. A description of the methods used to assess the effectiveness of the activity(s). 
  6. Future plans, if any, to continue or further develop these activities. 

C. Supporting Materials 

  1. Brief biosketches (1-2 pages) for the leaders of the partnership team. 
  2. Letters of support from the supervisors of the teachers/faculty/researchers involved giving permission to use needed facilities and invest faculty time. (Up to 3)
  3. A Budget outlining how the funds will be spent.*   

 *We wish to afford applicants the flexibility to be creative in meeting the particular needs of their students.  Hence, we wish to place minimal restrictions on how budget funds should be spent.   For example, teachers could propose ways to modify an experiment that scientists perform in the laboratory that is content and age appropriate.  Alternatively, the scientist could host the teacher in his/her lab to gain the experience necessary for formulating ideas.  The scientist could also visit the classroom to observe the teaching and learning in the school environment.  The grant can fund materials, supplies, or field trips for the proposed activity.   The proposed activity could include an in-class or informal activity such as science fairs or science clubs.  While seed funds can be used for teacher training, a plan consisting of training or preparation alone will not be supported. 

Review criteria 

Factors to be considered will include: 

  1. The underlying rationale for the activity(s) proposed and the potential impact on participating students. 
  2. The degree to which the activity is based in authentic scientific processes (e.g. are students asking questions, critically thinking about approaches, and analyzing their own data?). 
  3. The number of students impacted and their degree of direct, “hands-on” involvement. 
  4. The degree to which the activity takes place within the students’ own school or community environment.   
  5. Feasibility 
  6. Quality of the assessment plan. 
  7. Qualifications of the partnership team. 

While participants of the April 9, 2011 outreach workshop will be afforded preference, applications from other interested teachers and researcher scientists will be considered.  Similarly, while the project targets Junior High and High school students, any application targeting K-12 students will be considered. 

Please direct any questions to: 

Regina Stevens-Truss, Email:  

Peter J. Kennelly, Email: 

Award announcements will be made on or after early July.