published December 19, 2012

NCSCE Receives Grant from National Science Foundation to Support SENCER-ISE II, a Three-Year Project to Support Sustainable Partnerships Between Informal Science and Higher Education Professionals Around Issues of Civic Consequence

Applications for a New Awards Program to Be Solicited in January 2013

The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement is establishing the Civic Engagement Partnership Support Awards Program as part of the SENCER-ISE (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities-Informal Science Education) II initiative. Awards of $50,000 each will enable the formation of six partnerships. These partnerships will serve as the centerpiece of SENCER-ISE II, a major new three-year initiative that received funding from the National Science Foundation (DRL 123743) beginning October 1, 2012.

Jointly supported by NSF's Divisions of Research and Learning (DRL) and Undergraduate Education (DUE), the SENCER-ISE II initiative will enable us to explore and evaluate ways to support sustainable partnerships between informal science and higher education professionals around issues of civic consequence.

The goals of the SENCER-ISE II are to:
- form partnerships between higher education and informal science education professionals around compelling civic issues and examine whether these partnerships can bring about a transformation in STEM educational practices,
- create durable partnerships between educators from these sectors and by so doing provide models for others in the wider educational community to follow, and,
- instill in college graduates and ISE audiences the idea that informal science education institutions and activities are a credible, accessible source of high quality "life-long learning" on matters of science, public policy, personal well being, and public welfare.

The new project and the partnership awards are an outgrowth of the SENCER-ISE I initiative, also funded by the NSF (DRL 1001795). SENCER-ISE I supported meetings in March and November 2011 that brought together individuals from higher education and informal science education to gauge interest in and explore possibilities for developing cross-sector partnerships.

With the new initiative, the SENCER-ISE II awards program will enable us to support six partnerships at $50,000 each, payable over a three-year period. In addition to these start-up funds, SENCER-ISE II will provide awardees with technical assistance such as identifying audience outcomes to guide evaluation, selecting resource materials on relevant topics in formal and informal science education, and organizing opportunities to interact with members of other partnerships and the larger SENCER network of faculty and administrators. Randi Korn & Associates and the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences will join the National Center in providing these services to the awardees, and where appropriate, to the SENCER and wider educational communities.

More details about the awards and the application process will be available early in 2013. Completed application packets will be due by 5:00 p.m. (local time) on Friday, March 15, 2013 and awards will be announced on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

Wm. David Burns, Executive Director of the National Center, serves as the Principal Investigator for the SENCER-ISE II project; Alan J. Friedman, Consultant for Museum Development and Science Communication, serves as the Project Director and ISE coordinator; and Ellen Mappen, Senior Scholar at the National Center, serves as the SENCER coordinator. If you would like to receive an application packet and/or have any questions about SENCER-ISE II and the awards program, please contact Ellen Mappen at