Applications open for federal STEM education grant programs

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The U.S. Department of Education has opened applications for two science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) grant competitions supported by President Donald Trump’s memorandum on STEM education.

The $75 million “Supporting Effective Educator Development,” or SEED, program will provide fiscal 2018 funding to increase “evidence-based preparation, development, or enhancement opportunities for educators,” according to a statement from the Education Department, with the ultimate goal of preparing more effective STEM teachers. In September, Trump directed Secretary Betsy DeVos to prioritize STEM education for students and training for teachers, mandating that at least $200 million per year in existing grant funds be spent on STEM initiatives.

“Greater access to STEM and computer science programs will ensure that our children can develop the skills they need to compete and to win in the workforce of tomorrow,” Trump said during the signing last fall.

In November, Matt Lira, special assistant for Innovation Policy and Initiatives at the White House’s Office of American Innovation, said the investment will “do amazing things in the economy,” and Trump maintained that supporting STEM fields is “imperative” in his fiscal 2019 budget proposal.

The $120 million Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program will also support STEM and computer science innovations. The EIR program provides funding to “create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale” innovations that enable achievement and attainment for high-need students, as well as evaluate those innovations.

“The pace of technological change and the increasing interconnectivity of the global economy demand individuals who are continually learning and adapting,” DeVos said in a statement. “These grant programs offer unique opportunities for experts in the STEM/CS field to partner with local education agencies to help ensure students are prepared to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

Applications for the SEED program must be in by May 17 and for the EIR program by June 5.

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