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ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions

Grants to USA Nonprofits and IHEs to Promote Equality
Between Women and Men in Eligible Fields

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/06/21 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time - For Adaptation and Partnership requests only.


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education for projects that further the careers of women in eligible fields. A letter of intent or an initial proposal may be required prior to submission of the full proposal. Funding is intended to promote gender equity in STEM field recruitment, retention, and career advancement at academic institutions and workplaces.

The goal of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators. As such, ADVANCE is an integral part of the NSF's multifaceted strategy to broaden participation in the STEM workforce, and supports the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of women in academic science and engineering.

The ADVANCE program aims to broaden the implementation of evidence-based systemic change strategies that promote equity for STEM faculty in academic workplaces and the academic profession.  The NSF ADVANCE program provides grants to enhance the systemic factors that support equity and inclusion and to mitigate the systemic factors that create inequities in the academic profession and workplaces.  Systemic (or organizational) inequities may exist in areas such as policy and practice as well as in organizational culture and climate.  For example, practices in academic departments that result in the inequitable allocation of service or teaching assignments may impede research productivity, delay advancement, and create a culture of differential treatment and rewards.  

Similarly, policies and procedures that do not mitigate implicit bias in hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions could lead to women and racial and ethnic minorities being evaluated less favorably, perpetuating historical under-participation in STEM academic careers and contributing to an academic climate that is not inclusive. 

All the STEM fields supported by NSF are supported by the ADVANCE program including the learning, social, behavioral, and economic sciences.

All NSF ADVANCE proposals are expected to use intersectional approaches in the design of systemic change strategies in recognition that gender, race and ethnicity do not exist in isolation from each other and from other categories of social identity.

The program includes four funding tracks: Institutional Transformation (IT), Adaptation, Partnership, and Catalyst. For a detailed description of these tracks, and for a comparative chart, see

Collaborations between Adaptation and Partnership proposers and projects initiated with NSF funds in the following categories are encouraged with additional funds for the ADVANCE award: Systemic and institutional transformation projects, the NSF INCLUDES National Network, and NSF STEM graduate education.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176005

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

The total number of awards to be made under this solicitation is estimated to be between 18 and 36 over two fiscal years.

Estimated Size of Grant:

In each year, NSF expects to make approximately:

- Six Adaptation awards up to $1,000,000 for three-year long projects
- Six Partnership awards up to $1,000,000 for up to five-year long projects
- Four Catalyst awards up to $300K for two years

Additionally, in FY 2021, the program anticipates making up to two Institutional Transformation awards for up to $3,000,000 for five-years.

NSF anticipates that two to four of the twelve Adaptation and Partnerships projects may qualify for an additional $250,000 for collaborating with a project initiated with NSF funding as stated in Description above.

Estimated Total Program Funding:

Pending availability of funds, NSF anticipates having up to $29,000,000 available over a period of two fiscal years for support of the NSF ADVANCE portfolio. It is expected that up to $15,000,000 will be available for the FY 2021 competition and approximately $14,000,000 will be available for proposals for the FY 2022 competition.

Term of Contract:

Duration of projects:

- Institutional Transformation: Five years
- Adaptation: Three years
- Partnership: Up to five years
- Catalyst: Two years

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

- Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs): Non-profit two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the U.S., acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of U.S. IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a U.S. institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the U.S. campus.
- Non-profit, Non-academic Organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the U.S. that are directly associated with educational or research activities.

Additional Eligibility Info:

- IT-Preliminary proposals are accepted from a non-profit institution of higher education (IHE) eligible for NSF funding that has not had an ADVANCE IT award.
- Adaptation proposals are accepted from a non-profit institution of higher education (IHE) or a non-profit, non-academic organization eligible for NSF funding. IHEs cannot have had an ADVANCE IT or Adaptation award.
- Catalyst proposals are accepted from one non-profit IHE that is not, and has not been, the lead grantee on any type of previous NSF ADVANCE award.
- Partnership proposals are accepted from partnerships of two or more non-profit IHEs and/or non-profit, non-academic organizations. Partners may include past or current NSF ADVANCE grant recipients, new IHEs and organizations to ADVANCE, and unfunded strategic partners (such as the private commercial sector and NSF research and education centers).

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

- Eligible IHEs can submit one proposal to IT-Preliminary, Adaptation, OR Catalyst. IHEs can also be a partner on one or more
Partnership proposals.
- Eligible Non-profit, non-academic organizations can submit one proposal to the Adaptation competition and be a partner on one or more Partnership proposals.
- IHEs and non-profit, non-academic organizations may be partners on multiple ADVANCE Partnership proposals in the same competition but can be the lead organization only on one Partnership proposal in the same competition.

Please note that NSF ADVANCE does not provide fellowships, research, or travel grants to individual students, postdoctoral researchers, or faculty to pursue STEM degrees or research.

ADVANCE does not support the clinical science fields.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Preparing ADVANCE Proposals: Resources and Technical Assistance

2021 ADVANCE pre-proposal preparation technical assistance webinars (click to register below):

- Adaptation proposal development May 25 at 2pm-3:30pm EDT
Meeting registration:

- Partnership proposal development June 1 at 2pm-3:30pm EDT
Meeting registration:

- Catalyst proposal development June 8 at 2pm-3:30pm EDT
Meeting registration:

ADVANCE Program Proposal Preparation Webinar - tentative July 29th 1:30pm-2:30pm EDT registration information to follow - sign up for NSF event notices to get an email notice as soon as this is posted:

Pre-Application Information:

Letter of Intent Deadline Date
- November 3, 2020
- August 2, 2021
- First Monday in August, Annually Thereafter

Letters of Intent are only required for Adaptation and Partnership tracks. Submitting a letter of intent automatically allows you to submit a full proposal. Work on the full proposal should have started well before the letter of intent deadline.

Preliminary Proposal Target Date
April 22, 2021
Fourth Thursday in April, Annually Thereafter

IT-Preliminary proposal Target Date - preliminary proposals are only required for institutions of higher education that want to submit a full Institutional Transformation proposal. IT-preliminary proposals are accepted before and after the target date.

Full Proposal Deadline Date
- February 4, 2021
- August 6, 2021
- First Friday in August, Annually Thereafter

Catalyst proposals

Catalyst proposals are accepted before and after the target date. Please contact the program office before submitting a proposal to discuss timing for submission.
- October 7, 2021
- First Thursday in October, Annually Thereafter

Institutional Transformation proposals - only IHEs encouraged by NSF after review of an IT-Preliminary proposal should submit a full IT proposal
IT proposals are accepted before and after the target date.

Please note that in accordance with the above:
- Adaptation and Partnership grants have set deadlines for Letters of Intent and for Full Proposals, all at 5:00 PM submitter's local time.
- Catalyst grants and Institutional Transformation (IT) grants have flexible deadlines.
a. Catalyst grant proposals are accepted before and after the target date
b. IT-Preliminary Proposals are accepted before and after the target date, and after their submission and review, the IT Proposals are also accepted before and after the target date.

In light of the flexible target dates, Catalyst and IT grant applicants must contact the program office before submitting a proposal to discuss timing for submission.

For details about Letters of Intent and Proposal submission and requirements, see

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For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

About the ADVANCE program:

Webinar Recording:

Contact Information:

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

Jessie DeAro, Program Officer
(703) 292-5350

Erika T. Camacho
(703) 292-2834

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact FastLane Help Desk at telephone: 1-800-673-6188; e-mail:

For questions relating to If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact the Contact Center at telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail:

National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Tel: (703) 292-5111

CFDA Number:

47.041 --- Engineering / 47.049 --- Mathematical and Physical Sciences / 47.050 --- Geosciences/ 47.070 --- Computer and Information Science and Engineering / 47.074 --- Biological Sciences / 47.075 --- Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences / 47.076 --- Education and Human Resources / 47.079 --- Office of International Science and Engineering / 47.083 --- Office of Integrative Activities (OIA)

Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 20-554

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

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