Arkansas NSF EPSCoR’s current Track-1 project, Data Analytics that are Robust and Trusted (DART): From Smart Curation to Socially Aware Decision Making is soliciting proposals for project-related mini grants for STEM education, outreach, and broadening participation. This RFP is supported by NSF award #OIA-1946391.

Program Contact

Brittany Hillyer (
Director of Outreach and Education
Arkansas NSF EPSCoR
Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Program Name

DART Education and Broadening Participation Mini Grants

Synopsis of Program

Eligible activities include special events, curriculum development, outreach programs, and related activities that will increase the size and diversity of the STEM-skilled student and worker pipeline in Arkansas, with emphasis on data science and computer science related fields. Successful proposals will align with, but not duplicate the proposed efforts of DART (see list below).

The goals of the education component of DART are to foster the establishment of a Statewide Data Science Educational Ecosystem by:

  • Developing a combination of model programs, degrees, pedagogy, and curriculum including a 9-week middle school coding block; a technical certificate, certificate of proficiency, and associate of science in data science; and a Bachelor of Science in data science with minors or concentrations.
  • Providing resources and training for educators including $5,000 Seed Grants for project-related Education & Broadening Participation (this program); Career Development Workshops for project participants and educators; and K12 teacher professional development on data science topics.
  • Providing educational opportunities inside and outside the classroom for students. Undergraduate and graduate research assistantships in DART labs will be funded along with intensive data science and computing summer camps for undergraduates and research-based capstone projects and internships with industry partners.
  • Ensuring broad participation to impact the pipeline of data science skilled workers through Summer Undergrad Research Experiences in DART labs for underserved students, scholarships for underserved students to the Arkansas Summer Research Institute (ASRI); and by connecting students to opportunities through the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences (ACDS).

Examples of activities that are not eligible for this program include boots-on-the-ground data collection or sampling activities, equipment purchases, or sponsorship-like support for annual or typical programming from the proposing organization.

While boots-on-the-ground data collection will not be supported, an example of an activity that would be eligible is organizing a workshop, training, or some type of special event to teach students how to analyze the data that was collected. The focus of a competitive proposal for this program should be on analysis of data (for proposals involving other scientific domains), specific data science or computing related events and educational opportunities, and activities that reasonably contribute to broadening participation in STEM.

A. Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award

Standard Grant or Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards

20 (4-5 per year pending availability of funds)

Anticipated Funding Amount

Proposers may request up to $5,000 per application.

$100,000 will be awarded over the duration of the project pending the availability of funds.

Submission Timeline

Submissions to this program are accepted on a rolling basis with no applicable deadlines. Proposals submitted in June of any calendar year may be subject to longer processing times due to fiscal year end. Proposals are reviewed within two weeks of submission and notice of award or rejection is typically issued within one month of submission. Proposals for special events should be submitted at least six weeks prior to the event to allow time for review, award processing, and paperwork.

B. Eligibility

Who may submit proposals?

Proposals may be submitted by Arkansas K12 school districts, Arkansas post-secondary institutions, educational service co-ops, non-profits, or other entities supporting data science and computer science related STEM education and outreach activities in Arkansas. Currently funded DART participants are NOT eligible.

Limit on number of proposals per organization

There are no restrictions or limits.

C. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

1. Proposal Pagination Instructions

Each section should be paginated prior to submission.

2. Proposal Font, Spacing, and Margin Requirements

The proposal should conform to the following requirements:

  1. Use one of the following fonts identified below:
    • Arial (not Arial Narrow), Courier New, or Palatino Linotype at a font size of 10 points or larger;
    • Times New Roman at a font size of 11 points or larger; or
    • Computer Modern family of fonts at a font size of 11 points or larger.
    • A font size of less than 10 points may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, figures, tables or diagram captions and when using a Symbol font to insert Greek letters or special characters. Other fonts not specified above, such as Cambria Math, may be used for mathematical formulas, equations, or when inserting Greek letters or special characters. PIs are cautioned, however, that the text must still be readable.
  2. No more than six lines of text within a vertical space of one inch.
  3. Margins, in all directions, must be at least an inch. No proposer-supplied information may appear in the margins.
  4. Paper size must be no larger than standard letter paper size (8 1/2 by 11″).
  5. These requirements apply to all uploaded sections of a proposal, including supplementary documentation.

3. Page Formatting

Proposers are strongly encouraged to use only a standard, single-column format for the text.

The guidelines specified above establish the minimum font size requirements; however, PIs are advised that readability is of paramount importance and should take precedence in selection of an appropriate font for use in the proposal. Use of a small font size makes it difficult for reviewers to read the proposal; Adherence to font size and line spacing requirements also is necessary to ensure that no proposer will have an unfair advantage, by using smaller font or line spacing to provide more text in the proposal.

4. Proposal Title and Cover Sheet (page limit: 1)

Provide complete information requested on the cover sheet (template available in RFP download).

5. Project Description (page limit: 2)

Project descriptions are limited to 2 pages in length and must address the following:

  • What participants/audience does this activity serve, how many, and how will they be recruited?
  • How will you evaluate the impact of the activity, and what will you consider as success (page limit: 1)?

6. References Cited (no page limit)

Reference information is required. Each reference must include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication. (See also Chapter II.C.2.d.(iii)(d)) If the proposer has a website address readily available, that information should be included in the citation. Inclusion of a website address is optional.

Proposers must be especially careful to follow accepted scholarly practices in providing citations for source materials relied upon when preparing any section of the proposal. While there is no established page limitation for the references, this section must include bibliographic citations only and must not be used to provide parenthetical information outside of the Project Description.

7. Additional Required Documents

  1. Cover Sheet (page limit: 1): Cover sheet should be completed with signatures from PI/Primary Contact and Organizational Financial Officer or Authorized Organizational Representatives (AORs).
  2. Budget and Budget Justification (page limit: 2 ): Each proposal must contain a budget for each year of support requested, as well as a cumulative budget for all years. The amounts for each budget line item requested must be documented and justified in the budget justification. The proposal may request funds under any of the categories listed so long as the item and amount are considered necessary, reasonable, allocable, and allowable under 2 CFR § 200, Subpart E, NSF policy[3]. Amounts and expenses budgeted also must be consistent with the proposing organization’s policies and procedures and cost accounting practices used in accumulating and reporting costs.

D. Budgetary Information

Cost Sharing

Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations

The strong preference is that indirect costs (F&A) be waived for proposals submitting to this opportunity. If this is not possible, Indirect cost (F&A) should not exceed 8% in accordance with NSF award conditions for this program.

Budget Preparation Instructions

The total proposed budget should not exceed $5,000 and may be for durations up to 12 months. Each proposal must contain a budget for each year of support requested. The amounts for each budget line item requested must be documented and justified in the budget justification. The budget and budget justification should be prepared using the templates included in this document.

Eligible expenses

  • Support for special events or activities that can be accomplished within the proposed period of performance;
  • Items that directly support the proposed seed project;
  • Expenses including, but not limited to: travel, training, equipment usage fees, consumables, and/or software licenses.

Ineligible expenses

  • Salary support are not permitted for faculty or staff;
  • Subawards are not permitted;
  • Indirect cost (F&A) in excess of 8% are not permitted in accordance with NSF award conditions for this program;
  • Awarded funds may not be used for equipment, including the purchase of computers and computing peripherals.

Proposal Submission

The proposal must be prepared as described above and be submitted as a single PDF document. The cover page must include the signature of an Organizational Financial Officer or Authorized Organizational Representatives (AORs) from the PI/Primary Contact’s Sponsored Programs Office, or equivalent. Proposals that do not include the signature of an AOR from the PI’s sponsored programs office(s), or equivalent, will NOT be accepted.

Proposals should be submitted via email as a single PDF email attachment sent by the PI’s institutional research office (or equivalent) by by the proposal deadline to

E. Merit Review Principles and Criteria

All proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board-approved merit review criteria. The two merit criteria are listed below.

  • Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge in the area of data analytics; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society while also contributing to the achievement of specific, desired outcomes of enhanced collaboration. Additionally, reviewers will be asked to place special consideration on the likelihood that the proposed project will contribute to the broader goals of the DART project.

Additional review criteria include the following:

  • What is the likelihood that the proposed project will increase the number and diversity of STEM-skilled students and workers in Arkansas?

F. Review and Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee that includes representatives from the Arkansas NSF EPSCoR Central Office, plus outside representatives and experts in the relevant fields from academic and research institutions both inside and outside the state. The review panel will make recommendations on each proposal for final determination.

G. General Conditions of the Award / Award Administration Information

Seed Funding Awards are made in the form of a standard grant or cooperative agreement. The Arkansas EPSCoR Office reserves the right to negotiate the budget and the terms of the award. Additional conditions may be specified on resulting award letters.

Arkansas EPSCoR must comply with NSF EPSCoR reporting requirements. Therefore, each Awardee will be required to comply with expenditure report deadlines and submit a narrative outcomes report to the Central Office once the project is complete.

Awardees will also be invited to attend the Arkansas NSF EPSCoR Annual Conference, where one awardee will be invited to give a presentation about their project.

In the event of any changes to contact information regarding the project, Brittany Hillyer must be notified as soon as possible.

All publications resulting from the award must include the following statement of acAll publications resulting from the award must include the following acknowledgement of NSF Support/Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. OIA-1946391. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.