Opportunity number
NSF 20-572
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12)
Due date
October 05, 2022
Education & Workforce
Project funding
12-15 Level I awards, 30-35 Level II awards, 5-7 Level III awards, and 3 Conference/Synthesis awards. One Resource Center with a budget of up to $3,500,000 will be supported for 3 years in the 2018 fiscal year.
Program funding
Funding size
Up to $5M

Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12)

RFP Summary provided by the agency

The Discovery Research PreK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of STEM education innovations and approaches. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. Projects should result in research-informed and field-tested outcomes and products that inform teaching and learning. Teachers and students who participate in DRK-12 studies are expected to enhance their understanding and use of STEM content, practices and skills.

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

The DRK-12 program invites proposals that address immediate challenges that are facing preK-12 STEM education as well as those that anticipate radically different structures and functions of preK-12 teaching and learning. The DRK-12 program has three major research and development strands:

  • Assessment
  • Learning
  • Teaching.

The program recognizes the synergy among the three strands and that there is some overlap and interdependence among them. However, proposals should identify a clear focus of the proposed research efforts (i.e., assessment, learning, or teaching) consistent with the proposal’s main objectives and research questions. The program supports six types of projects:

  • Exploratory
  • Design and Development
  • Impact
  • Implementation and Improvement
  • Syntheses
  • Conferences.

All six types of projects apply to each of the three DRK-12 program strands.

Normal limits for funding requests of DRK -12 proposals are as follows:

  • Level I projects up to $450,000 with duration of up to three years.
  • Level II projects up to $3,000,000 with a duration of up to four years.
  • Level III projects up to $5,000,000 with a duration of up to five years.
  • Synthesis proposals are up to $600,000 and three-year duration.
  • Conference proposals are up to $100,000 and one-year duration.

The level of funding requested should align with the maturity of the proposed work, the size and scope of the empirical effort, and the capacity of the interdisciplinary team to conduct the proposed research.

How do you submit to this opportunity?

Exploratory projects that advance theory or examine associations among malleable factors that influence learning, moderating conditions, and educational outcomes.
Strategies projects that address the initial design, development, and implementation of innovative, technology-related interventions.
SPrEaD (Successful Project Expansion and Dissemination) projects that support the further examination and broader implementation of interventions that have demonstrated evidence of impact. SPrEaD projects may build on efforts previously initiated through a Strategies project, or prior work supported through other means.

Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Grants.gov or via Research.gov.

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)
  • Non-profit, Non-academic Organizations
  • For-profit Organizations
  • State and Local Governments
  • Unaffiliated Individuals
  • Foreign organizations
  • Other Federal Agencies

Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) 2017 total Funding: $477,443. Through a variety of online curated resources and interactive events, the project will advance topics of relevance and importance to the DRK-12 community, the National Science Foundation, and society; support interaction and collaboration among DRK-12 awardees; and facilitate DRK-12 awardee engagement with policy and practice communities. Informed by their expressed interests and needs, this award expands upon previous work to support the professional growth of early career researchers and developers, with a focus on broadening participation of individuals underrepresented in STEM. The network will support knowledge generation, synthesis, and dissemination with a lens on DRK-12 resources, materials, and tools within and external to the research and development community. The network will also contribute to the knowledge base on the design and implementation of networks intending to support knowledge management and collaboration. https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1650648&HistoricalAwards=false

(ii) Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education 2 (CADRE 2) Total Funding: $1,537,797. This award will focus on support for early career researchers and developers, looking at interests and needs for professional growth. The network will also contribute to the knowledge base on capacity building, and provide a lens on dissemination of DR K-12 resources, materials, and tools within and external to the research and development community. The DR K-12 portfolio includes an estimated 300 projects that are driven by the field yet respond to parameters established by the National Science Foundation. Understanding the scope of the portfolio is important because collectively, the awards produce resources, models, and technologies that can influence the field. Convening the awardees in virtual and person-to-person venues, and promoting collaboration and interaction among the projects, maximizes the collective potential of the projects. With an emphasis on early career researchers and developers, CADRE2’s impact extends into the building of the next generation of scholars. With an emphasis on communication and dissemination of the project findings and experiences, the knowledge related to STEM research will create a more evidence-based understanding of STEM education.


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