NSF 16-594; ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers
Despite significant increases in the proportion of women pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) doctoral degrees, women are significantly underrepresented as faculty, particularly in upper ranks, and in academic administrative positions, in almost all STEM fields. The problems of recruitment, retention, and advancement that are the causes of this underrepresentation vary by discipline and across groups of women faculty (e.g., by race/ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, foreign-born and foreign-trained status, and faculty appointment type). The ADVANCE program is designed to foster gender equity through a focus on the identification and elimination of organizational barriers that impede the full participation and advancement of all women faculty in academic institutions. Organizational barriers that inhibit equity may exist in areas such as policy, practice, culture, and organizational 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. Policies and procedures that do not mitigate implicit bias in hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions could mean that women and underrepresented minorities are evaluated less favorably, perpetuating their underrepresentation and contributing to a climate that is not inclusive.
The goals of the ADVANCE program are (1) to develop systemic approaches to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic STEM careers; (2) to develop innovative and sustainable ways to promote gender equity that involve both men and women in the STEM academic workforce; and (3) to contribute to the research knowledge base on gender equity and the intersection of gender and other identities in STEM academic careers. The ADVANCE program contributes to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce because of the focus on equity for STEM academic faculty who are educating, training, and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.
There are three program tracks. All projects are expected to build on prior ADVANCE work and gender equity research and literature to broaden the implementation of organizational and systemic strategies to foster gender equity in STEM academic careers. All ADVANCE proposals are expected to recognize that gender does not exist in isolation from other characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, foreign-born and foreign-trained status, faculty appointment type, etc., and should offer strategies to promote gender equity for all faculty:
-The Institutional Transformation (IT) track supports the development of innovative organizational change strategies to produce comprehensive change within one non-profit two-year or four-year academic institution across all STEM disciplines. IT projects are also expected to contribute new research on gender equity in STEM academics. Projects that do not propose innovative strategies may be more appropriate for the Adaptation track.
-The Adaptation track supports the adaptation and implementation of evidence-based organizational change strategies, ideally from among those developed and implemented by ADVANCE projects. Adaptation awards may support the adaptation and implementation of proven organizational change strategies within a non-profit two-year or four-year academic institution that has not had an ADVANCE IT award. Adaptation awards may also be made to a STEM organization to implement systemic change strategies focused across all STEM disciplines, several STEM disciplines, or within one STEM discipline.
-The Partnership track will support partnerships of two or more non-profit academic institutions and/or STEM organizations to increase gender equity in STEM academics. Projects should have national or regional impact and result in systemic change within one STEM discipline, several STEM disciplines, or all STEM disciplines. Partnering STEM organizations can include any entity eligible for NSF support. Partners may include professional societies, industry, non-profit organizations, publishers, policy and research entities, state systems of higher education, higher education organizations, as well as institutions of higher education. Partnership proposals must include a final year focused on sustainability and/or scale-up, communication, and evaluation.
For all proposals, ADVANCE is interested in supporting a range of non-profit academic institution types including: community colleges, primarily undergraduate institutions, minority-serving institutions (e.g. Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions, Alaska Native Institutions, Predominantly Black Institutions and Non-tribal, Native American Serving Institutions), women's colleges, institutions primarily serving persons with disabilities, and master’s and doctoral level institutions.
ADVANCE does not provide fellowships, research grants, or travel grants to individual students, postdocs, or faculty. Undergraduate STEM opportunities can be found at stemundergrads.science.gov and graduate STEM opportunities at stemgradstudents.science.gov.
 All STEM fields supported by NSF are included in the ADVANCE program. STEM includes the learning, social, behavioral, and economic sciences. The program does not include clinical science faculty.