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Announcement of Opportunity:
AAS Education & Professional Development
(AAS-EPD) Mini-Grant Program

Cycle 2018.01: Complete proposals submitted by Sunday, 5 August 2018, 11:59 pm EDT, will receive full consideration. Proposals submitted after that deadline may or may not be considered, subject to the availability of funds.

Application form: aas.org/epd • Email questions to epd@aas.org

Summary

The Education Committee of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) invites proposals from US-based AAS members to provide education-related mentoring and professional-development experiences for fellow members. Suitable venues for such experiences include (but are not limited to) AAS and Division meetings, college and university campuses, museums, planetariums, observatories, and online webinars and hangouts. The AAS-EPD mini-grant program will provide direct funding and logistical support for these experiences but will not pay any indirect costs (e.g., overhead). Individual grants will range from $1,000 to $10,000, with a typical amount of approximately $5,000. Note: Proposers requesting to present a workshop at the 233rd AAS meeting in Seattle must also fill out the AAS Workshop Proposal Form by this 5 August 2018 EPD grant proposal deadline, which is earlier than the meeting workshop proposal deadline! Proposals submitted after that deadline may or may not be considered, subject to the availability of funds.Grants will be paid on a reimbursement basis; expenses (including travel expenses) will be reimbursed as they are incurred after grantees submit original, detailed receipts. The AAS does not pay on a per diem basis, nor reimburses without original receipts, including for meals.

Eligibility Criteria

The principal investigator (PI) of the proposed program must be a member of the AAS in good standing and work at an organization or institution in the United States. The EPD experience should be well publicized to, and open to, all AAS members.

Types of Programs to Be Funded

There are a large number of potential professional-development opportunities that would be appropriate to bring to the AAS membership, and the Education Committee expects to support a diversity of proposals. We give examples of previously funded and potential EPD programs, as well as relevant background information to this AO, in Appendix I, but these are only representative. The focus of this mini-grant program is professional development in the area of education and mentoring of AAS members.

Proposals that involve other AAS interest groups, such as committees, and that leverage the talents of AAS members in areas in addition to education, are welcome. Such proposals must include a one-page letter of support from each collaborating AAS group, indicating the amount and nature of the support. For funded proposals, the Education Committee will coordinate with all relevant groups to ensure quality and to avoid duplication of effort.

Support

Support for this program is divided into two parts: logistical support, in which the AAS will subsidize portions of the overall expense of the proposed program, and direct support, in which funds will be provided to the PI to carry out the program. Logistical costs, though transparent to the proposer, are real costs to the AAS; for example, an additional reserved meeting room at an AAS meeting costs additional money and requires the expenditure of additional AAS staff time, for example, to aid in registration.

Examples of what can and cannot be funded with this program:

  • Can be funded:
    • Travel stipends to present EPD programs at AAS, Division, and other meetings.
    • Hotel costs for the days of the proposed activity.
    • Materials needed for the proposed activity (handouts, books, active-learning materials)
    • Costs for online dissemination of the proposed activity materials or products.
    • Funding for speakers, educators, trainers, or facilitators outside of the astronomical community (i.e., who would not fit within any AAS membership category). These people include (but are not limited to) experts in education, mentoring, and diversity from other scientific fields. This funding could include honoraria, travel expenses, and/or other support. Honoraria should be modest.
    • Stipends for graduate and undergraduate students involved in workshop preparation and presentation. These stipends are for the additional work involved in planning and carrying out the workshop and should not be considered a supplement to the students’ normal income.
  • Cannot be funded:
    • Large equipment or other hardware meant to have a permanent use.
    • Salary/stipends for faculty members.
    • Salary/stipends for postdoctoral fellows.
    • Alcoholic beverages.
    • Indirect costs, or overhead, for proposers at colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, etc.

Proposal Requirements

The Education Committee strongly recommends that proposers review the document Improving Accessibility of Astronomical Publications from the AAS Working Group on Accessibility and Disability (WGAD) before writing their proposals. See also the references in Appendix IV.

Online Proposal and Budget Forms:

The proposal must be submitted online using the online application form at aas.org/epd, including downloading and filling out the budget calculation form. The forms request the following information:
  1. Proposal title.
  2. Proposal abstract (up to 300 words).
  3. Planned location for the EPD experience.
  4. Approximate number of expected participants.
  5. Amount of funding requested (Please download and fill out the Budget Calculation Form).
  6. Principal investigator contact information.
  7. Grant administrator contact information.
  8. Proposal text and letters of support in a single PDF file.

Proposal Text (PDF file):

The proposal text must be submitted as a single PDF file in 8.5-by-11-inch portrait format and less than 10 MB in size. The PDF should include these elements:
  1. Cover page (1 page maximum, required) — Proposal title, PI, co-investigators in alphabetical order by last name, proposal abstract, planned location, expected number of participants, and amount of funding requested.
  2. Program justification (2 pages maximum, required) — Justify the need for the proposed EPD program and show that the program will satisfy that need and meet the proposal criteria discussed in Appendix III. Links to web pages or other online resources may be included for reference, but the review panel cannot guarantee that they will read/evaluate them, i.e., all proposals must be entirely self-contained.
  3. References/Figures (1 page maximum, required).
  4. Budget and justification (1 page maximum, required) — An itemized budget accompanied by a brief but clear explanation. Any additional needs, such as logistical support, should be listed here, too. A sample budget for a workshop held at a meeting of the AAS is provided in Appendix II.
  5. Proposed evaluation/feedback/dissemination plan (1 page maximum, required)
  6. Previous workshops or EPD activities presented by the proposal team, e.g., at earlier AAS meetings or at universities, observatories, science centers, etc.
  7. Principal investigator’s curriculum vitae (2 pages maximum, required).
  8. List of co-investigators and other collaborators (1 page maximum, required) — CVs are not required from co-investigators or other collaborators, but a list of all team members is required to avoid conflicts of interest.
  9. Letters of support from AAS committees or other relevant groups (1 page each, required if PI’s team intends to collaborate closely with other AAS groups, not required otherwise) — Each letter should give the nature and amount of financial and/or other support that the collaborating AAS group will provide.

Proposal Review

  • Complete proposals received by the deadline will be ranked using the rubric given in Appendix III and will be funded in priority order based on those criteria.
  • Conflict-of-interest rules will be enforced following typical practices within the AAS and the astronomical community more generally (e.g., following the procedures of the HST Time Allocation Committee).
  • When needed, an outside reviewer may be requested to ensure that a proposal is reviewed sensibly and fairly. Outside reviewers might include professionals from the astronomy-education, physics-education, and/or diversity-education communities or groups involved with professional development in similar fields. Outside reviews will be anonymous and used only to determine relative rankings.

Proposal Notification and Funding Procedures

  • Once final decisions regarding funding have been made, each principal investigator will be informed by email in a timely fashion as to whether their proposal has been approved for funding.
  • PIs of successful proposals will be asked to provide additional information for logistics and planning purposes.
  • Abstracts of successful proposals will be published on the AAS website.
  • For unfunded proposals, we will make a good-faith effort to provide feedback if the proposal oversubscription rate permits and we have reason to expect that additional funding will be available for future proposal cycles.

Application form: aas.org/epd • Email questions to epd@aas.org

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