ITEST Solicitation 2022: Initial Tips and Takeaways

ITEST Solicitation 22-585 (2022-2024)

STELAR is pleased to announce that NSF has released the latest ITEST solicitation (NSF 22-585)! We’re just as excited as you to take a deep dive into the revisions for this round of submissions, here are some of our biggest takeaways so far:

Deadline is Friday, August 12, 2022 at 5pm: Proposals should be submitted through by 5pm at the submitters local time. For more information about the new submission guidelines, see NSF Important Notice: is now required for submission of ITEST proposals

As with any successful proposal, a thoughtful timeline for your ITEST proposal is key. You’ll want to start your proposal development process in earnest about three months out from the deadline.

Using the suggested timeline above, here’s an example of a high-level timeline:

  • May 1, 2022: Write a two-page concept paper. Your concept paper will help you organize your ideas, share your ideas with potential partners, and get feedback.
  • May 10, 2022: Finalize proposal-writing team, including key partners
  • May 15, 2022: Complete a detailed outline for your Project Description and proposal documents checklist (including section assignments)
  • July 1, 2022: Finish the first draft of your Project Description and budget, and share with your partners for feedback July 15, 2022: Finalize all supporting documents
  • July 31, 2022: Complete final draft of your Project Description
  • August 1, 2022: begin uploading your supporting documents to
  • August 5, 2022: Upload your Project Description, confirm all supporting documents are complete and uploaded
  • August 12, 2022: we strongly recommend planning a week “buffer” to accommodate any unavoidable deviations from the timeline. Your proposal needs to be officially submitted by 5pm in your local time.

Three ITEST Pillars: The ITEST program description has been reorganized around three key topic areas; technology, careers, and equity which are required to be addressed in your proposal.  While this doesn’t represent a fundamental shift in the program overall, it does streamline the focus of the program.  The full descriptions of each pillar are described in the Program Description section of the solicitation.



Project Types, ETD, DEI, SEI: The three main categories of ITEST project types are the same as in the 2019-2021 solicitation: (1) Exploring Theory and Design Principles (ETD); (2) Developing and Testing Innovations (DTI); and (3) Scaling, Expanding, and Iterating Innovations (SEI). There have been slight changes to the number of anticipated awards and maximum funding amounts within these categories. The number of anticipated ETD awards has increased from 6-8 to 8-10, and the maximum budget has increased from $400K to $500K. The number of DTI awards has stayed the same (8-10), but the maximum funding has decreased slightly from $1.5M to $1.3M. The number of SEI awards has also stayed the same (3 -5), but the total individual award amount has increased from $3M to $3.5M.

ITEST will also fund synthesis studies, conferences/workshops, and a resource center. Please refer to the solicitation for more detailed information about these project types. According to the solicitation, ITEST plans to fund a total of 24 to 33 projects with an anticipated total funding amount of $25-30M.

Solicitation Specific Criteria is the same as the 2019 Solicitation

Your proposals need to address the following questions in the Project Description portion of your proposal. This section should appear in a clearly labeled section of your proposal.

  • Recruiting students from underrepresented groups: “To what extent does the proposal include explicit and adequate strategies for recruiting and selecting participants from underserved and underrepresented populations in STEM professions, careers, or education pathways?”
  • Addressing diversity, equity, and access: To what extent does the proposal describe approaches to address diversity, access, equity, and inclusion in PreK-12 learning environments to ensure that all students, particularly those from underserved and underrepresented populations, actively engage with STEM disciplines and fields that stimulate effective instruction and learning?
  • Leveraging strengths and addressing challenges: To what extent does the proposal describe specific research-informed instructional approaches to build on the strengths and challenges that students and their educators bring to classrooms and informal learning environments, particularly with students from underserved and underrepresented populations in STEM fields?
  • Age-appropriate technology: To what extent does the proposal explain how planned innovations with the technology are developmentally and age-appropriate for students and suited for the specific populations of students and educators from underserved and underrepresented student populations?

STELAR will continue to provide proposal development support to ITEST proposal writers, including concept paper review, webinars, and the online proposal development course (new updates will be posted by 6/1/2022). Stay tuned for additional resources, updates, and announcements!

Here are some of the things we will be releasing in the upcoming weeks:

  • Proposal Development Cheat Sheet: Summary of proposal sections and an outline for the Project Description
  • Re-launched ITEST Proposal Development Course: STELAR has developed a self-paced course for proposal writers. We are working on updating the course to incorporate the new solicitation changes and will have the new version released by June 1, 2022.

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As a reminder, this material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DRL-1312022, 1614697 and 1949200. 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.