Developing a Competitive ITEST Proposal: Tips from the STELAR Center 2022

As the resource center for the NSF ITEST Program, STELAR assists both ITEST grantees and those interested in submitting a proposal. Each year we host solicitation webinars on behalf of NSF, which allow program officers to provide direct information and answer questions from participants. While the webinars are crucial to understanding the requirements of the program, we would like to highlight additional tools, resources, and information that are freely available to assist proposal writers.

ITEST Proposal Development Resources:

STELAR's page on proposal development resources is designed to help those interested in developing a submission. The resources under each heading provide valuable information to help you develop a competitive proposal in response to the current ITEST solicitation.  These include: 

  • Proposal Tips from STELAR - Review a selection of blogs, tips, and tools provided by STELAR to support the development of ITEST proposals that are competitive, well organized, and strengths-based.
  • ITEST Proposal Development Course -  Hosted by STELAR, this self-paced online course is designed for novice NSF proposal writers to develop a full NSF proposal for the ITEST program. Registration is required for access but the course is free of charge and open to all. 
  • Get to know ITEST - View presentations provided by NSF Program Officers highlighting aspects of the current solicitation, requirements, and guidance for those submitting a proposal. 
  • Prepare your proposal for submission - A read of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), specifically Chapter II, is a crucial step in ensuring your proposal meets all NSF requirements. This section also includes information about the use of for proposal submission
  • Develop a robust research design - All ITEST projects are required to include a significant research component, as outlined in the solicitation (Section B1. High-Quality Research Design). Resources in this section support the development of a strong research design.
  • Create an effective evaluation strategy - ITEST projects should also include an external evaluation of the work, which is outlined in outlined in the solicitation (Section B2. Project Evaluation) Resources in this section support planning for project evaluation.
  • Connect with partners – Looking for an evaluator? Interested in connecting with a learning site? Enter your information into our People Connector, or browse entries from others interested in building a partnership.  
  • Reach underserved populations – View Data Briefs, publications, reports, and resources on ITEST project's engagement with and support of youth traditionally underrepresented in STEM subjects. 
  • Develop the workforce of the future – ITEST projects are workforce development projects, focused on increasing students’ knowledge and interest in STEM careers. Read publications on preparing youth for the workforce of the future. 


ITEST Portfolio Overview

This report provides an overview of the ITEST portfolio's current projects. The information included was curated with new ITEST proposal writers in mind so that you can become more familiar with the program and current project trends. We used several data sources to compile this information; NSF's Award Search database, and project survey data collected by STELAR (the New Project Survey and Annual ITEST Survey).

ITEST Project Resources

STELAR maintains a rich library of more than 650 resources; publications, research and evaluation instruments, and curricular materials that have been either utilized in ITEST project work or were written and developed by ITEST projects. Each section is organized into a searchable database, and all entries are highly relevant to the work of the NSF ITEST Program. Each resource includes a list of the ITEST projects that have developed or used these resources in their project work, with links to more information about each project.  

Examples of funded ITEST Projects

Our website houses an archive of current and past ITEST project descriptions, which can be filtered by discipline, project participants, project grade spans, project settings, states where work occurs, and project status. Within each page, you can read the project’s description, leadership and project staff, and view related resources uploaded by the project.   

We encourage you to browse the project profiles to see what projects have already been funded; read ITEST Program Findings to discover what the previously funded ITEST projects have learned from their research and implementation efforts; and search within resources to find instruments and curricular materials used and developed by ITEST projects. 


STELAR is a Resource 

We hope that the resources highlighted above are useful in your proposal development efforts. If you need assistance locating something not covered above, or have other questions about the proposal development process, please reach out to us by email.

We look forward to supporting your development efforts!