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New Research Grant Opportunity: Announcing the STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums

February 01, 2016 ET


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard

New Research Grant Opportunity Available from IMLS
Announcing the STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums

Washington, DC—IMLS is inviting proposals for special grants for research on informal educational approaches that leverage Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) expertise within communities in the broadest sense. The STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums, or STEMeX, initiative will provide grants up to $1,000,000 for projects of up to two years. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2016.

Through STEMeX, IMLS seeks design-based research projects that develop and explore models for inquiry-based STEM programs delivered by scientists, engineers, and related technical practitioners (STEM experts) to children ages 6-10 and their families. In particular, proposals should address the role of experts’ oral narratives (e.g., storytelling, personal histories, and analogies) as part of object-based science inquiry. Proposals should include information about how findings from this research will be applicable in both museum and library settings. Funded research projects will create a foundation for reaching children and families from diverse geographic, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds, who have different levels of knowledge about STEM.

This special initiative falls jointly under the National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG-Libraries) and National Leadership Grants for Museums (NLG-Museums) programs. National Leadership grants support projects that address challenges faced by the library and museum fields and that have the potential to advance practice in those fields with new tools, research findings, models, services, practices, or alliances that can be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated.

“There is an opportunity to further define best practice models about how scientific and technical experts--whether medical researchers and road engineers or art conservators and dental hygienists--can successfully engage young children and their families in STEM activities and inspire interest in STEM-based careers.  Every community has those experts to draw upon to enhance their informal educational STEM efforts. That is why I am particularly excited to announce this special funding initiative,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “There has already been fruitful and substantive work in this area, enabled by IMLS and others, and this effort will build on those prior investments. The research from this initiative will focus on maximizing the stories and narratives provided by STEM experts as part of programs offered by museums and libraries."

 Eligibility:  Museums; libraries; public or private nonprofit agencies, organizations, or associations that engage in activities designed to advance libraries and museums may apply. In addition, institutions of higher education, including public and non-profit universities, are eligible.

See the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 for full details.

Webinars: To learn more, participate on one of these upcoming webinars:

  • Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Thursday, February 18, 2016, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST

See the IMLS website for information about joining the webinars.

Program Contacts:

You may also contact any of the staff listed under the category that best fits your project.

Office of Library Services
Dr. Sandra Toro, Senior Program Officer,, 202-653-4662
Dr. Trevor Owens, Senior Program Officer,, 202-653-4654

Office of Museum Services
Helen Wechsler, Supervisory Grants Management Specialist,, 202-653-4779
Sandra Narva, Senior Program Officer,, 202-653-4634

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

National Leadership Grants for Libraries
National Leadership Grants for Museums