Request for Information (RFI): FY 2016-2020 Strategic Plan for the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs: Office of Science Education/Science Education Partnership Award

Notice Number: NOT-OD-15-055

Key Dates
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Response Date: New Date March 16, 2015 per issuance of NOT-OD-15-071. (Original Date: March 2, 2015)

Related Announcements
February 26, 2015 - Notice of Deadline Extension for NOT-OD-15-055. See Notice NOT-OD-15-071.

Issued by
Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)


Through this Request for Information (RFI), the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) invites comments on the scope and approach used by the Office of Science Education/Science Education Partnership Award (OSE/SEPA). Comments are encouraged from researchers in academia and industry, science teachers, education advocates and health education advocacy organizations, scientific or educational professional organizations, science centers and museums, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public.

  • Individuals are strongly urged to reply. 
  • Organizations, such as advocacy or professional groups, are encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the views of their organization and membership as a whole.


ORIP supports activities designed to promote and improve the scientific training at all levels of scientific study ranging from the elementary school student to well established senior scientists. ORIP’s OSE/SEPA supports activities designed to promote and improve the scientific training of pre-kindergarten to grade 12 (P-12) teachers, students, and the general public. For example:

  • SEPA R25 research science education awards support the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational resources for P-12 teachers and students in underserved and minority communities. 
  • SEPA supported resources include classroom-based curricula, laboratory-based authentic research experiences, and teacher professional development.   
  • SEPA funding supports informal science education (ISE) exhibits and community outreach activities in museums and science centers.
  • SEPA teacher professional development resources provide teachers with STEM content and research based pedagogical approaches to help them become more effective educators. 
  • Student evaluation outcomes and published reports have shown that OSE/SEPA curricula and hands-on laboratory experiences provide students from underserved communities with the STEM skills needed to pursue biomedical research careers.

Information Requested

Please provide your comments on the following issues as they relate to the mission and program areas of OSE/SEPA (;, as related to its major objectives for the next five years. Comments can include but are not limited to the following areas:

Expanding Career Opportunities in Biomedical and Veterinary Research

  • Relative strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches programs typically employ to expand the pool of students interested in careers in the biomedical workforce (science teacher professional development or student enrichment programs e.g., summer research internship programs).
  • Possible roles that SEPA might use to potentially better utilize the NIH extramural research community as a resource in teaching, mentoring, and providing educational opportunities for pre-college students and teachers.
  • Promotion of a better appreciation on the part of science teachers and students of the importance of "STEM skills" in a variety of careers not immediately considered STEM fields. Most P-12 students will never aspire to careers as biomedical researcher, clinician scientists, or most other clearly “STEM” professions. However, there are many career paths such as science writer, actuary, clinical nurse, veterinarian, technology transfer officer, etc. that make heavy use of “STEM skills.”
  • Approaches that the SEPA could use to support replication of programs once they have been proved effective by rigorous evaluation. Reports on federally funded STEM investments consistently recommend the replication of programs once they have been proved effective by rigorous evaluation.
  • Suggestions on how NIH can better coordinate its large portfolio of pre-college STEM activities in order to enhance their effectiveness and potential for SEPA to clarify its unique role as part of this portfolio.
  • The ways in which the SEPA program supports the Federal STEM Education 5-year Strategic Plan– and opportunities that may exist for SEPA to support the Federal STEM education programs at other federal entities, e.g. NSF, NASA, Department of Education.

Educating the Community: Public Health Literacy and Animal Models in Research

  • Relative effectiveness of various venues for educating P-12 students, parents and the community about the ethical use of animals: In-school; After-school; Family health night; Science Fairs; etc.  
  • New approaches SEPA might use to improve community health literacy and public understanding of the NIH mission and as well as an understanding of the goals and benefits of basic and clinical research.

How Submit a Response

All responses must be submitted electronically by New Date March 16, 2015 per issuance of NOT-OD-15-071. (Original Date: March 2, 2015). Submit responses at Responses to this RFI Notice are voluntary. The submitted information will be reviewed by the NIH staff and may be made available to the public. Submitted information will not be considered confidential. Responses are welcome from associations and professional organizations as well as individual stakeholders.

This request is for information and planning purposes and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation of the Federal Government or NIH. No awards will be made based on responses to this Request for Information. The information submitted will be analyzed and may be used in reports or presentations. Those who respond are advised that NIH is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of your comments, or provide comments on your submission. No proprietary, classified, confidential and/or sensitive information should be included in your response. The NIH and the government reserve the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any future solicitation(s).


Please direct all inquiries to:

L. Tony Beck, PhD, Director
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Telephone: 301-435-0805