NIH SciEd 2014: Annual Conference for NIH Science Education Projects

Enhancing P-12 STEM Partnerships Through Communication and Collaboration

When:May 4-6, 2014
Where:Bethesda Hyatt, Bethesda, MD

NIH SciEd 2014, held May 4 – 6 in Bethesda, MD, was the third NIH-wide conference for
science education projects funded by the National Institutes of Health. The 76 projects
represented at the conference were funded by the following programs:

  • Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Office of Research Infrastructure
    Programs (ORIP), Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives
    (DPCPSI), Office of the Director
  • Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award (SEDAPA), National Institute on Drug
    Abuse (NIDA)
  • NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education Award
  • Science Education Awards, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
  • National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
  • IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The 205 conference participants included 73 project PIs, 23 Co-PIs, 58 project managers and
other staff, 10 evaluators, 7 teachers, 18 other individuals and 16 federal government
employees, including NIH staff and representatives from other federal agencies involved in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at the pre-kindergarten –
grade 12 (P-12) levels also participated. These included the US Department of Education
(DoE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The theme of the conference was “Enhancing P-12 STEM Partnerships Through
Communication and Collaboration.” A major focus was on identifying opportunities for
synergistic interactions among P-12 STEM projects and programs supported by the five federal
agencies—DoE, NIH, NSF, NASA and NOAA. Camsie McAdams (DoE) first gave an overview
of the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education (CoSTEM) 5-Year
Strategic Federal STEM Education Plan. Next, a representative from each agency presented a
synopsis of their programs. This was followed by breakout sessions in which NIH grantees
presented examples of synergistic interactions among projects funded by NIH and each of the
other agencies. A second set of breakout sessions aimed to identify best practices and
appropriate evaluation methods for projects that address key goals of the CoSTEM Plan.

Additional sets of breakout sessions addressed research and evaluation, collaborating with
diverse groups, collaborating with teachers, engaging graduate students and PhD scientists in
P-12 science education, sharing educational materials developed by projects, and project
administration. Established working groups focused on specific topics or on regional
collaborations also had time to meet. Each project presented a poster about their work.
Participants reported that they returned home energized by gaining new ideas for evaluation
and other project components, learning about funding opportunities, networking and forming
new collaborations