U.S. Department of Education: Education Innovation and Research Program – Early-phase Grants
The Education and Innovation Research (EIR) program provides funding to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students; and rigorously evaluate such innovations. The EIR program is designed to generate and validate solutions to persistent education challenges and to support the expansion of those solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of students.
All EIR projects are expected to generate information regarding their effectiveness in order to inform EIR grantees’ efforts to learn about and improve upon their efforts, and to help similar, non-EIR efforts across the country benefit from EIR grantees’ knowledge. By requiring that all grantees conduct independent evaluations of their EIR projects, EIR ensures that its funded projects make a significant contribution to improving the quality and quantity of information available to practitioners and policymakers about which practices improve student achievement and attainment, for which types of students, and in what contexts.
Early-phase grants provide funding to support the development, implementation, and feasibility testing of a program, which prior research suggests has promise, for the purpose of determining whether the program can successfully improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students. Early-phase grants must demonstrate a rationale. These Early-phase grants are not intended simply to implement established practices in additional locations or address needs that are unique to one particular context. The goal is to determine whether and in what ways relatively newer practices can improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students.
The Early-phase competition includes three absolute priorities and one competitive preference priority. All Early-phase applicants must address Absolute Priority 1. Early-phase applicants are also required to address one of the other two absolute priorities. Applicants addressing Absolute Priority 3 also have the option to address the competitive preference priority. The absolute priorities and competitive preference priority align with the purpose of the program and the Administration’s priorities.
- Absolute Priority 1—Demonstrates a Rationale, establishes the evidence requirement for this tier of grants. All Early-phase applicants must submit prior evidence of effectiveness that demonstrates a rationale.
- Absolute Priority 2—Field-Initiated Innovations—General, allows applicants to propose projects that align with the intent of the EIR program statute: To create and take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment.
- Absolute Priority 3—Field-Initiated Innovations—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), invites applicants to invest in STEM education. This priority is intended to highlight the Administration’s efforts to ensure the Nation’s economic competitiveness by improving and expanding STEM learning and engagement, including computer science.
- Competitive Preference Priority—Projects designed to improve student achievement or other educational outcomes in computer science. These projects must address the following priority area: Expanding access to and participation in rigorous computer science coursework for traditionally underrepresented students such as racial or ethnic minorities, women, students in communities served by rural local educational agencies, children or students with disabilities, or low-income individuals.
Amount: Approximately $125,000,000 is available for all three types of grants under the EIR program (Early-phase, Mid-phase, and Expansion grants). A total of 18-28 Early-phase grants will range up to $4,000,000 for a project period of 60 months.
Note: At least 25% of funds awarded are designated to applicants serving rural areas, contingent on receipt of a sufficient number of rural applications.
Eligibility: Local educational agency (LEA); state educational agency (SEA); the Bureau of Indian Education; a consortium of SEAs or LEAs; a nonprofit organization; and an SEA, an LEA, a consortium described, or the Bureau of Indian Education, in partnership with a nonprofit organization, a business, an educational service agency, or an institution of higher education.
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