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U.S. Department of Education: Education Innovation and Research Program – Expansion grants

Deadline: April 13, 2017

The Education Innovation and 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 educational challenges and to support the expansion of effective solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of students. 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. All grantees must conduct independent evaluations of their EIR projects.

The EIR Program awards three types of grants: Early-phase, Mid-phase, and Expansion. These grants differ in terms of the level of prior evidence of effectiveness required for consideration for funding, the expectations regarding the kind of evidence and information funded projects should produce, the level of scale funded projects should reach. Expansion grants provide funding for grantees to scale projects that are supported by strong evidence for at least one population and setting and thus are ready to be implemented at the national level, in order to improve outcomes for high-need students. They should also generate important information about educational practices. Expansion grants are uniquely positioned to help answer critical questions about the process of scaling a practice across geographies. Evaluations of Expansion grants must be conducted in a variety of contexts and for a variety of students in order to determine the context(s) and population(s) for which the EIR-supported practice is most effective and how to effectively adapt the practice for these contexts and populations. An Expansion grantee’s EIR-supported evaluation must examine the cost effectiveness of its practices and identify potential obstacles and success factors to scaling that would be relevant to other organizations. Expansion grantees are expected to work toward sustaining their projects and continuing to scale successful practices after the EIR grant period ends; EIR grantees can use their evaluations to assess how their EIR-funded practices could be successfully reproduced and sustained.

The EIR Expansion competition includes two absolute priorities that all applicants must address.

  • Absolute Priority 1—Supporting high-need students: Projects that are designed to improve academic outcomes for high-need students.
  • Absolute Priority 2—Evidence-driven practices: Funding supports projects that meet the evidence standard established for this competition and are designed to improve student achievement and attainment in areas of critical national need. Note: Evidence standard definitions are listed below:

What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations: This is the highest possible rating for a study finding reviewed by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). Studies receiving this rating provide the highest degree of confidence that an estimated effect was caused by the practice studied. Experimental studies may receive this highest rating. These standards are described in the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbooks, Version 3.0, which can be accessed at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Handbooks.
What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations: This is the second-highest rating for a study finding reviewed by the WWC. Studies receiving this rating provide a reasonable degree of confidence that an estimated effect was caused by the practice studied. Both experimental studies (such as randomized controlled trials with high rates of sample attrition) and quasi-experimental design studies may receive this rating if they establish the equivalence of the treatment and comparison groups in key baseline characteristics. These standards are described in the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbooks, Version 3.0 (link provided above).

Amount: A total of $180,000,000 is available, of which approximately $141,000,000 would be used for new awards under the Early-phase, Mid-phase, and Expansion competitions. The range for Expansion grants is $2,750,000–$3,000,000 per year. The average award size for Expansion grants is $14,500,000 for the entirety of the project period, with the maximum award of $15,000,000 for the entire project period. The project period is up to five years. Approximately 3–5 Expansion grants will be awarded. A cost share must be provided from federal, state, local, or private sources, in an amount equal to 10 percent of funds provided under the grant, which may be provided in cash or through in-kind contributions.

Eligibility: Local Educational Agencies (LEAs); State Educational Agencies (SEAs); nonprofit organizations; the Bureau of Indian Education; a consortium of SEAs or LEAs; an SEA, an LEA, a consortium of SEAs or LEAs, or the the Bureau of Indian Education, in partnership with a nonprofit organization, a business, an educational service agency, or an institution of higher education.

Link: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=290713

Note: The deadline for the notice of intent to apply is February 13, 2017.

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