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U.S. Department of Education: Education Innovation and Research Program – Mid-phase 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. This notice invites applicants for Mid-phase grants, which provide funding to support scaling of projects supported by moderate evidence for at least one population or setting to the regional level, or to the national level.

EIR Mid-phase projects are expected to refine and expand the use of practices with prior evidence of effectiveness, in order to improve outcomes for high need students. They are also expected to generate important information about an intervention’s effectiveness, including for whom and in which contexts a practice is most effective. Mid-phase grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the EIR-supported practice that the project implements and expands. The evaluation must identify and codify the core elements of the EIR-supported practice that the project implements in order to support adoption or replication by other entities; furthermore, the evaluation must examine effectiveness of the project for any new populations or settings that are included in the project. Mid-phase grantees should measure the cost effectiveness of their practices using administrative or other readily available data, and test and validate alternatives to practices that are too costly or inefficient.

The EIR Program has five absolute priorities. Mid-phase applicants must address Absolute Priority 1, and also must address one of the other four absolute priorities.

  • Absolute Priority 1—Supporting high-need students: Projects are designed to improve academic outcomes for high-need students.
  • Absolute Priority 2—Improving early learning and development outcomes: Projects are designed to improve early learning and development outcomes across one or more of the essential domains of school readiness by sustaining students’ improved early learning and development outcomes from Pre-K programs throughout the early elementary school years.
  • Absolute Priority 3—Social-behavioral competencies: Projects are designed to help students improve their social skills, behaviors, or underlying cognitive abilities that support social-behavioral competencies; improve students’ mastery of non-cognitive skills and behaviors (e.g., academic behaviors, perseverance, social and emotional skills, and approaches toward learning strategies) and enhance student engagement in learning; and identify better ways of measuring the impact of students’ social-behavioral competencies on student achievement.
  • Absolute Priority 4—Improving low-performing schools: Funding supports strategies, practices, or programs that are designed to improve outcomes for students in low-performing schools.
  • Absolute Priority 5—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 standards are defined as follows:

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).

Moderate evidence means the following conditions are met: (a) There is at least one experimental or quasi-experimental design study of the effectiveness of the practice with a relevant finding that Meets WWC Evidence Standards with or without reservations; (b) the relevant finding in the study is of a statistically significant and positive effect on a student outcome or other relevant outcome, with no statistically significant and overriding negative evidence on that practice from other findings on the intervention reviewed by and reported on the WWC that meet WWC Evidence Standards with or without reservations; (c) the relevant finding in the study is based on a sample that overlaps with the populations (e.g., the types of student served) or settings proposed to receive the practice (e.g., an after-school program studied in urban high schools and proposed for rural high schools); and (d) the relevant finding in the study is based on a large sample and a multi-site sample.

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 of Mid-phase grants is $1,400,000–$1,600,000 per year. The average award size for Mid-phase grants is $7,750,000 for the entirety of the project period, with the maximum award of $8,000,000 for the entire project period. The project period is up to five years. Approximately 15–20 Mid-phase 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=290708

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

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