Early Career in STEM Education R&D

Early career can take on a variety of meanings within the NSF research and development community. For example, NSF targets junior faculty as one early career population in the CAREER program solicitation. Yet many other new PIs and co-PIs may also consider themselves to be early in their careers. For the purposes of this Spotlight, CADRE is purposefully NOT limiting the definition of early career. Rather, we hope this Spotlight and related resources are helpful to all of our community members who self-identify as early career professionals, or who work closely with them.


Early Career Researchers and Developers in the DR K–12 Program: Needs, Supports, and Recommendations

Early Career Brief Cover ImageThis CADRE brief identifies needs, supports and recommendations for early career researchers and developers in the DR K-12 program, as well as in the broader field of STEM education R&D. This brief explores early career and veteran perspectives related to the following questions: 
1. What topics and types of supports for professional growth do early career researchers and developers need and receive? 
2. To what extent have sources of support proven helpful for early career professional growth, and how? 
3. How might the support and professional development of early career researchers and developers be improved? 

Early Career Opportunities

  • Browse federal opportunities for graduate students at http://stemgradstudents.science.gov/.
  • The IES Pathways to the Education Sciences Research Training Program aims to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in the scientific community by providing an introduction to education research and scientific methods, meaningful opportunities to participate in education research studies, professional development, and mentoring that lead to doctoral study. Find funded programs that support Pathways Fellows.
  • Looking for a post-doc opportunity? Here are 3 places to start: http://www.findapostdoc.com, http://www.postdocjobs.com, and http://www.minoritypostdoc.org.
  • Search the Institute for Broadening Participation's (IBP) Pathways to Science for potential graduate student programs and fellowships.
  • NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in STEM or in STEM education
  • The NSF Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship provides an opportunity for mathematical sciences doctoral students to participate in internships at federal national laboratories, industry and other approved facilities. Application deadline: March 1, 2017 at 8:00 am EST.
  • Postdoctoral and graduate fellowships now included on the AERA Job Board.
  • The Educational Research and Methods (ERM) Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) awards up to four (4) travel grants annually to worthy graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, junior faculty, staff members, or senior ranking faculty transitioning into engineering education. Application deadline: January 30, 2017. Learn more.

CADRE will continue to update early career opportunities.


Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)
NSF's CAREER Program supports "junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations."

2016 NSF CAREER Program Informational Webinar
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, CADRE hosted the 2016 NSF CAREER Program Informational Webinar. This webinar was led by NSF PO Karen King. The presentersMichelle Cirillo, Melissa Luna, and Bill Zahnerare current CAREER awardees who give their perspectives on preparing a CAREER proposal and leading STEM Education projects as first-time PIs. View the slides.

2015 Webinar Recording: Perspectives from DR K-12 CAREER grant awardees 
In this webinar led by NSF PO Karen King, CAREER grant awardees Alicia Alonzo, Tina Grotzer, and Gloriana Gonzalez Rivera share their experiences as first-time PIs on both preparing their proposals and leading their projects. View the slides and recording. If applying, you are encouraged to read the current NSF CAREER solicitation (includes the description of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)) and FAQs.


2016 Videos Featuring DR K-12 CAREER Projects
Featured in the 2016 NSF STEM For All Video Showcase, these 3-minute videos are an engaging way to learn about early childhood work funded by the National Science Foundation's DR K-12 Program.

Virtual Poster Hall 
View a collection of project posters that feature DR K-12 CAREER projects, presented at the 2014 and 2016 DR K-12 PI Meetings.

Active DR K-12 CAREER Awards
View active DR-12 funded CAREER awards in this document. Or search NSF for CAREER awards across NSF programs.

Each year, CADRE selects 10 Fellows to participate in a year-long early career program. The Fellows meet in-person or virtually each month to learn about topics such as publishing, non-university and university career tracks, and proposal writing. At the end of the year, they are invited to participate in a mock review panel at NSF.

Learn more about the Fellows program and our current and past Fellows.

Visit our Mentoring Spotlight for resources related to mentoring strategies and plans.

CAREER Awardees’ group page access.