2023 DRK-12 PI Meeting Call for Proposals

2023 DRK-12 PI Meeting: Making Connections

Call for Proposals
Submissions due January 20, 2023

The Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE), the resource network for NSF DRK–12 awardees, is pleased to host the 2023 DRK–12 PI Meeting on June 28–30 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington VA. Programming will begin midday on June 28, continue for a full day on June 29, and end midday on June 30. The meeting will provide opportunities for learning, networking, and substantive conversations for approximately 300 DRK–12 project leaders, NSF program directors, and CADRE Fellows. Invited projects are allowed one registrant (PIs are encouraged to attend). Virtual events will be held in the weeks leading up to the in-person meeting and will be open to additional project members and guests.

The purpose of the meeting is to engage the DRK–12 community in:

  • Addressing the critical needs and opportunities in preK–12 STEM education and research 
  • Building and sharing new knowledge, best practices, and tools critical to increasing the impact and sustainability of our collective work over time
  • Developing and maintaining professional connections that may result in future collaborations and innovations
  • Supporting attendees at different stages of their careers and projects at different stages in their cycle of research

CADRE, NSF, and the DRK–12 PI Meeting Planning Committee are pleased to announce a Call for Proposals. 

The Call for Proposals is informed by the input of the DRK–12 PIs through survey responses, past DRK–12 PI meeting evaluations, NSF, and the PI Meeting Planning Committee.

Session Content

CADRE invites proposals for highly interactive, concurrent sessions that are responsive to the purpose of the meeting, the focal areas as outlined below, and the potential interests of DRK–12 project members and meeting guests. While proposed session topics may fit into multiple focal areas, we ask that you select the one that is most central in the information you plan to address. We also invite sessions outside of the focal areas that address problems of practice as well as sessions that reflect other areas of interest to the DRK–12 community and that will advance the knowledge and impact of our research and development efforts. (See additional sections below for information about additional ways to share expertise and project information, and for instructions about how to submit a proposal.)· All concurrent sessions must go beyond a simple showcase of project work; poster presentations are reserved for this purpose. Concurrent session proposals may feature any of the formats outlined below and may be designed for either (1) early career scholars and offered online during the virtual portion of the meeting that will precede the in-person gathering or (2) researchers leading projects who are invited to attend the in-person meeting.

Additional programming (e.g., networking, poster sessions, meetings with program officers) will occur during the in-person meeting. More information about how to engage in those opportunities will follow.

Focal Areas

  • Attending to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in Our Work and Relationships: NSF has sought to support efforts to broaden participation in STEM and to develop more just and inclusive STEM learning environments. At the same time, we know that this work poses challenges across various dimensions of DRK–12 research. We therefore invite session proposals that address research processes and foci related to increasing our understanding of and strategies for addressing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) in preK–12 STEM education and research. Proposed sessions may address building DEIJ into all aspects of study design, implementation, analysis, dissemination, and evaluation efforts, and may tackle questions such as: 
    • What are we learning about challenges and promising approaches to teaching STEM subjects to multilingual, Indigenous, and other people of various races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, disabilities, and geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds (e.g., culturally responsive and social-justice-oriented teaching)? 
    • How are we attending to and addressing systemic racism? 
    • Whose voices and perspectives are included in our projects, and how? 
    • How are our models and methodologies serving the communities with whom we work? 
    • In what ways are we developing interventions and materials that are responsive to stakeholders and their contextual constraints and opportunities, including policies and political landscapes? How can we build the capacity of the next generation of researchers to work toward DEIJ? 
  • Responding to the Changing Education and Research Environment: The DRK–12 community shares long-standing commitments to partnership-building, engagement with teachers and other school-based stakeholders, and impacts in K–12 classrooms. Honoring these commitments is an ongoing challenge for education researchers where policies and socio-economic factors are ever evolving and a consistent topic of discussion within the DRK–12 community. The global pandemic has only served to amplify challenges with teacher recruitment and retention, conducting research and brokering access to schools, and teachers’ willingness to innovate around STEM. The pandemic-related impacts on students, families, and communities require heightened attention to productively navigate effective STEM education. In short, it is arguably more challenging than ever to collaborate and work with (and in) K–12 settings. We invite contributions that help illuminate these unique challenges as well as strategies employed by DRK–12 project teams to address them. Such topics may include creative responses to changing conditions necessitated by the pandemic, recruitment and maintenance of relationships with project partners, ways in which the pandemic has altered classroom practice, and/or new opportunities afforded by the pandemic. The goal of these sessions is to share both challenges and successes to enhance the DRK–12 community’s resilience to present and future challenges to STEM education innovation and research. 
  • Building Partnerships and Collaborating: Collaboration and partnerships are integral components of every DRK–12 project. We often form multi-member, multi-disciplinary, and even multi-institution project teams. We work with districts, schools, teachers, and other stakeholders as we form, engage in, and build on our studies. We invite session proposals that explore the role of partnerships before, during, and after a grant, and approaches to successful collaboration. Proposals may have the goal of sharing expertise and/or bringing together groups to discuss approaches to common challenges such as leading and coordinating successful collaboration within a broad team, especially when there are competing perspectives and priorities; recruiting districts/schools/teachers for educational research, putting together convincing research packets to win district research approval, and developing memoranda of understanding; building successful relationships and partnerships with educators as part of research teams from the initial project planning through dissemination; equitably and effectively engaging practice partners in all aspects of a project from conception to dissemination, and everything in-between; attending to power structures; reducing the burden on participating practice partners; or managing logistics and budgets across partnerships. 
  • Making an Impact and Disseminating Our Research and Products to Various Audiences: Dissemination is a key component to any successful research and development project. If you have experience or ideas related to any of the following questions, we invite proposals for forums for sharing experience and expertise, Crossroads Model-type discussions of vexations and ventures, workshops providing technical assistance and skill building in engagement and communications, or sessions that otherwise address issues of outreach, dissemination, engagement, knowledge use, and impact.
    • Do you have a creative plan that moves beyond traditional means of disseminating research findings and products? 
    • Do you have strategies for broadening the reach and impact of research? Or instruments for measuring that impact? 
    • How are you supporting knowledge use as it relates to the outcomes of your work? 
    • Do you have ideas to share about how to manage time for dissemination while collecting data? 
    • Have you found effective strategies for continuing dissemination after your project funding ends? 
    • Are you interested in organizing a special issue of a journal? 
    • Do you have experience and expertise to share about writing editorials, e-books, or other resources for practitioners or policymakers? 
    • How have you effectively communicated about the findings and products of your project to the public? 
    • How are you satisfying the broader impacts criteria of the merit review? Is research only as valuable as its impact?
  • Building on Our Work: As researchers and developers, we often seek to build on our current or previous work. We want to figure out how to expand funding on existing projects, leverage a current project for the next NSF project, or move beyond the limits of NSF funding to create a sustainable and/or scalable intervention model or materials. Sometimes, we seek to build off of outcomes, models, and products developed through other NSF-funded projects. The NSF’s Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development points out that building knowledge (and related outputs) is complex, is not necessarily linear, and does not flow only in one direction (i.e., from basic research to studies of effectiveness). But how can we effectively plan for building on our work, especially after the current funding period is over? How do we plan for sustainability and/or scale-up early, perhaps before we even know if project outcomes warrant it? Or how do we just preserve and share resources and products created through NSF projects after our active funding period? 

    For this focal area, we invite session proposals that provide meeting participants with the opportunity to discuss and learn about strategies and successful approaches to address these challenges and advance research and development that has garnered investment (e.g., NSF's investment in the form of funding, project team and participants’ investment in the form of time and effort) and shown evidence of effectiveness in contributing to the understanding and improvement of preK–12 STEM education.

  • Innovations in Interdisciplinary Subjects: Multidisciplinary and convergent research is increasingly important in the scientific enterprise of our nation as envisioned by NSF. Educational research on integrated STEM education will help build interdisciplinary competence among K–12 students for addressing complex problems in the real world and foster collaboration among STEM teachers from different subjects to broaden their teaching perspectives. Climate change provides an example of how a complex challenge can be tackled using only holistic views based on a multitude of interdisciplinary efforts, including natural sciences and social sciences. As another example, the pervasiveness of data science across all disciplines may provide a new connective tissue to integrate STEM in K–12 education. Research and development focused on data literacy and data science education have the opportunity to bring together multidisciplinary perspectives and approaches. Session proposals submitted to this focal area should share innovative ideas and stories of successful multidisciplinary and convergent research and integrated preK–12 education or bring together different perspectives that can build toward better interdisciplinary approaches in preK–12 research and development projects.
  • Designing and Conducting Research Projects: Whether you are a veteran PI or a first-time awardee, you have likely considered or sought information on new, innovative, and effective research methods, design processes, evaluation approaches, project management strategies, and other aspects of successfully implementing a DRK–12 award. Even after receiving the exciting news that a proposal has been funded, awardees have shared that there are many opportunities, challenges, and realities involved in implementing the proposed scope of work that can be challenging to navigate and affect the course of the project. There is a breadth of knowledge and experience in designing and conducting research projects within the DRK–12 community, especially early stage design and development projects. 

    We invite awardees to share their collective knowledge about research design and methodologies, data collection and analysis, managing project activities and budgets, effective approaches for external review, and/or other aspects of successfully implementing DRK–12 awards. Sample topics include design-based research approaches, developing quasi-experimental designs, conducting instructional observations, managing scope creep, and responding to local contexts.

Session Structures

Awardees are invited to submit proposals of the following session types and formats. (Sessions will be scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes unless otherwise proposed.)

  • Thematic Sessions: Sessions involve collaboration—preferably among two to five projects—to develop a topic, lead the session, and facilitate discussion. Sessions must provide multiple perspectives on specific aspects of the focal topics, approaches to common challenges in DRK–12 work and research, and/or responses to a question that might inform other projects. Sessions must be designed to promote interaction. One possible structure is a panel. Multiple presenters representing multiple DRK–12 projects may form a panel to discuss and provide perspectives on a topic that spans their work, but must include time for participant interactions (e.g., small-group discussion). 
  • Technical Assistance Sessions: One or more presenters provide knowledge and skill building (e.g., approaches to dissemination to various audiences) to session participants. They may share technical and/or methodological innovations and expertise. The knowledge or skills shared during this session must be applicable outside of the presenters’ own projects, and participants should have the opportunity to apply the knowledge or practice the skill under the guidance of the presenters during or following the session.
  • Working Sessions: Sessions are focused on engaging small groups of participants in producing a concrete deliverable. As an example, a working session might summarize a group of adaptive innovations that have been developed in response to recent changes in education or produce recommendations for future research in an area. 

Identifying Potential Session Collaborators

CADRE encourages awardees to coordinate sessions with colleagues across institutions and projects. For those interested in finding colleagues engaged in work that may collectively create the basis for a compelling session, we encourage you to review the list of projects invited to the meeting (see our email containing the list) and to visit CADREK12.org to learn more about their awards. Please email cadre@edc.org with a description of your session idea and for information about possible matching projects. 

Informal Expertise Sharing

In addition, we invite those with successful experiences/expertise in the focal areas outlined above who are interested in sharing approaches, resources, tips, or other advice with colleagues to contact us at cadre@edc.org. We will organize small-group roundtables or other structures around areas of expertise.

Proposal Submission Instructions

Please submit your proposal online no later than 11:59 pm ET January 20, 2023. Since you will not be able to return to the site and edit your submission, we suggest that you collect the required information ahead of time—using this template as a guide—and transfer the information to the submission form when ready.

Proposals should include the following. More detailed information is available in the session submission template (linked above).

  • Session title, format, length (if longer or shorter than the standard 1 hour and 15 minutes), capacity
  • Session focal area
  • Keywords (e.g., research participants, content area, grade band)
  • Question or issue that is the primary focus of the session
  • Session summary (limited to 25 words) and description (limited up to 1000 words, no graphics): Include how the session will address the focal area and the session objectives, structure/format, plan for interaction with the participants, and expected outcomes. If your proposed session will not address one of the focal topics, please include an argument for the importance of the topic and discussion you are proposing. To be considered, proposals must define a specific plan for significant and meaningful participant engagement.
  • Presenter(s) information (i.e., name, organization, contact information, DRK–12 project): Proposed presenters must be included on the invitation list for the 2023 DRK–12 PI Meeting. (Refer to the invitee list sent to PIs in the email announcing the Call for Proposals.) Invitations to register will be sent to active DRK–12 PIs in January. Each presenter is allowed to lead only one session but may be a co-presenter on more than one session.

Opportunities to Present about Individual Projects

Poster sessions and associated topical networking opportunities (including the Digital Learning Arcade) do not require submission of a session proposal. During meeting registration, registrants will have the opportunity to sign up to present a project poster. Posters and the Digital Learning Arcade will be the primary mechanism to share information and products related to individual projects. Please do not submit an individual poster proposal through this Call for Proposals. Group poster sessions that address a focal area and are structured in an acceptable form of meeting session as described above are allowable.

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by the PI Meeting Planning Committee and CADRE staff. The final agenda will combine sessions and interactions that are varied in structure and content. If a session is chosen for inclusion in the meeting, the session contact person will be notified in March 2023. Those whose session proposals are accepted will be expected to engage in additional conversations with the meeting organizers to discuss the session plan to ensure quality and coherence across the agenda as well as technical preparedness.

Criteria for selection:

  • A complete proposal (i.e., containing all relevant elements outlined in proposal submission instructions above)
  • Effective plan to engage session participants in discourse and/or activity that has the potential to benefit the participants, such as a product developed, new ideas generated and documented, and/or materials shared
  • Potential to generate new insights or research directions for the DRK–12 community as well as the field at large
  • All presenters must upload their presentation materials prior to their session. More information about presenter responsibilities, subsequent deadlines, and session logistics will be sent to those whose proposals are accepted.


Deadline: January 20, 2023
QUESTIONS? Email cadre@edc.org