Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation–2022 Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education

Applications due March 17

These instructions are for VU investigators. VUMC investigators should visit the OOR funding opportunity site.

Vanderbilt University may submit one letter of inquiry as lead institution to the 2022 Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education program from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The DEI in STEM Higher Education Program at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is seeking to invest in Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and in the establishment of partnerships between MSIs and graduate programs at other colleges and universities. The foundation’s Equity-minded Pathways to STEM Graduate Education program will support institutional pathways from MSIs to master’s and doctoral degree programs in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, data science, Earth sciences, economics, engineering, marine science, mathematics, physics and statistics. Sloan’s intent is to create and strengthen diverse, inclusive and equitable pathways to and through STEM graduate education with the recognition that student pathways are too often disrupted by systemic racism, discrimination and bias through prevailing institutional and departmental policy and practice.

With these understandings, the Sloan Foundation is soliciting letters of inquiry (LOIs) for projects that seek to dismantle systemic barriers and create sustainable pathways to graduate education in the above disciplines for Black, Latinx and Indigenous students. Compelling LOIs will result in the invitation of a full proposal.

Proposed projects may take multiple forms, for example: planning activities on MSI campuses that set the stage for new pathways between MSIs and graduate programs at other MSIs or at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs); projects that establish mutually beneficial partnerships between undergraduate and graduate programs at two or more institutions, at least one of which must be an MSI; and reform of graduate recruitment efforts, admission policies and processes, mentoring practices and other gatekeeping (or gateway) structures within STEM graduate programs that open doors for students from MSIs. In short, Sloan is looking to invest in efforts that seek to change the nature of graduate pathways at multiple levels instead of reinforcing existing systems that fail to truly serve many Black, Latinx and Indigenous students.

Grant types and amounts

Three types of grants will be funded:

  1. Planning grants to support two or more institutions to conduct internal reviews of existing barriers to student success, and for analysis and planning for future systemic change partnerships/collaborations ($75,000 for one year);
  2. Seed grants to support work at two or more institutions that seek to formalize existing systemic change partnerships/collaborations and launch a small set of pilot initiatives ($250,000 over one–two years); and
  3. Implementation grants to support work at two or more institutions that allow for the creation, augmentation or scaling of significant formal systemic change partnerships/collaborations ($500,000 over two–three years).

PI eligibility

Lead investigators from submitting and partner institutions should be at the full, associate or assistant professor level, a department chair or in an administrative role with high connectivity to academic positions. Such individuals should come from nonprofit two- and/or four-year institutions, or organizations that serve higher education professionals or institutions. Submissions from diverse teams led by women and Black, Latinx and Indigenous individuals are strongly encouraged. All projects must have at least one MSI partner. When two or more institutions are the proposed grantees, it is preferred that the primary PI be housed at the MSI.

The selected nominee will submit the LOI to the sponsor by May 1, 2022. If invited by the Sloan Foundation to submit a full proposal, the due date will be July 31, 2022.

See the full program page and the 2021 grantees for more information.

Internal application instructions

Interested faculty should visit to submit an application for the internal LSO competition and to find additional information about the opportunity. The deadline for the internal competition is March 17, 2022.

Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to