Limited Submission – Sloan Foundation – Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education

Apr 26, 2021 | Awards & Funding, Faculty

To: All Divisional Faculty
From: Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Subject: Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education competition

The Office of Research and Foundation Relations are pleased to announce the launch of the Limited Submission – Sloan Foundation – Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education competition. Please note UC Santa Cruz can only submit a single candidate for all three opportunities. Click on the link below to view more information. Thank you! 

  • Internal Submission Deadline: Monday, May 10, 2021
  • Award Cycle: 2021
  • Discipline/Subject Area: astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, data science, Earth sciences, economics, engineering, marine science, mathematics, physics, and statistics
  • Funding Available: 500,000
  • Foundation Name: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Foundation Program: Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education

    Internal Deadline: May 10, 2021
    Funder: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    Program Guidelines: Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education
    Award Amount & Terms: up to $500,000

UCSC Contacts:
Caroline Rodriguez | FR |
John MacMillan | OR |




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.

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.

Proposed projects may take multiple forms, including, 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 a 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, we are 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.

Please read the guidelines carefully to obtain background information on sample project activities and partnership structures.

Award Amount & Terms

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 (Up to $75,000 for 1 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 (Up to $250,000 over 1-2 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 (Up to $500,000 over 2-3 years).

We request only one letter of inquiry (as the lead institutional partner) per institution, and only one submission per individual PI. We expect to award up to 3 implementation grants, with additional funding going to planning and seed grants.

Allowable expenses will generally include:

    1. For faculty: salary, plus benefits for time spent on project and/or for course buy-out.
    2. For administrative support staff: salary, plus benefits, based on project time commitment.
    3. For graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, or undergraduate students: salary/stipend, plus benefits, based on project time commitment.
    4. Program expenses: mentorship activities, conducting collaborative research, faculty training, advisory committee honoraria, participant stipends, and other expenses.
    5. Workshop and research expenses: travel, meals, lodging, conference fees, room rentals, speaker stipends, audio-visual equipment, and dissemination expenses.
    6. Indirect overhead expenses, capped at 20% of direct costs.


  • 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 non-profit 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.

To Apply

To be considered for nomination, materials should be submitted internally, via InfoReady. Select “Apply” from the menu on the right-hand side. It is important to specify the grant type you’re applying for. Please note UC Santa Cruz can only submit a single candidate for all three opportunities. To clarify, only one candidate can be submitted from the campus overall.

  • A Letter of Inquiry – LOI 3-5 pages in length (excluding budget table and other supplemental material),in 11-point font, double spaced. Submissions should address the following questions, with each question serving as a section heading:
    • Significance. What is the specific problem the project is aiming to solve?
    • Project Activities. What is the nature and scope of the planned activities for the project? (Include which individuals/institutions will be primarily responsible for which activities)
    • Project Team. How is the project team well-suited for this project? (Address how the parties are also suited for collaboration)
    • Partnerships. How will the project ensure mutual benefit across the participating institutions?
    • Measures of Success. How will you know if this project is successful?
    • Additional Sources of Support. What other sources of support can the project leverage to ensure its success?
  • Brief CV of Key Project Leads
  • Brief Budget Summary (1 page)

If you have questions about submitting through InfoReady contact Almut Wolf (


  • May 10, 2021 by 5pm PST – Internal submissions due
  • May 17, 2021 – Notification of candidate selection results
  • June 1, 2021, by 5:00pm EDT – LOI Submissions are due
  • September 1, 2021 – If invited, full proposal due

Special Instructions

If invited to submit a full proposal, please promptly submit your proposal intake form , or within the Social Sciences Division notify Ashlee Tews,, prior to UCSC’s Internal Institutional Deadlines.
For LOI development support, or for any questions about institutional requirements, please send requests and questions to the research development team at A proposal development specialist will field your requests.

The Office of Foundation Relations is a unit of University Relations. The FR team creates and maintains mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with private organizations, matching funding initiatives with educational and research programs and centers. FR supports faculty and staff to identify and approach these and other private foundations and corporations for funding, assists in inquiries and grant proposals including drafting and/or editing depending on the need, gathers supporting materials, helps in campus visits, facilitates interactions with the Office of Sponsored Projects and other collaborators, and obtains institutional signatures.

For a list of recent funding opportunities, please visit the FR website. FR Calls for Funding

View competition

If you have any questions or comments, please contact