• Proposal: 11/11/2020


  • Amount: Up to $3.5M
  • Duration: Up to 5 years


The Discovery Research PreK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of STEM education innovations and approaches. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. Projects should result in research-informed and field-tested outcomes and products that inform teaching and learning. Teachers and students who participate in DRK-12 studies are expected to enhance their understanding and use of STEM content, practices and skills.

The DRK-12 program invites proposals that address immediate challenges that are facing preK-12 STEM education as well as those that anticipate radically different structures and functions of preK-12 teaching and learning. The DRK-12 program has three major research and development strands: (1) Assessment; (2) Learning; and (3) Teaching.

The program recognizes the synergy among the three strands and that there is some overlap and interdependence among them. However, proposals should identify a clear focus of the proposed research efforts (i.e., assessment, learning, or teaching) consistent with the proposal’s main objectives and research questions.

The program supports six types of projects: (1) Exploratory, (2) Design and Development, (3) Impact, (4) Implementation and Improvement, (5) Syntheses, and (6) Conferences. All six types of projects apply to each of the three DRK-12 program strands.

The DRK-12 program intends to fund one Resource Center to provide technical support for all DRK-12 projects, to organize meetings and topical webinars, to facilitate national dissemination of project outcomes, and to further develop the expertise in the preK-12 STEM education research and development community to enhance the learning and teaching of preK-12 STEM. The Resource Center should engage the multiple communities that both carry out the STEM education research funded in the DRK-12 program and that benefit from products and outcomes of DRK-12 projects.

Normal limits for funding requests of DRK -12 proposals are as follows: (1) Level I projects up to $450,000 with duration up to three years; (2) Level II projects up to $3,000,000 with duration up to four years; and (3) Level III projects up to $5,000,000 with duration up to five years.

Contact Information

Telephone: (703) 292-8620