NSF Reaching Out to High Schoolers Interested in Social, Behavioral Science

American high school students interested in the social, behavioral and economic (SBE) sciences won’t have to wait until college to gain hands-on research experience thanks to a new National Science Foundation initiative. In a “Dear Colleague Letter” released May 17, NSF discussed the SBE-High program, an initiative giving high school students the opportunity to join existing NSF-endowed SBE research projects.

Researchers with an active NSF award can submit a supplemental funding request to offer high school research assistantships. A maximum of two students can be included in each request and up to $6,000 will be provided per student. The program typically runs during the summer. NSF encourages requests including students from diverse backgrounds that are underrepresented in SBE sciences.

Various SBE programs are participating in the initiative, including:

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Decision, Risk and Management Sciences
  • Developmental Sciences
  • Human-Environment and Geographical Sciences
  • Human Networks and Data Science
  • Law and Science
  • Linguistics
  • Perception, Action and Cognition
  • Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace
  • Social Psychology
  • Science and Technology Studies

To view the criteria for submitting a request, navigate to chapter VI (NSF awards), section E (additional funding support), point five (supplemental support) of the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide.

Prior to submitting a request, principal investigators must receive permission from the managing program director of their NSF award via email. They must attach a copy of the approval email in their funding request.

The request must also include the following:

  • A request for SBE-High funding in the summary of proposed work section.
  • A maximum three-page, single-spaced justification for supplement section that describes the activities students will do, how they will be mentored, candidate’s backgrounds and interests (one paragraph), a plan for encouraging the students beyond the program and an explanation of the PI’s experience working with high school students on research projects.
  • A breakdown of expenses needed for the research experience should be listed in the participant support costs section of the budget and described in the budget justification section.
  • A start date and duration of the program
  • A supplementary document from the place where the program will take place signed by a department chair, dean or director acknowledging they support the endeavor and child protection training and laboratory policies are in place.

Read the full letter here: High School Student Research Assistantships in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE-High) | NSF – National Science Foundation

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Emma Richards

Emma Richards is a student at the University of Florida studying public relations. She is the social science communications intern at Sage Publishing.

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