Burroughs Wellcome Fund - Science Education (North Carolina)

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    Funder Type

    Private Foundation

    IT Classification

    C - Funds little to no technology


    Burroughs Wellcome Fund


    Engaging children in science has been a focus of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund since it became an independent, private foundation in 1994. BWF has partnered with various organizations to help develop an infrastructure for improving science, mathematics, and technology education across North Carolina. The institutions that have emerged from these partnerships are making an impact on public policy, teacher training, the informal science community, and scientists working with teachers.


    History of Funding

    The Student Science Enrichment Program provides more than $3 million annually to support creative science education activities for primary and secondary students in North Carolina. Previous awardees are listed on the funder's website.

    Additional Information

    BWF currently supports three Science Education opportunities:

    The Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative, hands-on STEM activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in BWF's home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. Since the program's inception in 1996, BWF has awarded 201 grants totaling $33.7 million to 103 organizations that reach more than 43,000 North Carolina students. SSEP awards support career-oriented and practical programs intended to provide creative science enrichment activities for students in K-12 education who have shown exceptional skills and interest in STEM, as well as those perceived to have high potential. After school programs are demonstrating value in helping to close opportunity gaps for underserved and underrepresented students. These programs must enable students to participate in hands-on STEM activities and pursue inquiry-based avenues of exploration—an educational approach that BWF believes to be an effective way to increase students' understanding and appreciation of the scientific process. To increase academic achievement, programs must provide a well-defined structure that aligns with the school-day curriculum, well-trained staff, and student follow up.

    The Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers provides $175,000 over five-years to outstanding science and/or mathematics teachers in the North Carolina public primary and secondary schools. The purpose of this award is to recognize teachers who have demonstrated solid knowledge of science and/or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children. This five-year award presents opportunities for professional development and collaboration with other master science and/or mathematics teachers who will help to ensure their success as teachers and their satisfaction with the field of teaching. Special consideration will be given to teachers working in hard-to-staff, economically deprived classrooms in North Carolina. The award also offers schools and school districts the opportunity to fully develop teachers as leaders in the field. Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers provide $175,000 over a period of five years ($35,000 per year) to eligible teachers in the North Carolina public school system. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) will support up to six awards with annual installments as allocated below.

    Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) supports teaching professionals in their efforts to provide quality hands-on, inquiry-based activities for their students. PRISM promotes excitement for science and mathematics in the classroom by providing funds for materials, equipment, and supplies related to the implementation of high-quality curriculum and activities in the classroom. This award provides up to $3,000 for one year to cover the cost of equipment, materials, and supplies. An additional $1,500 may be requested for professional development related to the implementation of new equipment or use of materials in the classroom. Awards are made to teaching professionals that hold a professional educator's license to teach in a North Carolina K-12 public school.


    Tiffanie Taylor

    Tiffanie Taylor
    21 T.W. Alexander Drive PO Box 13901
    Durham, NC 27709-0152

  • Eligibility Details

    Eligibility varies by program.

    • Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) - nonprofit organizations in North Carolina. Eligible organizations include public and private schools, colleges and universities, community groups, museums, zoos, scientific groups, and others that can provide experiential activities for K-12 North Carolina students. 
    • Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers - Candidates must be currently licensed North Carolina public school science and/or mathematics teachers who teach in grades K-12 in North Carolina public schools. n Candidates must have completed at least five years of teaching experience in North Carolina K-12 public schools at the time of application. n Candidates in middle school and high school must hold licensure to teach science and/or mathematics in North Carolina and spend at least 70 percent of their time devoted to teaching science and/or mathematics courses. Teaching professionals certified in Career and Technical Education may be eligible and should contact BWF prior to applying. n Candidates in elementary schools, who also can be science and/or mathematics specialists, must spend at least 30 percent of their time teaching science and/or mathematics. At least 20 percent of their time should be spent working with other teachers if they are specialists. n Candidates must have superior knowledge of science and/or mathematics, excellent teaching skills, demonstrated leadership, and a commitment to continue teaching in the North Carolina Public school system. n Candidates must be citizens of the United States.
    • Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) - Applying teaching professionals must currently hold a professional educator's license to teach in a North Carolina K-12 public school. Teachers holding licensure in elementary education are eligible. n Applying teaching professionals must currently be employed at a K-12 public school (including charters) in North Carolina. n Equipment, materials, and supplies must be related to quality hands-on experiences for the students in science and/or mathematics. Items must be used directly by students in the classroom or in a structured afterschool time activity. n All applications require a signature from the principal indicating support for the proposal and permission to use the requested equipment, materials, and supplies in the K-12 classroom. It is not the intent of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to provide funding for basic technology equipment, such as laptop computers, projectors, white boards, graphing calculators, digital cameras, etc. The purchase of books related to the projects will not be supported. BWF will not support field trips or expenses related to guest speakers.

    Deadline Details

    Deadlines vary by program. Similar deadline dates are anticipated annually.

    • Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) - June 9, 2023
    • Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers - September 28, 2022
    • Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) - December 5, 2022

    Award Details

    Award amounts vary based on funding area. Please see the additional information section of this posting for more details.

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