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NSF invests $18.8M in inaugural cohort of projects enabling experiential learning in key technologies

October 12, 2023

NSF recently announced the first Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT) investment of $18.8 million to 27 teams at U.S. institutions of higher education, including teams led by minority-serving institutions and historically Black colleges and universities. Each team will receive up to $1 million for up to three years.

Of the 27 teams receiving ExLENT awards this round, nine received an award in the Pivots track, which provides current professionals in any field an experiential learning opportunity that builds the skills and competencies they need to pivot into careers in key technologies. The remaining 18 teams received awards in the Beginnings track. Teams in this track will target individuals that have some basic experience in STEM fields and will receive additional experiential learning opportunities to deepen their knowledge and skills in key technologies. ExLENT teams will build partnerships between organizations in key technologies and those with expertise in workforce development.

In the future, ExLENT will give awards to teams in an additional Explorations track. This track will provide participants with no prior STEM experience an experiential learning opportunity that builds interest, motivation, and knowledge in a key technology area and inspires them to further explore different pathways to potential careers in these areas.

ExLENT awardees

Three SSTI members received awards:

Pivots track:

  • University of Cincinnati: Reskilling Education Via Advanced Manufacturing Practicum (NSF Award #2322605).
  • University of Florida: VETS-HASTE: Veterans SkillBridge through Industry based Hardware Security Training and Education (NSF Award #2322465).

Beginnings track:

  • Auburn University: Creating and Sustaining a Diverse Community of Expertise in Quantum Information Science (EQUIS) Across the Southeastern United States (NSF Award #2322592).

The full award list can be found on NSF's website. To learn more about the ExLENT program, visit the ExLENT webpage.