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Project Descriptions

Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (2016-2022)

September 15, 2016 - August 31, 2022 | Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks

The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded resource center, working in cooperation with the NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program to build and advance the informal STEM education field. CAISE continues the work it began in 2007--serving professional audiences in informal STEM learning, which includes those working in science centers and museums, zoos and aquariums, parks, botanical gardens and nature centers, events and festivals, libraries, making and tinkering spaces, media (TV, radio, film, social), cyberlearning and gaming, and youth, community, and out-of-school time programs.

What We Do:

CAISE seeks to characterize, highlight, and connect quality, evidence-based informal STEM learning work supported by a diversity of federal, local, and private funders by providing access to over 8,000 (and growing) resources that include project descriptions, research literature, evaluation reports and other documentation on the website. In addition, CAISE convenes inquiry groups, workshops and principal investigator meetings designed to facilitate discussion and identify the needs and opportunities for informal STEM learning.

In this award, CAISE is also tasked with advancing and better integrating the professional fields of informal STEM learning and science communication by (1) broadening participation in these fields, (2) deepening links between research and practice, and (3) building capacity in evaluation and measurement. These activities are being undertaken by cross-sector task forces of established and emerging who will be responsible for conducting field-level analyses, engaging stakeholders, and creating roadmaps for future efforts. CAISE is also building on existing communication channels for dissemination to the larger field, and through the website. An External Review Board and Inverness Research are providing oversight of CAISE's program activities and evaluation of the center.

Who We Are:

CAISE operates as a network of core staff housed at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) in Washington, D.C. and co-principal investigators and other collaborators at academic institutions and informal STEM education (ISE) organizations across the U.S. Other key collaborators are the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Center for Public Engagement with Science, the National Informal STEM Education Network, and Arizona State University.


Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1612739
Funding Amount: $5,000,000


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    Principal Investigator
    Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)
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    Co-Principal Investigator
    University of Pittsburgh
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    Co-Principal Investigator
    Garibay Group
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    Co-Principal Investigator
    Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
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    Co-Principal Investigator
    Oregon State University
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    Project Staff
  • Aya Rothwell
    Project Staff
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    Former Co-Principal Investigator
    University of Washington
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    University of Washington
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    Inverness Research
  • Resource Type: Project Descriptions
    Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
    Audience: Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | Educators/Teachers | Evaluators | Learning Researchers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists
    Environment Type: Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks | Resource Centers and Networks

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