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I was thinking recently about a grant that Butte-Glenn Community College District (BGCCD) submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) two years ago. This prompted me to look at grants targeted to community colleges. The NSF Advanced Technology Education (ATE) is specifically designed for community colleges.

There are several initiatives under this program:


  • Small Grants for Institutions New to the ATE Program
  • Planning Grants for Centers
  • National Centers of Excellence
  • Regional Centers of Excellence
  • Resource Centers
  • Program for Technician Education

The NSF ATE proposal is a two-step process:

  • An optional preliminary proposal is due via NSF Fastlane in April. NSF staff reviews your preliminary concept and gives you a thumbs up or thumbs down and suggestions for proposal improvement.
  • A full proposal is due via NSF Fastlane in October.

BGCCD had submitted a proposal for the Institutions New to the ATE Program. In January, we received an e-mail from the NSF program officer. The NSF was considering funding our proposal for Green Building Systems but required answers to ten questions. The principal investigator and I spent the better part of a month responding. Researching and writing the responses to the questions was almost harder than developing the actual proposal. Early that summer, we were awarded the two-year grant.

From our experience with this grant, we submitted a center grant this past fall and are awaiting word whether it is being considered. <>

If you plan on writing an NSF grant, Susan Finger of Carnegie Mellon University created a grantwriting Web site you might find helpful: Advice on Writing Proposals to the National Science Foundation.

If you have won an NSF grant and would like to share your success, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..