Sandra K. Abell Research Institute for Doctoral Students: Call for Hosts

Sandra K. Abell Research Institute for Doctoral Students: Call for Hosts

Call for Virtual Hosts

Sandra (Sandi) K. Abell, in whose memory the institute is named, was a University of Missouri professor of science education and was instrumental in conceptualizing, planning, and hosting the first Summer Research Institute. Sandi passed away in 2010. Sandi was an internationally recognized scholar, who spearheaded the University of Missouri’s effort to build one of the nation’s leading K-12 science teaching and research centers. Sandi served as President of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and won numerous awards for mentoring graduate students, teaching and scholarship.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals should be organized with the following components: Program Description, Budget, Curriculum Vitae, and Supplemental Materials.


To ensure that the selection process is fair and unbiased, members of the NARST board of directors cannot serve as members of the organizing team for an Abell Institute proposal. This restriction pertains to those years during which the board member is actively serving on the NARST board. Former board members are welcome to submit applications to host the Abell Institute. The restriction applies only to the board members themselves. It does not restrict the institutions of board members from applying to host the institute, provided the applicants themselves are not board members.

Program Description

The Program Description should not exceed five pages (single-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins) including tables and figures. Because of the prevalence of COVID-19 around the globe and its significant impact on education, we are accepting proposals for virtual institutes. As such, budgets should reflect adjustments for hosting a virtual institute. The Program Description should address all of the following.

● Identify the organizer or organizing team and discuss the qualifications of this individual or group. Members of the organizing team should be current members of NARST.

● Identify the host institution. Discuss its capacity and commitment to host the institute.

● Discuss how the proposed institute will meet the Abell Institute goals as outlined previously and any other aims specific to the proposed program.

● A detailed description of plans and procedures for identifying and selecting faculty mentors and recruiting students. This discussion should explicitly highlight the number of students and faculty mentors expected to participate.

● Present a plan for organizing and structuring the Abell Institute experience including a detailed description of how faculty mentors will be matched to students. A model for how faculty mentors and student participants will interact should be detailed, accompanied by a tentative schedule of activities.

● Specifically, attend to synchronous and asynchronous concerns around programming and the possible range of international timezones.

● Describe facilities to be used as a part of the proposed institute. This description should include facilities that will be used for the group and mentoring activities central to the institute as well as lodging arrangements for student and faculty participants.

● Present an evaluation plan.


Proposers are asked to prepare a budget of $35,000 or less. Proposers are encouraged to seek additional support from the host institution/organization. This support may come in the form of direct financial contributions and/or in-kind contributions of staff time, facilities, or other resources.

The budget section must clearly identify expected expenses as well as sources and amounts of funding. Evaluation expenses should be included in the budget. The detailed budget should be accompanied by a budget justification that is reflective of a virtual meeting.

Curriculum Vitae

A 2-page curriculum vitae (CV) should be included for each member of the organizing team. Each CV should highlight the individual’s research and mentoring experiences.

Supplemental Materials

Proposals may include supplemental materials that provide evidence of capacity for successful Abell Institute implementation. For example, proposers are encouraged to submit a letter indicating institutional support from the host institution.

Additional Requirements

The individual or team who hosts the 2021 Abell Institute will be expected to submit an interim report on planning and recruitment activities by March 1, 2021. The individual or team will also be expected to submit a final report by October 1, 2021. The final report must include results of the evaluation, the plans for which are identified in the proposal. The interim and final reports should be submitted to the Chair(s) of the Research Committee. These reports will be reviewed by the NARST Research Committee and the Board of Directors. The final report will be made available to the NARST membership, and proposal teams for future institutes will be encouraged to review this report.

Submission Information

Proposals should be prepared and submitted electronically. Proposing individuals or teams should organize proposal materials in a single pdf document. If it is not possible to include a Supplemental Material resource within the primary proposal file, it may be submitted separately as an electronic document. Proposal files should be submitted via email to the Chair of the NARST Researcher Development Committee (Joshua Reid - To be granted full consideration, proposals should be submitted by January 31, 2021. Please CC the chair Tina Vo ( and co-chair of the Research Committee Asli Sezen-Barrie ( to the application.

Review Process & Criteria

Members of the NARST Research Committee will review all proposals and a recommendation will be forwarded to the NARST Board of Directors for final approval. In reviewing proposals, the Research Committee will consider the following criteria: qualifications of the organizers, organization and structure of the proposed program, potential to meet institute goals, budget plan and justification, plans for recruiting and selecting student participants, plans for recruiting and selecting faculty mentors, evaluation plan, and letter(s) of support from host institution. The NARST Research Committee and Board of Directors may contact proposers to request additional information or to suggest changes to their proposal. Proposers are encouraged to examine the review rubric that will be used in the evaluation process, which is appended to this request.

Resources to Support Proposal Development

In conducting and evaluating the first six institutes, the organizing teams, the NARST Research Committee, and the NARST Board of Directors learned a great deal. In some cases, these groups developed new understandings of successful approaches; in other cases, the groups identified challenges. Absolute solutions to these challenges may not exist, but organizers of future events will likely benefit from their identification. Findings, lessons learned, and recommendations are presented in five reports appended to this request, one on each of the previous institutes. All proposers are encouraged to review these reports carefully.

The proposal evaluation process is guided by several criteria. The following list of criteria will be considered:

Qualification of the organizer(s)

● Organization, structure, and logic model of the proposed program (e.g., building virtual communities, synchronous/asynchronous accountability)

● Potential to support doctoral student understanding of the science education research community and to expand their professional networks/place within the community

● Potential to support development of doctoral student research practices including those related to research design, research methods and communication of research

● Budget plan with considerations built in place for a virtual institute (can include reasonable student fees and resources for students’ distance use)

● Plans for recruiting and selecting student participants (e.g., equitable recruitment strategies)

● Evaluation plan focused on the products of the logic model

● Letter(s) of support from host institution(s) that explains support for the implementation of the institute.