The NCRR Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA) program funds novel projects that improve students' (grades K-12), their teachers' and the general public's understanding of science and NIH research. The Program supports the creation of innovative partnerships between biomedical and clinical researchers and K-12 teachers and schools, museum and science center educators, media experts, and other interested educational organizations. PIs and key staff from funded SEPA projects are required to participate in an annual conference - held yearly since the program's inception in 1991 - as specified in the SEPA Program Announcement (PAR-06-549). NCRR staff from Program, Grants Management, Office of Review, and the Office of the Director participate in the conference, as well as appropriate staff from other NIH ICs, and staff from HHMI and NSF. A scholarship program enables teachers and tribal leaders to also participate. The annual Conference provides the best mechanism for an open and candid discussion between the SEPA PIs and NCRR Staff on SEPA-specific programmatic, review and grants management issues. It also provides an important opportunity for PIs and their staff to learn about key developments in the fields of formal and informal science education, to build and strengthen their own knowledge and skills in areas relevant to their projects, to share program successes as well as challenges, and to network and form collaborations. The overall Objectives of the annual SEPA Conference over the next three years are to: OBJECTIVE 1: Inform and educate the SEPA community about rigorous evaluation models that address the new government-mandated (Academic Competitiveness Council) assessment criteria and promote adoption of such models. OBJECTIVE 2: Provide updates on trends, issues and challenges in informal and formal science education which are relevant to SEPA science center/museum and K-12 projects. OBJECTIVE 3: Provide a networking opportunity, a forum for collaboration among SEPA projects, and mentoring of new projects by providing opportunities for grantees to share information, best practices and evaluation methods. Each 2.5-day conference includes Plenary, General Discussion, Breakout and Poster sessions. In order to assist SEPA projects in learning how to address the mandates of the recent Academic Competitiveness Council report, program evaluation will be a strong focus for upcoming conferences. A Conference Organizing Committee of SEPA PIs plans each meeting. The conferences are hosted by SEPA projects around the US and are attended by 150-180 participants. Speakers' PowerPoint slides and summaries of conference sessions will be available on the Conference website and the SEPA website after each meeting for easy access and dissemination.

Public Health Relevance

The NCRR Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program supports projects that educate pre-college students, teachers and the public about NIH clinical and basic research. These projects thus play an important role in the translational science process. The annual SEPA conferences facilitate learning, sharing, networking and collaboration among SEPA projects and with NCRR staff, thus enhancing each project's work.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Conference (R13)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDC1-SRB-S (05))
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Beck, Lawrence A
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University of Utah
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Salt Lake City
United States
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