By Carla Jose
Image Source: Pexels
Robotics isn’t just a technology that’s suitable for manufacturing and other major industries; it also has applications in an education context. Of course robotics systems are not always affordable for the average school, college or university. So what grants and support schemes are out there which could bring high end systems within reach of average institutions?
With a total of 14 different areas covered by the grants available via the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a variety of funding routes are available from this public organization. This includes grants available for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, under which umbrella robotics definitely lies. It is a research-focused funding body, and especially aims at bringing new forms of education to those who might not normally be in a position to receive it. So finding ways to integrate robotics in the classroom would certainly be a worthy cause to pursue.
With grant amounts ranging depending on the project proposed, but stretching into the millions of dollars where necessary, the IES is appropriate for schemes of all sizes. And of course since you can keep costs down by choosing from an inventory of used robots, rather than relying on new units, any grant money you receive can be stretched as far as possible.
Another public body that provides grants for research and education in science, engineering and beyond is the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The STEM funding it offers is extensive, and it is also chiefly focused on furthering the economic clout of the US by empowering its youngsters with the knowledge they need to create the next generation of innovations in various fields.
Literally hundreds of funding opportunities are available through the NSF at any one time, so it is definitely worth exploring as part of your broader search for STEM education program funding options.
The Grant Resource Center (GRC) is a subset of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) that has been running for over 50 years, and acts as an excellent hub for finding funding to create all sorts of educational projects.
Both public and private institutions can apply for membership, and more than 1500 funding opportunities are available right now. STEM grants are included in this, and the benefit that the GRC brings to the table is that it covers not just high profile funding, but also smaller, more niche opportunities which might be harder to find were they not pooled together here.
If you have a very particular and focused robotics initiative that you want to fund, which won’t require a huge budget, searching the GRC is advisable.
Another grant identification service, but this time focusing on international opportunities and not just those limited to the US, the Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN) is a creation of InfoEd Global.
Packing in 40,000 different grants and schemes worldwide, it promises flexibility across every conceivable discipline, and includes government-backed as well as private funding.
The Minority Science and Engineering Improvements Program (MSEIP) falls under the remit of the Department of Education, and like the best of the grant solutions mentioned so far, it does not limit itself to one area of STEM. Instead, it covers opportunities in everything from research and training to the purchasing of equipment and the refitting of classroom spaces to bring them up to date.
Because it is a public program, its additional aim is to make STEM experiences more accessible, regardless of the socioeconomic background of participants. So for educational institutions in more deprived areas, it could be a much-needed lifeline.
The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation has regional partnerships in place with many schools nationally. Its grants are available to be used to procure robotics equipment, and it can also offer other support along the way.
This is the most specialized grant covered here, and is built with robotics in mind. If you need additional assistance to get your classroom robotics scheme up and running, it may work out to be the best of the bunch.
It definitely makes sense to spread the net as widely as possible when looking for STEM grants, especially those involving robotics research and education in a classroom environment.
With the wealth of opportunities out there, it is also important to recognize that finding the right grants and applying for them will take time, effort and a little bit of expertise. You could choose to outsource some of this to a third party fundraiser, especially if you don’t have much experience with grant applications yourself.
Most importantly, the sooner you start your search, the faster you’ll be given the funding required to transform the classroom experience of robotics education.
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About the author:
Carla from BrandMatcher.io writes and breaths about digital marketing. Always figuring out efficient ways to leverage his writing skills and sharing all knowledge possible.