NSF Awards $2.6m Grant to BPCP for National Incubator Project
National Science Foundation awards a $2.6m grant to the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership to lead a national innovation incubator project integrating arts-based-learning and STEM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2012
Contact: Paige Simpson, Interim Executive Director, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership & Director, Balboa Park Learning Institute
Phone: 619.232.7502 x1206; cell 202.431.9296
San Diego, Calif. — On September 5, 2012 the National Science Foundation awarded a grant of $2,654,895 to the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership (Partnership) for phase 2 of the Art of Science Learning Initiative, a project entitled "Integrating Informal STEM and Arts-Based Learning to Foster Innovation." Harvey Seifter, Art of Science Learning founder/director, is the project’s director and principal investigator. Paige Simpson, the Partnership’s Interim Executive Director, is project administrator.
Over the next four years, this grant will fund arts-based incubators for innovation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning in San Diego, Chicago and Worcester, Mass, as well as the development of a new arts-based STEM curriculum; experimental research to measure the impact of arts-based learning on creativity, collaboration and innovation; and public programs using the project’s activities to advance civic engagement with STEM.
The incubators – hosted by San Diego’s Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and Worcester’s EcoTarium – will bring together 30 cross-disciplinary innovation teams of STEM professionals, artists, educators, business leaders and students. The teams will learn arts-based techniques for generating, transforming, prototyping and communicating creative ideas and apply them to STEM-related civic innovation challenges. Participants will also collaborate on the development of new educational projects that integrate arts-based approaches into STEM learning.
Innovation festivals, art/science innovation symposia, prototype demonstrations and a culminating interactive exhibition, created by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego and traveling to each incubator site, will reach national audiences with compelling stories about the civic impact of innovation at the intersection of art, science and learning. The exhibition will launch as a key element of the 2015 Centennial Celebration in Balboa Park, which will honor the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and set the stage for the next 100 years, with a focus on innovation.Art of Science Learning Phase 2 national partners include Association of Science-Technology Centers, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Americans for the Arts. The project is supported by a distinguished national advisory council and a network of local and regional partners and advisors in all three incubator sites.
The Balboa Park Learning Institute is a multi-faceted professional development program created for the staff of the arts, science and cultural institutions in Balboa Park, and shared with a broader audience. BPLI programs expand networks and enhance attendees’ abilities to explore, gain, and share knowledge about advancing professional practices. The Learning Institute also facilitates special projects that use Balboa Park as a learning laboratory for experimenting with new practices that has implications for the broader cultural and educational fields. www.bpcp.org/program/bpli
The Learning Institute is a keystone program of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a nonprofit created in 2003 to facilitate collaboration among 27 diverse arts, science, and cultural institutions in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park. Through collaboration, Partnership members achieve greater effectiveness, excellence and innovation than would be possible individually in a range of activities, from collective purchasing and going “green” to advocacy, joint programming, and professional development. Working together, the Park institutions are able to create the most outstanding “Balboa Park Experience” for people who are visiting, working in, and/or partnering with the Park. The Partnership represents 3000 staff, 7000 volunteers and 500 trustees working to serve 6.5 million visitors to Park institutions annually. www.bpcp.org
The Art of Science Learning is a national initiative that uses the arts to spark creativity in science education and foster the development of a skilled 21st Century STEM workforce. In 2011, the initiative’s first phase explored the connection between arts-based learning, scientific innovation, and economic competitiveness; convening more than 400 scientists, artists, educators, researchers, business leaders and policymakers from across the country to participate in regional conferences at the Smithsonian Institution, CalIT2/UCSD and Illinois Institute of Technology. http://www.artofsciencelearning.org/
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion, NSF issues limited-term grants -- currently about 10,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years -- to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. NSF's goals--discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship--provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation's research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization. NSF is "where discoveries begin." www.nsf.gov