2024-2025 STEM Scale-Up Program Provider Request for Proposal (RFP)

The Scale-Up Program of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, a signature investment of state and private funds in students and educators with ample accumulated evidence of effect. The Council’s intention is to bring top STEM education opportunities to all learners, especially those historically underserved. The intent is to seed, jumpstart or expand little-known and exemplary programs proven to inspire and educate PreK-12 students, enabling educational organizations to sustain beyond the Council’s trial investment.    

The STEM Scale-Up Program Request for Proposals for the 2024-2025 academic year is now closed. 

The Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council is seeking program providers for the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Program. If you are interested in providing STEM programming in Iowa and would like to be considered for this initiative in the future, additional information is provided below.


(Please note: Iowa's Scale-Up program is independent of the STEMworks database of WestEd. If you're interested in being listed there, please visit stemworks.wested.org)

Summary of important dates and deadlines:

  • August 15, 2023: Request for Proposals posted and disseminated.
  • August 24, 2023: Informational Webinar for Providers: Click here to watch webinar recording
  • September 19, 2023, 4:59 PM Central Standard Time: Proposal submission deadline.
  • September 20 - November 20, 2023: Review period.
  • November 27, 2023: Proposers notified.
  • November 27, 2023 - December 29, 2023: Selected Program Providers collaborate with STEM Council network administrators to prepare materials for the educator application phase.
  • January 9, 2024: Educator application opens
  • February 27, 2024, 4:59 PM Central Standard Time: Educator application submission deadline.
  • March - April 2024: Regional STEM Advisory Boards determine awardee educators.
  • April 5, 2024: Awardees notified.
  • May 2024: Program Providers introduced to awarded educators to begin planning.
  • Summer 2024: Training, professional development in preparation for program implementation academic year 2024-2025.

Eligible applicants

STEM programs that serve PreK-12 grade audiences in or out of school with the capacity to deliver professional development/training and materials in Iowa are eligible for the STEM Scale-Up Program. Professional development/training is appropriate for Iowa STEM Scale-Up Programs when preparing an educator to implement a student kit, curriculum, activity, lesson or new course of study in STEM.

Process Overview

The Iowa STEM Scale-up process has three stages:

  1. Iowa reviewers selected and trained by the STEM Advisory Council review programs against the Iowa Scale-Up RFP Rubric to assess their readiness to go to scale in Iowa.
  2. Programs selected for scale-up in Iowa are offered to educators across the state in spring of 2024. Educators apply to bring the program(s) to their students during the 2024-2025 academic year. Implementation training will occur in summer, 2024. Rare exceptions may be made for training in summer, 2025.
  3. Advisory boards in each of six STEM regions in Iowa determine which of the Scale-Up educator applications they will award in their regions. Not all eligible programs are equally implemented in all six regions of Iowa.

Programs that were selected for Iowa Scale-Up for the 2023-2024 or any past year must submit a complete proposal again to be considered for 2024-2025 Scale-Up Program eligibility.


PreK-12 Educator

Eligible educators may be associated with organization in Iowa such as; public and private PreK-12 schools, childcare centers, county conservation, libraries, county extension offices, home school associations and other formal and informal youth organizations who deliver STEM education programming for PreK-12 youth.

Program Provider

A Program Provider is an organization providing a high-quality STEM program and the program is selected to be offered to Iowa educators through the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Provider Request for Proposals (RFP) open?

The application period is open from August 15 to September 19, 2023.

How should we communicate our budget/pricing structure?

Click on the button below to download a budget template.

What is allowed for the administrator/Facilities and Administration (F&A) fee within the proposal budget?

Indirect costs, also known as Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A) or overhead costs: we allow providers to factor in the expense of facilities operation and maintenance costs, and administrative expenses, commonly categorized as indirect costs. We require that such costs be built in as a portion of the per unit cost of the program deliverable, up to 5% of the per unit cost*.

In the budget template, enter these F&A in the associated administrative costs line.

*Indirect costs are an ideal space for cost share, and many providers use F&A as their cost share component.  We acknowledge F&A beyond 5% as cost share. 

What are the program capacity and funding requirements?

The legislature supports Scale-Up at just over $3 million total for FY2025. That amount may vary year to year. Typically, funds are distributed across ten to twelve programs that are selected for scaling across Iowa every year. The funds are distributed through a cost reimbursable model. Single program provider funding through the STEM Council across six regions can reach six figures, depending upon how many educators select the program from the menu and how many educators who select the program are awarded the program by the regional advisory boards. Numerous factors influence total funds to providers, including marketing effectiveness, alignment with educators' goals and standards, number of educator applications across programs at the regional level. There is no assurance by the STEM Council that any program will be scaled. It is market driven.

What kinds of programs are you looking for this year? The pandemic has changed a lot about education, has it changed Iowa STEM's priorities?

Strategic Priorities for Elementary, Middle, or High School Levels unless identified below*:

  • Agricultural science
  • Applied engineering
  • Computational thinking
  • Early learning STEM (PreK-3) 
  • Ecology and energy education
  • Mathematics, especially applied and contextual to students' lives
  • STEM and arts integration
  • STEM careers (especially with local context) - ideally an element of any Scale-Up proposal
  • STEM programming that integrates into existing curriculum
  • Transdisciplinary (integrated) S-T-E-M

*Proposals for other topical fields will also be considered.

Can we submit proposals for multiple programs in the same cycle?

Yes. In fact, individual proposals of deliverable education programs are required, as opposed to a “blanket” proposal that covers multiple distinct, deliverable programs.

What is required for a separate proposal?

If multiple programs are being considered, programs that require a separate training must be submitted in a separate proposal.

When may our organization begin educator training?

The ideal time frame to begin training is between July 15 – August 15th. The initial training may not be scheduled earlier than July 1 and must occur by October 31.  

Are organizations (Program Provider) submitting a program through the Scale-Up RFP required to offer educators a stipend to attend training?​

No, stipends are not required.  Note: If an organization offers a personal stipend or sub pay, how will your organization verify the educator is not being paid by their host organization to attend the training. Note: If a stipend is offered, the program provider is responsible for administration and verification of stipend payments. 

May a provider propose to cover the cost of license renewal credit(s) for educators who take part in program training/professional development? 

Any provider considering proposing to offer licensure incentives should contact the Iowa STEM Council's Scale-Up proposals manager Sarah Derry at Sarah.Derry@drake.edu for guidance.

Can we get some pointers on what you expect for rigorous evaluation?

The webinar will include information regarding evaluation. Essentially, the rubric contains information about what is considered for each section of the proposal. Reviewers will be looking for strong evidence that programs meet the criteria listed in the application. Show evidence, rather than telling about it, and be as clear and concise as possible.

I have more questions. Who should I contact? 

For more information on the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Program, please reach out to Dr. Sarah Derry, South Central Regional STEM Manager, at Sarah.Derry@drake.edu.

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