RET for Researchers

Grant impacts

Iowa Teachers Can Help You Nail Broader Impacts on Your Next NSF Grant

According to an article by the American Society for Microbiology, one of the most efficient ways to satisfy the broader impact requirement of an NSF grant is to tap into existing outreach programs.

Iowa State University’s Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) is a program coordinated by the Office of Biotechnology that provides hands-on lab experience and virtual learning for high school and middle school instructors under the oversight of Iowa State University researchers.

Researchers who mentor teachers through the RET program can fulfill their broader impacts or outreach requirements for NSF or other grants.

Program dates:  June 16 – July 26, 2023

Advantages of the RET Program

The Office of Biotechnology administers the details, freeing you to share your knowledge.

The RET program is well-established and documented, which makes it easy to reference in grants.

Your research and influence will extend for years to hundreds of students taught by the teacher you mentor and the cohort of RET participants.

Master teachers provide ongoing, integrated professional development for teachers.

Broader Impact

As a scientist, you have a research identity. This is your footprint, your identity in your discipline. It shapes your choices, collaborators you seek, grants you target, journals where you publish, and the research legacy you leave. But can you document how your research impacts your local community or society as a whole? How will you build your broader impact identity over time in conjunction with your research?

Let the Office of Biotechnology help you seamlessly integrate your research goals with your broader impact identity through the Research Experiences Teachers Program.

Contact us for us for more information.

Why Should a Researcher Choose the RET for Broader Impacts Focus?

The RET is a wraparound program that extends beyond the 6-week research experience in the summer.

The program coordinator (PC) provides so much more than a traditional RET. 

  • We advertise, interview, and carefully select the teacher for your particular research experience.

  • Professional development allows the teacher to create a curriculum piece related to the research and teaching standards.

  • Ongoing communication between everyone to provide a strong broader impact experience.

Program Coordinator Responsiblities

Teacher recruitment, selection, and onboarding including securing net IDs, safety training, W-9 forms, COI forms, contracts, university email accounts and apartment arrangements (if needed).

Administrative needs including mini-grant purchases, mileage reimbursements, stipend payments, continuing education credit, and certificate of completion.

Facilitate the ongoing partnership between teacher and researcher as needed.

Provide teacher year-long mentoring and support biweekly throughout the academic year.

Support teachers as they develop a curriculum piece at the end of the summer related to the research experience taught in their classroom the following academic year.

Provide year-end metrics for your grant writing purposes from the outside team who manages our pre-post data as well as focus group conversations.

Meet with teachers on the first Tuesday of each month (FToM) virtually to stay connected and encourage collaboration among the RET group.

Provide virtual, day-long learning in November and February following the summer experience to continue the summer connections and extend ISU connections.

RET Program Format

Monday – Thursday:  teachers are in research labs for 8 hours each day
Friday: teachers participate in professional development facilitated by program coordinators
Wednesdays:  during lunch, participants are invited to a Frontiers in Science talk featuring short conversations with featured ISU faculty and staff

Estimated costs for hosting an RET teacher

Note: The RET Program delivery is flexible.  Program costs will fluctuate based on the research lab’s model. We work hard to negotiate the teacher’s lab assignment and provide a good fit for each lab. Sometimes that means going out of state, and sometimes it means staying local. Budget constraints will determine flexibility.

Want to know more?

To learn more about Biotechnology Outreach Education Center at Iowa State contact us today!

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