Funded by the National Science Foundation (DRL 1237463) and The Noyce Foundation, the SENCER-ISE (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities - Informal Science Education) initiative will enable us to explore and evaluate ways to support sustainable partnerships between informal science and higher education professionals around issues of civic consequence.

The goals of the SENCER-ISE are to:


- Form partnerships between higher education and informal science education professionals around compelling civic issues and examine whether these partnerships can bring about a transformation in STEM educational practices,


- Create durable partnerships between educators from these sectors and by so doing provide models for others in the wider educational community to follow, and,


- Instill in college graduates and ISE audiences the idea that informal science education institutions and activities are a credible, accessible source of high quality “life-long learning” on matters of science, public policy, personal well being, and public welfare.


The new project and the partnership awards are an outgrowth of previous work, also funded by the NSF (DRL 1001795) and The Noyce Foundation. This earlier initiative supported a conference in March 2011 and a follow-up meeting in November 2011 that brought together individuals from higher education and informal science education to gauge interest in and explore possibilities for developing cross-sector partnerships.


With the new initiative, the SENCER-ISE awards program will enable us to support ten partnerships at $50,000 each, payable over a three-year period. In addition to these start-up funds, SENCER-ISE will provide awardees with technical assistance such as identifying audience outcomes to guide evaluation, selecting resource materials on relevant topics in formal and informal science education, and organizing opportunities to interact with members of other partnerships and the larger SENCER network of faculty and administrators (by anthony). Randi Korn & Associates and the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences will join the National Center in providing these services to the awardees, and where appropriate, to the SENCER and wider educational communities. To learn more about the SENCER-ISE initiative and the partnerships supported by the awards program, please visit the SENCER-ISE website, found here.



Materials from March 2011 SENCER-ISE Conference

  1. The Executive Summary from the conference proceedings may be accessed here.
  2. The SENCER-ISE conference proceedings can be found here and the SENCER-ISE conference Evaluation Report by Randi Korn and Associates, Inc. is accessible here.


More Information

Learn more about SENCER-ISE by visiting




Civic Engagement Partnership Support Awards Program



View the announcements of the Partnership awardees here and here.


Please continue to check the SENCER-ISE website for updates on the Partnerships.





David Burns

Principal Investigator

Ellen Mappen

Project Director

Hailey Chenevert

Project Coordinator





SENCER-ISE has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (DRL #1001795, DRL #1237463) and the Noyce Foundation. Photograph of SENCER-ISE staff and attendees of the 2013 SENCER Summer Institute