NSF Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity: Research on Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning (RETTL) Program

Content provided by Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – September 24, 2020

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a new solicitation, the Research on Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning (RETTL) program. RETTL seeks to support research on advanced technologies for teaching and learning to educate a new generation of students, teachers, educators, and mentors to excel in highly technological and collaborative environments of the future. RETTL replaces the longstanding NSF Cyberlearning program, aims to support research related to a broad array of emerging technologies, and includes a new focus on supporting research on emerging technologies for teaching. RETTL involves the NSFDirectorates for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG) and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), which is the same group that supported the previous Cyberlearning program.

The RETTL program areas are wide-ranging, with interest in diverse learner and educator populations, contexts, and content, including teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). RETTL invites proposals that combine knowledge about how people teach and learn with the educational advances offered by emerging technologies. Of note, EHR head Karen Marrongelle has also indicated an interest in improving teacher training through the use of innovative technologies.

Proposals should be informed by the convergence of multiple disciplines such as “learning sciences; discipline-based education research; computer and information science and engineering; design; and cognitive, behavioral and social sciences.” Interdisciplinary areas of research could include “affective computing, human-centered AI, social/educational robotics, intelligent conversational agents/assistants, and virtual/embodied agents.”

Projects must have research objectives that integrate teaching and/or learning and technology innovations and include:

Teaching and/or Learning Innovation

  • New teaching processes and approaches relevant to how the proposed technology will be situated in an educational setting.
  • New learning processes, principles, and theories relevant for how the proposed technology will be situated in a learning setting, to include home, school, or workplace.

Technology Innovation

  • New and emerging technologies within the teaching and learning context such as AI-driven technologies; virtual, immersive, embodied, interactive, or augmented environments; multimodal modeling/sensing of cognitive or affective states; language and speech processing; learning analytics and dashboards; and robotics.
  • Technology innovation should advance fields involving computer science, information science, and/or engineering.

Projects that broaden participation and promote diversity and inclusion in STEM education careers are strongly encouraged. Additionally, proposals from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) are encouraged.

Deadline: Applications are due on January 25, 2021.

Award Information:

The estimated total program funding is $19 million. An estimated 20 projects will be funded up to a total of $850,000 per project for three-years.


Individuals may participate as PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel in only one proposal in response to this solicitation.

Sources and Additional Information:

  • The full funding opportunity can be found here.
  • An overview of the RETTL program can be found here.