In February 2020, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) hosted the Conference on Increasing Participation of MSIs in NSF CISE Core Programs, where participants expressed interest in training on competitive proposal development for NSF CISE support. To meet this need, ASEE facilitated an intensive Proposal Development Workshop on Increasing Participation of MSIs in NSF CISE Core Programs in 2021, aligned to help prepare MSI teams to submit proposals to the inaugural 2021 NSF CISE-MSI program solicitation. This event brought together 12 research teams from MSIs for a workshop focused on learning best practices for writing NSF proposals within the CISE context. Feedback from participants, mentors, and NSF personnel highlighted the need for more extensive engagement and support for participants throughout the entire proposal development process and recommended training for team formation, an expanded mentoring program, and provision of seed funding. The CyBR-MSI program, aligned to the 2022 NSF CISE-MSI program solicitation, expanded upon the scope of the 2021 workshop in response to that feedback. Throughout each of these foundational programs, participants also shared their ongoing challenges with research infrastructure support at their campuses and expressed interest in assistance with addressing these challenges.


The Capacity Building for Research at Minority-Serving Institutions: Infrastructure Research Readiness (CyBR-MSI: IRR) program seeks to increase the capacity of researchers from Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to produce competitive proposals to National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Computer Science and Engineering (CISE) core programs. The purpose of the CyBR-MSI: IRR program is threefold: (1) to help participants assess their campuses’ research infrastructure and prioritize improvements; (2) to form a community of practice among researchers and research infrastructure administrators from MSIs focused on capacity building of research infrastructure; and (3) to co-create, with campus leadership, an action plan for research ready infrastructure for strong grant proposals for NSF CISE core programs. 

By supporting MSIs to increase competitiveness for public research funds, this project will impact high proportions of nontraditional students and students of color, and their readiness to participate in the nation’s research enterprise.  

The CyBR-MSI: IRR program will comprise:

  1. a Request for Proposals (RFP), that will provide up to 12 research teams, composed of faculty, research administrators, and staff, with stipends to join Cohort 1 of the CyBR-MSI: IRR program.
  2. a Research Infrastructure Assessment Tool (RIAT) that will provide the framework for research teams to assess their campus’ research readiness.
  3. a Community of Practice (CoP) that will provide research teams with guided inquiry, reflective activities, and peer mentoring to inventory and assess their campus research infrastructure while team building and expanding their understanding of infrastructure research readiness.
  4. a Mentoring Program (MP) that will provide research teams with experienced coaching to support their progress throughout the program.
  5. a Culminating Action Planning Meeting (CAP) where campus department heads, deans, provosts, and presidents will be invited to collaborate with their research teams to develop an action plan for positive change.