Developing Teaching & Learning Activities for Grant Proposals, Part 1

Making an Impact With New Ways of Teaching and Learning

Whether you are writing a grant focused on teaching and learning or developing an educational or broader impacts component of a research-centered grant (e.g., NSF CAREER, NIH training awards), identifying and designing an educational activity can be an intimidating task. Educational activities should have a strong motivation with a clear impact on the target community. Here are some starting points and ideas you can use to identify a strong educational activity for your grant proposal.

Proposing an Educational Activity

Educational activities can take many forms, from formal teaching experiences to community outreach to creating accessible resources. Begin by thinking about opportunities for improving teaching and learning that are a natural fit with your work. These ideas could occur as stand-alone interventions to improve education, or they could occur in conjunction with proposed research activities (e.g., as Broader Impacts of NSF-funded research projects). The table below has a few examples that fall under specific themes: new ways of educating within Northeastern, improving access to knowledge outside of Northeastern, and creating durable educational resources.

New ways of educating within NortheasternImproving access to knowledge for those outside of NortheasternCreating durable educational resources
  • Developing a new course on a cutting-edge topic or an interdisciplinary topic
  • Creating a module that can be integrated into other courses
  • Mentoring scholars, if adding something new to the way students grow from expected mentorship
  • Starting new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives or making a significant expansion to the scope of current programs
  • Partnering with other institutions to share learning experiences
  • Outreach to K-12 students (e.g., Young Scholars Program) or K-12 educators
  • Work with local education groups or museums
  • Creating stand-alone modules for training the current workforce
  • Developing an educational blog, podcast, web archive, etc.
  • Open-source resources (e.g., sharing code) or open educational resources
  • “Knowledge exchange” forum or platform

Once you have an idea for a teaching and learning intervention that is a strong fit with your goals and resources, consider ways to leverage existing knowledge to plan your approach. The literature on teaching and learning will help you design an intervention that can create your intended impact. This will allow you to provide a strong rationale in your proposal and show that your ideas are feasible to carry out and are likely to have the intended impact.


Once you have selected an exciting idea for a teaching and learning activity, there are many ways to connect with others who can help strengthen your proposal. It is helpful to seek out feedback from others about ways to strengthen your proposal because different colleagues, students, and stakeholders will all have a unique perspective to offer. There are many people and resources at Northeastern who can provide support and feedback as you develop your grant proposal. Some relevant offices include:

  • The Office of Research Development offers support to faculty members, research teams, and colleges in securing external research funding. Visit their website:
  • The Center for STEM Education connects Northeastern and the local community with the goal of supporting K-12 education and the early STEM pipeline. Visit their website:
  • CATLR is available for consultations throughout your grant preparation and writing process. Email [email protected] or call +1.617.373.3157 to set up a consultation.

Leave plenty of time to carefully design a plan with an impactful educational activity and allow for multiple iterations as your ideas evolve. While we encourage you to contact us at CATLR at any stage in the grant writing process, asking for assistance well in advance of your deadline (i.e., weeks or months) can allow for early and continuous feedback on your grant proposal.

Continue learning about the grant proposal process, by reading part two of this series.