Grant Details

Education Innovation and Research Program (EIR): Early-phase Grants

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    A - Primarily intended to fund technology


    Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII)


    The Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program, established under section 4611 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides funding to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students; and rigorously evaluate such innovations. The EIR program is designed to generate and validate solutions to persistent educational challenges and to support the expansion of effective solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of students.

    The central design element of the EIR program is its multi-tier structure that links the amount of funding that an applicant may receive to the quality of the evidence supporting the efficacy of the proposed project, with the expectation that projects that build this evidence will advance through EIRs grant tiers. Applicants proposing innovative practices that are supported by limited evidence can receive relatively small grants to support the development, iteration, and initial evaluation of the practices; applicants proposing practices supported by evidence from rigorous evaluations, such as large randomized controlled trials, can receive larger grant awards to support expansion across the country.

    This structure provides incentives for applicants to: (1) Explore new ways of addressing persistent challenges that other educators can build on and learn from; (2) build evidence of effectiveness of their practices; and (3) replicate and scale successful practices in new schools, districts, and states while addressing the barriers to scale, such as cost structures and implementation fidelity.

    The Department of Education (DoE) awards three types of grants under this program: 'Early phase' grants, 'Mid-phase' grants, and 'Expansion' grants. These grants differ in terms of the level of prior evidence of effectiveness required for consideration for funding, the expectations regarding the kind of evidence and information funded projects should produce, the level of scale funded projects should reach, and, consequently, the amount of funding available to support each type of project.

    EIR Early-phase grants provide funding to support the development, implementation, and feasibility testing of a program, which prior research suggests has promise, for the purpose of determining whether the program can successfully improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students. Early-phase grants must demonstrate a rationale. These Early-phase grants are not intended simply to implement established practices in additional locations or address needs that are unique to one particular context. The goal is to determine whether and in what ways relatively newer practices can improve student achievement and attainment for highneed students. Early-phase grants only.

    Early-phase EIR grantees are expected to continuously make improvements in project design and implementation before conducting a full-scale evaluation of effectiveness. Grantees should consider questions such as:

    • How easy would it be for others to implement this practice, and how can its implementation be improved?
    • How can I use data from early indicators to gauge impact, and what changes in implementation and student achievement do these early indicators suggest?

    By focusing on continuous improvement and iterative development, Early-stage grantees can make adaptations that are necessary to increase their practices potential to be effective and ensure that its EIR-funded evaluation assesses the impact of a thoroughly conceived practice.


    History of Funding

    The FY 2018 competition awardees are described at: The EIR program replaced the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program funded under NCLB. For prevoius i3 awardee information see:

    Additional Information

    The FY18 Early-phase competition includes three absolute priorities and two invitational priorities. All Early-phase applicants must address Absolute Priority 1. Applicants must also address one of the other two absolute priorities in addition to absolute priority 1. Applicants have the option of addressing one or more of the invitational priorities -

    • Absolute Priority 1 - Demonstrates a Rationale. Under this priority, projects must demonstrate a rationale based on high-quality research findings or positive evaluation that any proposed activity, strategy, or intervention is likely to improve student outcomes or other relevant outcomes. 
    • Absolute Priority 2 - Field-Initiated Innovations (General). Under this priority, projects must be designed to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations that improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students.
    • Absolute Priority 3 - Field-Initiated Innovations (STEM with a particular focus on computer science). Under this priority, projects must be designed to:
      • Create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field- initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students, and;
      • Improve student achievement or other educational outcomes in one or more of the following areas: science, technology, engineering, math, or computer science.
    • Invitational Priority 1 - Personalized Learning. Projects that support educators in personalizing learning for all students so that learning opportunities may be tailored to fit the needs of individual students. In personalized learning environments, the pace, location, and delivery method of education may vary based on individual student interests and needs. Personalized learning approaches recognize that there are multiple pathways through which students can develop and demonstrate academic competencies and social- emotional skills aligned to college- and career-ready standards and that students may attain these competencies and skills in different amounts of time. Examples of personalized learning instructional approaches include dynamic student groupings, student-driven projects, and the use of adaptive technologies, such as digital curricula to both accelerate, and to target gaps in, student learning. Personalized learning approaches use data to provide ongoing feedback about student progress to educators, students, and their families and to adjust learning strategies in real-time. 
    • Invitational Priority 2 - Early Learning & Cognitive Development. The Department is especially interested in projects that improve early learning and cognitive development outcomes through neuroscience-based and scientifically validated interventions. 


    Kelly Terpak

    Kelly Terpak
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Ave, SW
    Washington, DC 20202
    (202) 4537122
    (202) 4014123

  • Eligibility Details

    Eligible Applicants are as follows:
    • An LEA (including a public charter school that operates as an LEA);
    • A State educational agency;
    • The Bureau of Indian Education;
    • A consortium of State educational agencies or LEAs;
    • A nonprofit organization; and
    • A State educational agency, an LEA, a nonprofit organization, or the Bureau of Indian Education, in partnership with:
      • A nonprofit organization;
      • A business;
      • An educational service agency; or
      • An institution of higher education.
    To qualify as a rural applicant under the EIR program, an applicant must meet both of the following requirements:
    • The applicant is:
      • An LEA with an urban-centric district locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43, as determined by the Secretary;
      • A consortium of such LEAs as described above;
      • An educational service agency or a nonprofit organization in partnership with an LEA such as described above; or
      • A grantee described as above (LEA or consortia of LEAs) in partnership with a State educational agency
    • and A majority of the schools to be served by the program are designated with a locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43, or a combination of such codes, as determined by the Secretary. 

    Deadline Details

    Optional letters of intent were to be submitted by May 9, 2018. Full applications were then to be submitted by June 5, 2018. A similar timeline is anticipated annually.

    Award Details

    Up to $115,000,000 is available in total funding for early-phase, mid-phase, and expansion grants. Awards for Early-phase grants will not exceed $4,000,000 for the entirety of the project. Project periods are expected to last 60 months. Between 8 and 16 awards are expected to be granted. Matching/Cost sharing of 10% is required, funds may be cash or in-kind and come from federal, state, local, or private sources.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts

    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available


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