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


    Department of Education (DoE)


    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, iteration, implementation, and feasibility testing of practices that are expected to be novel and significant relative to others that are underway nationally. 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 for high-need students. This notice invites applications for Early-phase grants only.

    Early-phase applicants are required to serve high-need students and are therefore required to address absolute priority one.
    • Absolute Priority 1 - Supporting High Need Students Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that are designed to improve academic outcomes for high need students.
    In addition, EIR Early-phase applicants are also required to address one of the other five absolute priorities:
    • Absolute Priority 2 - Improving School Climate Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that are designed to improve student outcomes through reducing or eliminating disparities in school disciplinary practices for particular groups of students, including students of color and students with disabilities, or reducing or eliminating the use of exclusionary discipline (such as suspensions, expulsions, and unnecessary placements in alternative education programs) by identifying and addressing the root causes of those disparities or uses and promoting alternative disciplinary practices that address the disparities or uses.
    • Absolute Priority 3 - Promoting Diversity Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that are designed to help LEAs prepare students for success in an increasingly diverse society by increasing the diversity (including racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity) of students enrolled in the individual schools in the LEAs.
    • Absolute Priority 4 - Increasing Post-secondary Preparedness Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that are designed to increase the number and proportion of K12 high-need students who are academically and socially prepared for and subsequently enroll in college, other post-secondary education, or other career and technical education.
    • Absolute Priority 5 - Improving the Effectiveness of Principals Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that are designed to increase the number and percentage of highly effective principals by creating or expanding practices and strategies to recruit, select, prepare, and support individuals to significantly improve instruction in schools.
    • Absolute Priority 6 - Re-Engagement of Disconnected Youth Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that are designed to improve student achievement through strategies that provide disconnected youth with high-quality educational opportunities. Disconnected youth means lowincome individuals, ages 1424, who are homeless, are in foster care, are involved in the justice system, or are not working or not enrolled in (or at risk of dropping out of) an educational institution

    History of Funding

    The FY 2017 competition is the first competition under the Education Innovation and Research program. Awards will be made by September 30, 2017. For updates, see:

    The EIR program replaced the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program funded under NCLB. For prevoius i3 awardee information see:

    Additional Information

    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.


    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;
    • 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;
      • An educational service agency or a nonprofit organization in partnership with an LEA; or
      • A grantee described in clause (1) or (2) 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

    Applications were to be submitted by April 13, 2017.  A similar deadline is anticipated annually.

    Award Details

    Approximately $141,000,000 in total is available in funding under this program. Awards for Early-phase grants are from $700,000 $800,000 per year. Maximum award is $4,000,000 for the entirety of the project. Estimated average size of awards is $3,750,000 for the entirety of the project period. 2438 awards are expected to be granted. Project period is up to 60 months. Matching/Cost sharing of 10% is required.


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

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