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

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    B - Readily funds technology as part of an award


    USED OESE Innovation & Early Learning Programs Office


    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 EIR's 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.

    For FY 2022, the Department will award three types of grants: ‘‘Early-phase'," ‘‘Mid-phase,'' and ‘‘Expansion'' grants. 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 high–need 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 practice's potential to be effective and ensure that its EIR-funded evaluation assesses the impact of a thoroughly conceived practice.


    History of Funding

    Previous awardee information is available at

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

    Additional Information

    The FY22 Early-phase competition includes four absolute priorities and two competitive priorities. All Early-phase applicants must address Absolute Priority 1. Early-phase applicants are also required to address one of the other three absolute priorities. If an applicant chooses to address one or both competitive preference priorities, the applicant must identify in the project narrative section of its application its response to the competitive preference priorities it chooses to address.

    • 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. All Early-phase applicants must submit prior evidence of effectiveness for the proposed project aims.
    • Absolute Priority 2 - Field-Initiated Innovations—General. Projects that are 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.
    • Absolute Priority 3 - Field-Initiated Innovations Promoting Equity in Student Access to Educational Resources and Opportunities: STEM. 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.
      • Promote educational equity and adequacy in resources and opportunity for underserved students in one or more of the following settings—
        • Early learning programs, elementary school, middle school, high school, CTE programs, out-of-school-time, alternative schools and programs, or juvenile justice system or correctional facilities.
    • Absolute Priority 4 - Field-Initiated Innovations Meeting Student Social, Emotional, and Academic Needs. Under this priority, an applicant must propose projects that are 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 students' social, emotional, academic, and career development, with a focus on underserved students, through one or more of the following priority areas:
        • Develop and support educator and school capacity to support SEL that:
          • Fosters skills and behaviors that enable academic progress;
          • Identifies and addresses conditions in the learning environment, that may negatively impact social and emotional well-being for underserved students, including conditions that affect physical safety; and
          • Is trauma-informed, such as addressing exposure to community-based violence and trauma specific to military- or veteran-connected students.
        • Creates education or work-based settings that are supportive, positive, identity-safe and inclusive through one or more of the following activities:
          • Developing trusting relationships between students (including underserved students), educators, families, and community partners.
          • Providing high-quality professional development opportunities designed to increase engagement and belonging and build asset-based mindsets for educators working in and throughout schools.
          • Engaging students (including underserved students), educators, families, and community partners from diverse backgrounds and representative of the community as partners in school climate review and improvement efforts.
          • Developing and implementing inclusive and culturally informed discipline policies and addressing disparities in school discipline policy by identifying and addressing the root causes of those disparities, including by involving educators, students, and families in decision-making about discipline procedures and providing training and resources to educators.
          • Supporting students to engage in real-world, hands-on learning that is aligned with classroom instruction and takes place in community-based settings, such as apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, work-based learning, and service learning, and in civic activities.
        • Providing multi-tiered systems of supports that address learning barriers both in and out of the classroom, that enable healthy development and respond to students' needs and which may include evidence-based trauma-informed practices and professional development for educators on avoiding deficit-based approaches.
        • Develop or implement policies and practices, consistent with applicable Federal law, that prevent or reduce significant disproportionality on the basis of race or ethnicity with respect to the identification, placement, and disciplining of children or students with disabilities.
        • Provide students equitable access that is inclusive, with regard to race, LGBTQI+, ethnicity, culture, language, and disability status, to social workers, psychologists, counselors, nurses, or mental health professionals and other integrated services and supports, which may include in early learning environments.
        • Preparing educators to implement project-based or experiential learning opportunities for students to strengthen their metacognitive skills, self-direction, self-efficacy, competency, or motivation.
        • Create and implement comprehensive schoolwide frameworks (such as small schools or learning communities, advisory systems, or looping educators) that support strong and consistent student and educator relationships.
        • Foster partnerships to provide comprehensive services to students and familes that support students social, emotional, mental ehalth, and academic needs, and that are inclusive with regard to race, ethnicity, culture, language, and disability status.
    • Competitive Preference Priority 1: Promoting Equity in Student Access to Educational Resources and Opportunities (up to 3 points) Projects designed to promote educational equity and adequacy in resources and opportunity for underserved students in middle school or high school that examine the sources of inequity and inadequacy and implement responses, including rigorous, engaging, and well-rounded (e.g., that include music and the arts) approaches to learning that are inclusive with regard to race, ethnicity, culture, language, and disability status and prepare students for college, career, and civic life, including one or more of the following:
      • Student-centered learning models that may leverage technology to address learner variability and provide high-quality learning content, applications, or tools.
      • Middle school courses or projects that prepare students to participate in advanced coursework in high school.
      • Advanced courses and programs, including dual enrollment and early college programs.
      • Project-based and experiential learning, including service and work-based learning.
      • High-quality career and technical education courses, pathways, and industry-recognized credentials that are integrated into the curriculum.
    • Competitive Preference Priority 2: Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Students, Educators, and Faculty (up to 3 points). Projects designed to address the needs of underserved students and educators most impacted by COVID–19 through—
      • Conducting community asset-mapping and needs assessments that may include an assessment of the extent to which students, including subgroups of students, have become disengaged from learning, including students not participating in in-person or remote instruction, and specific strategies for reengaging and supporting students and their families; and
      • Using evidence-based instructional approaches and supports, such as professional development, coaching, ongoing support for educators, high quality tutoring, expanded access to rigorous coursework and content across K-12, and expanded learning time to accelerate learning for students in ways that ensure all students have the opportunity to successfully meet challenging academic content standards without contributing to tracking or remedial courses.


    Ashley Brizzo

    Ashley Brizzo
    400 Maryland Ave SW, Room 3E325
    Washington, DC 20202–5900
    (202) 453-7122

  • Eligibility Details

    Eligible applicants are as follows:

    • Local Education Agencies (including a public charter school that operates as an LEA);
    • State educational agencies (SEA);
    • The Bureau of Indian Education;
    • A consortium of SEAs or LEAs;
    • A nonprofit organization; and
    • An LEA, an SEA, the BIE, or a consortium described in clause (d), 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
    • 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 27, 2022. The deadline for full applications was July 21, 2022.

    Note this program typically occurs in the late spring/early summer each year, and the application period lasts approximately 45 days.

    Award Details

    Up to $159,400,000 is anticipated to be available in total funding for Early-phase, Mid-phase, and Expansion grants in FY22. The Department intends to fund one or more projects under each of the EIR competitions. Between 11 and 20 grants will be awarded. Maximum award is $4,000,000.

    Project periods may last 5 years, but initial Early-phase awards are made for a 3 year period. Applicants must still propose a budget that covers the entire project period of up to 5 years. 

    Note: Under section 4611(c) of the ESEA, the Department must use at least 25 percent of EIR funds for a fiscal year to make awards to applicants serving rural areas.

    A 10% cost match 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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