Following the launch of the 2013 Investing in Innovation (i3) Development competition earlier this spring, today the U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the competition for the i3 program's Scale-up and Validation categories. These grants will continue the Department's investments in promising strategies that can help to close achievement gaps and improve student learning.
"As the Department begins the fourth round of the i3 competition, we are encouraged by the work our current i3 grantees are undertaking, and look forward to supporting the scaling of effective practices in classrooms across the country through i3's Validation and Scale-up grants," said Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement. "These grants will target federal funds where they are needed most, and we are eager to continue to advance innovative strategies in education."
The i3 program aims to develop and expand practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare every student to succeed in college and in their careers, and, as in years past, includes three grant categories: Development, Validation and Scale-up. This year, school districts and nonprofit organizations in partnership with districts or schools are eligible to compete for nearly $135 million across all three categories. The Department invited pre-applications for the Development categorythe most popular of the threeearlier this spring, and received nearly 600 submissions.
The maximum grant amount available in each category is based on the evidence of effectiveness. This year, Validation grants will provide up to $12 million to fund projects with moderate levels of evidence, and Scale-up grants will award up to $20 million for proposals that have strong evidence of improving student achievement.
As noted in the notice of final priorities for the i3 program, the 2013 competition incorporates a few changes to reflect lessons learned from prior years and to strengthen the program overall. While the Department continues to focus on broad priorities, the 2013 i3 competition includes subparts under each priority to target specific areas of need and builds a portfolio of solutions that addresses specific challenges in education. Complementing the Administration's efforts to increase access to high-quality early learning opportunities for more childrenespecially those from disadvantaged communitiesthis year, the Department has included an invitational priority in both the Scale-up and Validation categories for applicants working on delivering high-quality early learning programs.
Applications will be evaluated by peer reviewers in the coming months, and the Department will announce the highest-rated applicants in late fall. Those applicants will then be required to secure private-sector matching funds in order to become a grantee. Validation grantees must secure a private-sector match comprising 10 percent of their budget; Scale-up grantees must secure 5 percent. As it did for the Development category this year, the Department also has modified the Scale-up and Validation competitions to help grantees build meaningful private-sector support. Each highest-rated applicant must submit evidence of 50 percent of the required private-sector match prior to the awarding of an i3 grant by the end of 2013. The i3 grantees must then provide evidence of the remaining 50 percent of the required private-sector match no later than six months after the project start date. Awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2013.
The notice inviting applications is published in the Federal Register today, and applications for the Scale-up and Validation grants are due July 2, 2013. To access the Scale-up notice, go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-03/pdf/2013-10464.pdf. For the Validation notice, go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-03/pdf/2013-10466.pdf. To learn more about the Investing in Innovation Fund, visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html.