The U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the $134 million 2014 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition on March 14th, 2014 with the release of the program's invitation for pre-applications for the i3 "Development" grants (up to $3,000,000 each). In its fifth round of competition, the i3 program continues to develop and expand practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare every student to succeed in college and in their careers. The i3 program includes three grant categories: Development, Validation and Scale-up. The Department plans to announce applications for the Validation and Scale-up categories this spring.
"We're excited to begin this year's i3 Development competition to support promising efforts in the field. The initiatives supported by i3 are not only designed to boost students' success, they also improve our understanding of what works for students and educators," said Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Nadya Dabby. "We look forward to supporting new ideas to help all studentsespecially our highest need studentsachieve."
Similar to last year, this competition continues to use broad priorities in addition to more detailed subparts that target specific needs. This structure allows the i3 program to build a portfolio of solutions and corresponding evidence for different approaches to addressing key challenges in public education. This year's priorities for the Development grant category are: Effective Use of Technology, Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs), Improving Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities, Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals, Improving Low-Performing Schools, and Serving Rural Communities.
The Development category, which funds grantees with promising but relatively untested ideas, has been the most popular grant category throughout the previous four i3 competitions. The previous two Development competitions have used a pre-application to reduce the burden on potential applicants and encourage a wider range of applications. For the 2013 i3 Development competition, the Department received 576 pre-applications.
To help grantees enhance relationships at the national, regional, and local level, and in hopes of amplifying and sustaining the work, the i3 competition requires all grantees to secure private-sector matching funds; i3 Development grantees must secure a private-sector match comprising 15 percent of their budget.
The deadline for the pre-application is April 14, 2014. Following the peer review process, the Department will announce a list of the highly rated pre-applications. These pre-applicants will then be invited to apply for the Development competition and given additional time to complete their full application. To learn more about the i3 grant program and the pre-application process, please visit the i3 site: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html.