2020 STEM BEST® Program Application With New Timeline

A priority for the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council for 2020-2021 is to expand the community of innovative, replicable STEM work-based learning models, known as Iowa STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program referenced throughout the application materials as STEM BEST® Program. A total of 63 STEM BEST® Programs have been awarded throughout Iowa. These programs are now creating and refining new excitement around the state as these models provide meaningful work-based learning experiences and activities in the K-12 educational arena. Further details on these awarded programs can be found at http://www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST.

The goal of STEM BEST® Program is to unite educators and employers to expand the learning continuum from school to careers. The STEM Council has designated a portion of the state legislative funding to support the establishment of Iowa STEM BEST® Program models, preferably evenly distributed across each of Iowa’s six STEM regions. Successful applicants will become an Iowa STEM BEST® Program model of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

A hallmark of Iowa STEM education is the connection of classroom learning to meaning beyond the school walls. Overarching guidelines are provided to assist proposers. These guidelines allow for ample flexibility in design to encourage and support organic development of STEM BEST® Programs which match local strengths, challenges and resources.

STEM BEST® Program models are open to K-12 public and non-public school applicants. Past STEM BEST® Program award recipients are eligible to apply for expanding current programs. The application window for the STEM BEST Program is scheduled to open in February of 2020 and close on May 15, 2020. Programs that are awarded will now have a full ten months to plan and implement their STEM BEST Program proposal.


  1. Applications for STEM BEST® Program must be submitted by Iowa public and non-public school districts and buildings serving students in grades K-12. Clusters of schools and/or districts are encouraged to apply. This requirement then verifies that the submitting entity will be the responsible fiscal agent. The application must also contain evidence of the roles assumed by the partnering school/districts and other identified partners.
  2. For those applicants who have previously received a STEM BEST® Program award or who intend to connect to a past STEM BEST® Program awardee, please note that there is an additional required section in the proposal form that must be completed as part of the submission process. This section will be thoroughly reviewed to determine merits of the expanded program model with regards to student engagement, specific measurable outcomes and elements of financial need.
  3. There is a distinction made between programs making re-application for additional partners and programs making a distinctly different application apart from a previously awarded district. For example, a district that has a previously awarded high school program may now apply for a separate elementary program which is not engaged with the earlier awarded program.

Grant Funding: Up to $25,000

An applicant is required to provide a 1:1 match, up to $25,000. The match may be either cash and/or in-kind support. The match may be contributed by the applicant or a community partner. To be eligible as match, the cash and/or in-kind contribution must be provided during the funding period of the STEM BEST® Program grant.

Deadline to Apply: May 15, 2020, 11:59 p.m.

Funding Period: August 1, 2020 to June 15, 2021

Reporting: Progress reports are due January 30, 2021, and May 31, 2021.

For the purpose of monitoring program elements and determining any new strategies that will further grow the Iowa STEM BEST® Program models, successful applicants are also required to submit a final report by June 30, 2022.


  • February 10, 2020: Application portal opens
  • March 2020: Infomational Webinar for prospective applicants. 
  • May 15, 2020: Application due
  • May 15 - June 14, 2020: Application review
  • July 2020: Awards announced
  • August 1, 2020 - June 15, 2021: STEM BEST® Program planning and implementation
  • January 30, 2021: Progress Report 1
  • May 31, 2021: Progress Report 2 and final invoice must be submitted to:
    • Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council, Attn: Program Manager, 214 East Bartlett Hall, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614
  • June 30, 2022: Final Report


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