Informal Science
Our goal is to support the informal science community to develop work that addresses the gaps that exist in outcomes measurement, research and evaluation, program scale up, leadership development, policy issues, and pathways or pipeline design.

The Noyce Foundation has undertaken several major initiatives to support high quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming in out-of-school time (OST). These initiatives are impacting millions of youth, including a high percentage from populations underrepresented in STEM fields. Three primary areas of work are:

Evidence of impact of informal STEM programs. The Foundation is supporting the identification of the research and evidence base for OST STEM and the development of field consensus around a set of outcomes indicators for policymakers and providers. In addition, we are supporting the creation of an assessment instrument to provide information on the interest and engagement impacts of OST STEM programming.

Scaling quality STEM programming outside of school. The Noyce Foundation has supported the scaling efforts of large organizations that either have science as a mission or are intermediaries or networks of traditional OST programs integrating science into their offerings. As these projects mature, we are learning valuable information about how to bring good programs to scale and sustain them over time.

National policy and awareness efforts to broaden and support science in OST. The Foundation’s policy work includes sharing the evidence for informal and OST science, expanding funding streams, and including informal science in state STEM education policy and programs.


Afterschool Alliance (Advancing STEM in Afterschool)
Washington, DC

Field-building efforts to advance STEM in afterschool and out-of-school settings, including providing technical assistance to state afterschool networks; defining youth outcomes and disseminating the research to practitioners and policy makers; and increasing advocacy and communications.

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The Exploratorium (Museums Afterschool: Principles, Data, and Design) San Francisco, CA

The MAPDD project works with partnerships of science museum educators and afterschool programs to develop a set of design principles for high quality informal STEM activities in afterschool, program standards, and assessments, and outcome evidence for what such programming can achieve in the afterschool context, all to be shared with the field.

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Mott-Noyce collaboration for STEM in statewide afterschool networks

The STEM in OST initiative, a collaboration between the Mott and Noyce foundations, is leveraging the Mott Foundation’s national network of 40 state-level afterschool intermediaries by introducing science programming and technical assistance into statewide networks, with a goal of reaching 19 states over 3 years. Implementation is underway in 4 states – Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania – and 4 more states will launch systemwide work in Fall 2013. Preceding the formal collaboration with the Mott Foundation, the Noyce Foundation began support of major work in 7 statewide afterschool networks -- California, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New York.

National 4-H Council (4-H Science Initiative) Washington, DC

The 4-H Science Initiative will bring science programming to a million new youth by 2013. Support includes professional development, curriculum development, program implementation, evaluation and development of marketing and publicity plan.

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New York Hall of Science (Museum Design Collaborative) Queens, NY

The Museum Design Collaborative, a collaboration among the New York Hall of Science, the Tech Museum of Innovation in California, the Museum of Science in Boston, the Science Museum of Minnesota, TELUS Spark Science Centre in Canada, and Explora in New Mexico, will foster and enhance design‐based STEM learning in museums and other out-of-school settings.

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Program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency (Assessment Tools in Informal Science) Belmont, MA

PEAR’s Assessment Tools in Informal Science website is an online resource designed to help practitioners, evaluators, researchers, and policymakers select instruments to assess science learning and child outcomes in out-of-school programs. The site includes reviews and ratings by practitioners who are using these tools.

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Science Friday (Sustaining and Expanding Radio and Web Programming) New York, NY

Expanding the reach of interesting science programming beyond radio to schools and underserved communities.

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SRI International (Scaling Build IT within the Girls Inc. Network) Menlo Park, CA

Support to scale the Build IT program within the Girls Inc. network. Build IT is a technology design program for middle school girls originally supported by the National Science Foundation.

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Techbridge (Scaling Girls Go Techbridge within the Girl Scouts Network) Oakland, CA

Support to scale the Girls Go Techbridge curriculum within the Girl Scouts network nationally. Techbridge, a program of the Chabot Space & Science Center, is a science and engineering program for middle school girls.

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The After-School Corporation (Afterschool Science Programming Nationally) New York, NY

In partnership with the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems, expand the Frontiers in Urban Science Exploration initiative to build nationwide momentum and capacity for high-quality informal science learning in afterschool hours. Sites during phase one included Providence, RI; San Francisco Bay Area, CA; Boston, MA; Palm Beach County, FL; and Baltimore, MD. Sites during phase two include Boston, Palm Beach County, Baltimore, and Chicago.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Click2SciencePD) Lincoln, NE

Development of an online/blended model of professional development in science for afterschool/out-of-school program staff, using videos that model effective practice with wrap-around tools and resources to affect out-of-school science program scale and quality of implementation.

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