ETS awarded $3.25M in federal funds toward AI, STEM education project

Princeton-based ETS has been awarded nearly $3.25 million from the National Science Foundation to support research & development of artificial intelligence technologies that will advance inclusion of students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The grant is part of a larger, five-year, $20 million award to ETS, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Temple University and the University of Florida to fund the development of the Inclusive and Intelligent Technologies for Education, or INVITE, Institute to be based at U. of I.

“I am proud that ETS is a recipient of this historic NSF grant, along with four other renowned institutions, that will support new discoveries in STEM learning to better serve students who are most in need of these opportunities,” Kadrive Ercikan, vice president for research at ETS, said in a prepared statement. “This funding will advance transformational research that holds the power of increasing students’ interest, participation and engagement in STEM for the rest of their lives. Together, we will pave new pathways for U.S. students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to become future leaders in STEM.”

Diego Zapata-Rivera, ETS’ distinguished presidential appointee, will serve as co-principal investigator and research co-director of the project, which will serve more than 96,000 students across 24 school districts.

“I am excited that ETS will co-lead the INVITE Institute — we have an opportunity to explore the latest advances in foundational AI by taking a holistic look at a learner’s cognitive, inter- and intrapersonal skills,” Zapata-Rivera said in a statement. “This groundbreaking research has the potential to provide critical insights to enable educators to adapt learning to meet students where they are and empower learners with information that will support their growth and help them achieve their educational goals.”