This page contains information about existing College- and University-level education and outreach initiatives that could inspire you or be leveraged for your next grant proposal.


Learn more by visiting the websites below or reach out to the program contacts directly.


If you'd like to have your existing education/outreach effort included on this site, please contact Strategic Research Initiatives.


Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES)

Program Website:

Program Contact: Sarah Eichhorn, Ph.D., Executive Director of TIDES

What is TIDES?

The Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES) was established within the College of Natural Sciences in Spring 2014, with the goal of providing a central focus for STEM education and showcasing our commitment to communicating science throughout the university and beyond. TIDES is directed by Dr. Erin Dolan. In addition to overseeing the Freshman Research Initiative (see below), TIDES facilitates the development of novel teaching methods and experimental programs, extends the college’s focus on undergraduate research, develops training programs for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to become outstanding future educators, and expands career services for students and postdoctoral fellows. TIDES also plans to develop a faculty-led program that encourages student entrepreneurial activities.

How would I leverage TIDES in a grant proposal?

TIDES programmatic staff can work with you to develop broader impacts and educational outreach plans for your proposal, including dissemination of your research results via innovative teaching methods in a TIDES-supported learning environment and formal assessment of the impact of your educational outreach activites. TIDES teaching postdocs and staff also can help you to develop modules to be delivered within your own departmental courses, or to update your curriculum to include more innovative teaching methods. Such partnerships with TIDES will require a commitment in your proposal budget to support TIDES' effort toward developing the educational or curriculum innovations that you select. The amount of funding support needed is flexible and will depend on the complexity of the educational outreach/broader impact plan that you're proposing. For more information, contact Strategic Research Initiatives.


Freshman Research Initiative

Program Contact: Stacia Rodenbusch, Ph.D., Director, Freshman Research Initiative

What is FRI?

The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) is a nationally recognized model of undergraduate education that joins the core missions of the research university: research and instruction. Educational research has shown that students who get involved in science research early in their undergraduate careers are more likely to develop critical relationships with faculty, complete a science major, graduate from college, and pursue graduate education or careers in science. This is especially true for students from backgrounds that are under-represented in the sciences. Studies have also shown that research experiences help undergraduates develop scientific skills, knowledge, and identity, as well as ways of thinking that are important for success in science. FRI is unique in providing an avenue for undergraduates to participate in the research at scale.

How does FRI work?

Over 750 freshmen enter the program each year, joining one of 25+ “research streams,” which are co-directed by a faculty principal investigator and a Ph.D.- level research educator (RE). With day-to-day guidance from the RE and mentorship from undergraduate peer mentors and a graduate teaching assistant, students carry out research projects connected to the PI’s research interest.

How would I leverage FRI in a grant proposal?

Check out "Fast Facts" info-graphic for more information.


Fun with Chemistry

Program Contact: Kate Biberdorf, Ph.D., Lecturer

What is Fun with Chemistry?

Fun with Chemistry is a science outreach program provided by the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin. The program makes chemistry come alive and fosters interest in learning and discovery for students of all ages by participation in hands-on activities. Fun with Chemistry staff demonstrate fundamental principles of chemistry through explosions, liquid nitrogen ice cream, the production of slime, instant snow, and other fun activities. Fun with Chemistry outreach events can inspire students to focus on science and pursue a career in a chemistry-related field. To date the program has interacted with more than 4,500 Austin students.

How would I leverage Fun with Chemistry in a grant proposal?

Fun with Chemistry staff can work with you to develop broader impact plans for your grant proposal, including incorporation of your research area into a Fun with Chemistry hands-on outreach event. Fun with Chemistry staff will schedule outreach events with local schools and co-present lectures and demos with you or your student/postdoc researchers. Staff can also help you devise an inexpensive, at-home science experiment “gift” to provide to each student who participates in a Fun with Chemistry event, to broadly disseminate the love of science. Please submit a proposal request form to initiate this process.


UTeach Outreach

Program Contact: Mary Miller, BS, Director of UTeach Outreach

What is UTeach Outreach?

UTeach Outreach comprises many programs that serve the Austin community, including a service learning class for UT-Austin students and after-school clubs, summer camps, field trips, and more for Austin-area K-12 students. UT-Austin undergraduates from all majors enroll in UTeach Outreach courses, where they learn how to create and teach engaging lessons that inspire 2nd-6th grade students to explore scientific principles. UTeach Outreach has established strong, ongoing partnerships with many K-12 schools in AISD and other local school districts, and is one of the best ways to reach K-12 audiences with your research.

How would I leverage UTeach Outreach in a grant proposal?

UTeach Outreach provides the necessary infrastructure to develop, disseminate, and evaluate learning modules based on the research you're proposing. UTeach Outreach staff develop lessons in collaboration with UTeach Master Teachers and pre-service teachers, and the lessons are then tested on groups of K-12 kids taking part in UTeach programs. Drawing from their extensive expertise in education and pedagogy, UTeach Outreach will ensure that these learning modules are aligned with current educational standards. The modules also can be disseminated broadly within the UTeach national teacher network. In return, you (the PI) would be expected to collaborate with UTeach staff and service-learning students in the creation of the lessons, and to allocate funds in your proposal budget to support the associated costs and lesson materials.

Visit the UTeach Outreach Grant Partnerships website to see what kinds of partnership options are available and to make contact with UTeach Outreach staff. 


Summer Research Scholars

Program Contact: Robert Reichle, Ph.D., Senior Program Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Research


Synopsis: If you’re proposing summertime research activities for UT or non-UT undergraduates, such as an NSF REU program,the Summer Research Scholars (SRS) Program overseen by the Office of Undergraduate Research can help with student coordination logistics. SRS staff can work with your program coordinator to find information about housing costs and student services and to coordinate housing adjacent to other summer researchers in order to build a social community of undergrad researchers. SRS also coordinates social activities for undergraduates staying on campus for the summer, including a welcome reception, info session on graduate school, a bowling night, and a poster session in August. If you have an additional activity you’d like to open to summer undergraduate researchers, SRS also welcomes suggestions to build their calendar.


Finally, you can advertise your summer research program on the SRS List of Programs website. This is a great way to recruit undergraduates both within and outside UT to your program.


Outreach Efforts at UT, in Austin, and Beyond

In addition to the educational resources above, the College of Natural Sciences maintains a list of outreach efforts emphasizing engagement with the broader community. You may wish to review this list of outreach efforts – from radio programs to speaker series to youth camps – for potential collaborative opportunities that relate to your proposed research.