2018 UNC System Challenge Grant

The North Carolina Science Festival is offering event sponsorships of up to $5,000 to UNC System schools to host community events during the 2018 NC Science Festival in April. Festival planners anticipate making 4-6 awards.

The NC Science Festival wants to showcase the scientific teaching and research that happens on UNC System campuses. The Festival is offering funds to support a select group of community events themed around STEM during the month-long celebration to strenghten our exciting suite of public programs for the people of North Carolina.

There are four major points of emphasis for Festival programming:

  1. Fun and engaging elements
  2. New or exclusive access to research, research spaces, or experts
  3. Demonstration of how aspects of STEM are connected to our daily lives
  4. Celebrating careers in STEM

Priority of event sponsorshops will be given to events that:

  1. Meet one or more of the major points of emphasis listed above
  2. Engage multiple partners and diverse community audiences
  3. Expand the Festival's overall footprint
  4. Engage with the Festival's annual theme in an interesting way (2018 Theme: Food & Drink)


UNC System Event producers/partners with a track record of creating high-quality science education events for North Carolina audiences, inclusive of departments or individuals who have previously hosted NCSF events on UNC System campuses.

How to apply:

Email your proposal to ncscifest@unc.edu as a Word document. Requirements for submissions are below.

  • Deadline to apply: December 31, 2017.
  • Sponsored events will be notified of awards by January 5, 2018.
  • The maximum sponsorship amount is $5,000. Please apply for only what you need.
  • Applicants must show at least a 1:1 cost match of funds requested.
  • Funds will be dispersed in February 2018.

Requirements for event funds:

  1. Event must be offered at least once in April, 2018.
  2. Event must be free of charge to attendees.
  3. If selected, finalized event details and description must be submitted by January 29, 2018, along with a signed letter of agreement.
  4. Event hosts must agree to promote the Festival, adhere to Festival branding guidelines, and to use Festival materials leading up to and during the event.
  5. Event Hosts must use Festival evaluation tools.
  6. After event: Event Hosts must submit a post-event summary including expense report, start the process to return any unspent funds, and submit evaluation results as requested by the Festival evaluator within 7 days of the event.

Submission Requirements:

  1. Event organizer's statement: Brief description of your department and team. How does the proposed event support your outreach goals? (Limit: 250 words)
  2. Event proposal: Detail the proposed event. What other organizations, if any, will be involved in the event? (Limit: 500 words)
  3. Statement describing how funds will be spent: What is the estimated cost to present the event, and what amount is requested for the sponsorship? Please provide details about how funds will be spent as well as how costs will be matched by your institution. (Limit: 250 words)

Deadline to apply is December 31, 2017.

Please send your submissions to ncscifest@unc.edu.

The selection committee will look at the following criteria:

  1. Does the event occur during the Festival?
  2. Is the event free to the public or a targeted subset of the public (like teens, seniors, etc.)?
  3. Is the event a special program that occurs only during the NC Science Festival?

If yes to all three,

  1. Quality of proposed event. For example: Is the event fun and hands-on, or if not, does it provide unique access, such as behind-the-scenes tours, interaction with experts, etc.?
  2. STEM aspect of proposed event. Does the event have the potential to teach the public something exciting and/or new about STEM? Or, does the event serve to raise the awareness of how STEM is connected to our everyday lives and/or provide an opportunity to learn about stem careers?
  3. Project plan. Does organizer demonstrate ability to produce proposed event?
  4. Audience impact. Does the event have a potential to serve a large number of people?
  5. Geographic impact. Is the event in a region of the state where we'd like to have more events?

Questions? Please contact Jonathan Frederick, NC Science Festival director, at 919-843-8329