2020 STEM BEST® Program Application With New Timeline

The application portal for 2020-2021 STEM BEST® Program is now closed.

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. A total of 63 STEM BEST® Programs have been awarded throughout Iowa. 

The goal of STEM BEST® Program is to unite educators and employers to expand the learning continuum from school to careers. 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.


February 10, 2020: Application portal opens

February-March: Five Part Informational Webinar Series, click on the webinar links below to access the recording:
          Session 1: "Work-based learning and STEM BEST®: What is it and why do I need it?"
          Session 2: "Tips to building partnerships with local business and industry."
          Session 3: "Grant writing 101"
          Session 4: "Cost-Share: What is it and how do I plan for it."
          Session 5: "How to navigate the online database for application submission."

April-May:  The STEM Council hosted open Question and Answer sessions.

June 15, 2020: Application due

June-July, 2020: Application Review

August 2020: Awards Announced

August 2020 - June 2021: STEM BEST Program Planning and Implementation

January 30, 2021: Progress Report 1 Due

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 15, 2022: Final Report Due


  • 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.
  • Different school buildings within an Iowa district may submit an independent STEM BEST proposal in the same proposal period. Individual school buildings may not submit more than one proposal in the same proposal period, unless one is for school-specific BEST creation and another is part of a multi-district consortium. In instances where this policy does not apply, please contact the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, info@IowaSTEM.org
  • 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.
  • 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.


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 award.



Please contact hunt@IowaSTEM.org for additional information.

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