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What is ADVANCE?

In 2001, the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched the ADVANCE: Institutional Transformation program, in order to "catalyze change that will transform academic environments in ways that enhance the participation and advancement of women in science and engineering."1 By focusing on changing the academic work environments that affect the recruitment and retention of women in faculty positions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, the NSF changed the conversation around these issues. Prior to the NSF ADVANCE program, most efforts at increasing the numbers of women faculty in academic STEM focused on "fixing the women"—the ADVANCE program put money and focus on "fixing the institutions" instead.2

In the first year of ADVANCE Institutional Transformation funding, nine universities, including UW-Madison, were awarded the large ($3.75 million) grants. These were: CUNY-Hunter College, Georgia Tech, NMSU, UC-Irvine, UC-Boulder, U of Michigan, UPR-Humacao, U of Washington, and UW-Madison. Click here to view the complete text of UW-Madison's ADVANCE Institutional Transformation proposal.

In subsequent years, the NSF ADVANCE program has funded several additional rounds of Institutional Transformation awards. In addition, the ADVANCE program currently funds the following types of grants:

The UW-Madison has completed a 3-year PAID award. Click here to view the complete text of WISELI's PAID proposal (2007-2009).

For more information about the ADVANCE program, visit ADVANCE at a Glance, or visit the NSF ADVANCE program page.

For more information about the innovations being developed by individual ADVANCE sites, visit the ADVANCE Portal website, or the Strategies for Effecting Gender Equity and Institutional Change (StratEGIC) website.


  1. National Science Foundation. 2001. ADVANCE: Increasing the participation and advancement of women in academic science and eingineering careers. Program Announcement nsf0169.
  2. Rosser, Sue V. The Science Glass Ceiling: Academic Women Scientists and the Struggle to Succeed. New York: Rutledge; 2004.

WISELI ADVANCE-Related Service