STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program

The STEM BEST Program application is closed.


The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has awarded 118 STEM BEST® Programs since 2014 with an opportunity to grow a series of community collaborations involving school+business partnerships. Working side-by-side, teachers and industry professionals will craft curriculum and projects that prepare students for exciting career pathways in the STEM fields of manufacturing, information technology, bioscience (agriculture and medicine), finance, and more.

“The STEM BEST satellite model will allow students to experience the industry or business environment firsthand. That experience is vital to prepare students for STEM success in college or career training after high school, and it allows business and industry to introduce students to outstanding career opportunities.”

–Governor Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council


  • March 14, 2022: Application portal opens
  • May 9, 2022: Application due by 11:59pm
  • May-June, 2022: Application Review
  • June 2022: Awards Announced
  • July 2022 - May 2023: STEM BEST Program Planning and Implementation
  • May 15, 2023: Progress Report 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
  • May 15, 2024: 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,

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.


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 for additional information.
The STEM Council worked with the Center for Evaluation and Assessment (CEA) in the University of Iowa College of Education to conduct an evaluation to inform program implementation strategies for current and future STEM BEST Program models. Three questions were asked as part of the survey: 1) What influence has the STEM BEST Program had on graduates' lives? 2) What program skills are most valuable to students post-graduation? and 3) What lasting impressions has the STEM BEST Program had on graduates? The highlights of the survey and the full evaluation report are included in the links below.