This qualitative study investigated the experiences of learning technology professors with National Science Foundation (NSF) external grant funding focused on education. The study investigated stories related to using NSF grants by learning technology professors across the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It enumerated the need for collaboration between industry, government, and higher education institutions (HEIs). The study aimed to establish how more grants lead to increased opportunities for learning technology professors to pursue academic research and impact society. The research questions were: What outlier stories emerge from learning technology professors by securing NSF grant funding? How do learning technology professors utilize NSF grants to contribute to academic research? How do learning technology professors with NSF grants contribute to collaboration between universities, industry, and government? The qualitative method was appropriate for investigating these questions. The study employed a qualitative design for data collection and thematic analysis to identify dominant themes. Future research includes expanding the scope to compare experiences across different disciplines and evaluating the impact of NSF grants on students, institutions, and the technology industry in Silicon Valley. Clarke and Braun’s (2013) six thematic steps were used as the data analysis method. Several themes were expected to arise during thematic analysis to describe the essence of learning technology professors’ experiences and how they leveraged NSF grant funding. The NSF propels partnerships, innovations, infrastructure, and education, and is a beacon of opportunity for research studies due to its unwavering dedication to catalyzing groundbreaking discoveries and advancing knowledge across diverse fields. NSF offers a unique platform to explore transformative funding in driving scientific breakthroughs and fostering societal progress on a global scale. Preliminary research has shown an apparent gap in funding xvi HEIs. Without a robust funding model, overreliance on governments by HEIs limits learning opportunities. Promoting collaboration between governments, industry, and universities would increase funds to HEIs. Subsequently, the number of learners joining HEIs would increase, fostering more research and development across different sectors.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Education, Higher; Technology--College teachers; Research grants; National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

June Schmieder