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The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that explore ways for graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs to develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers.
The program is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs. For FY2018, proposals are requested in any interdisciplinary research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on two high priority areas: (1) Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) and (2) Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS). HDR is expected to continue as a priority research area for FY2019 and FY2020 competitions, along with a new priority area to be announced in 2018.
The NRT program addresses workforce development, emphasizing broad participation, and institutional capacity building needs in graduate education. Strategic collaborations with the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, national laboratories, field stations, teaching and learning centers, informal science centers, and academic partners are encouraged. NRT especially welcomes proposals that will pair well with the efforts of NSF INCLUDES to develop STEM talent from all sectors and groups in our society (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/nsfincludes/index.jsp). Collaborations are encouraged between NRT proposals and existing NSF INCLUDES projects, provided the collaboration strengthens both projects.
A letter of intent is required and must be submitted by an Authorized Organizational Representative during the submission window for subsequent full proposal submission and review.
There is a new requirement to address institutional partnerships in the letter of intent. The letter of intent requires prescribed language that all partner institutions have been informed by the lead institution that their involvement may impact their institutional eligibility limits or that no partner institutions, aside from an evaluator, will be involved in the project.
One new priority research area, Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), was added for FY2018. The Understanding the Brain (UtB) priority area that was active during FY2016-FY2017 has been removed for FY2018; proposals in this area of research may still be submitted without the UtB designation.
For FY2018, proposals are requested in any interdisciplinary research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on two high priority areas: (1) HDR and (2) Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS). HDR is anticipated to continue as a priority research area for FY2019 and FY2020 competitions, along with a new priority area to be announced in 2018.
There are new supplementary letter requirements. Full proposals include required letters from the lead institution (support letter) and NRT-eligible partner institutions (collaboration letter).
The NRT Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Track is no longer associated with the NRT solicitation; please see solicitation NSF 17-585.
Letters of Intent (LOI) submitted in response to the initial due date (December 6, 2017) should be submitted in accordance with the current NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1).
LOIs and Full Proposals submitted in response to the later set of due dates should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF PAPPG (NSF 18-1). NSF anticipates release of the PAPPG in the Fall of 2017 and it will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018.