CALL FOR PROPOSALS: NSF Research Traineeship Program

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, potentially transformative, and scalable models for STEM graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that ensure that graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers. The NRT program includes two tracks: the Traineeship Track and the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Track.

The Traineeship Track 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, aligned with changing workforce and research needs, and scalable. For this solicitation the Traineeship Track has one priority interdisciplinary research theme — Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (DESE); proposals are encouraged also on any non-DESE interdisciplinary research theme that is a national priority. The IGE Track is dedicated solely to piloting, testing, and evaluating novel, innovative, and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education, both disciplinary and interdisciplinary, to generate the knowledge required for their customization, implementation, and broader adoption. Whereas the Traineeship Track promotes building on the current knowledge base to more effectively train STEM graduate students, the IGE Track supports test-bed projects with high potential to enrich, improve, and extend the knowledge base with attention to transferability and innovation. For both tracks, strategic collaborations with the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, national laboratories, field stations, teaching and learning centers, museums, and academic partners are encouraged.  Read more…

For the Traineeship track, NSF expects to fund 24-30 awards at up to $3M each, over a 5-year period.
For the IGE track, NSF expects to fund 14-20 awards at up to $500K for a 2-3 year duration.

Each institution may submit two Traineeship Track proposals and one Innovations in Graduate Education Track proposals. If an institution submits only one Traineeship Track proposal, it can be on either DESE or another theme. If an institution submits two Traineeship Track proposals, at least one must be a DESE proposal. In either case (DESE or non-DESE), the traineeship theme of a Traineeship Track proposal must be interdisciplinary.

Application Instructions

UCI may submit no more than 3 proposals, therefore interested applicants are asked to submit a preliminary application to my office by October 5, 2015 (via UCI Review), with the following information:

  • Brief proposal (up to four pages),
  • Preliminary budget,
  • CV or bio-sketch (no more than two pages) of the primary researchers,
  • Support letter from the Dean (or the equivalent in units without a Dean).
To apply through UCI Review:

  • Visit
  • Look for this call by name under “Open Competitions” and click the hyperlink
  • Click “Apply” on the right hand side under “Application Tools”
  • If you’re not already signed in, click “UCI WebLogin” and fill in your UCInetID username and password
  • All details are automatically saved as you enter them. When you are ready to submit, click “Submit Application” at the bottom of the page. You will receive a confirmation email once your application has been submitted and accepted.

If necessary, an ad hoc committee will convene to review the preliminary applications and make recommendations to the Interim Vice Chancellor for Research on which three should go forward from UCI.  The selected PI will be notified in time to meet the NSF’s optional LOI deadline of December 22, 2015 (full proposals are due February 22, 2016).

For the complete NSF guidelines, including detailed information about the NRT program, please refer to   Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at or x4-0372.

James W. Hicks
Interim Vice Chancellor for Research

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