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 2017 there are three priority areas: (1) Understanding the Brain (UtB), (2) Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS), and (3) any other interdisciplinary research theme of 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…

Award Information

  • For the Traineeship track, NSF expects to fund 14-15 awards at up to $3M each, for up to a 5-year duration.
  • For the IGE track, NSF expects to fund 14-20 awards between $300 and $500K each, for up to a 3 year duration.

Internal Application Instructions

UCI may participate in no more than 4 proposals (2 Traineeship Track and 2 IGE).  Participation includes serving as a lead organization on a non-collaborative proposal or as a lead organization, non-lead organization, or subawardee on a collaborative proposal.

Therefore, interested applicants are asked to submit a preliminary application to the Office of Research by October 21, 2016 (via the UCI Review application system), with the following information

For those submitting as a UCI lead:

  • 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).

For those submitting as a non-lead:

Do not submit through UCI Review.  Instead, please email as soon as possible so that we are aware and can plan around the other organization’s internal review process. If we are not informed of non-lead proposals prior to the 10/21 internal deadline, the non-lead proposal risks not being considered as a candidate for one of UCI’s 4 available slots.

If necessary, an ad hoc committee will convene to review applications and make recommendations to the Vice Chancellor for Research on which four should go forward from UCI.  The selected PIs will be notified in time to meet the NSF’s required LOI deadline of December 9, 2016 (full proposals are due February 7, 2017).

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.


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