Call for Proposals for the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a call for proposals for the Research Traineeship (NRT) program
  • Each institution is limited to submitting two NRT proposals
  • Details of the call for proposals can be found on the NSF website

Deadline for Letter of Intent (LOI):

  • Submit letter of intent (LOI) to the Graduate School: Monday, November 27, 2017 (see instructions, below)
  • The Graduate School will assemble a team of faculty reviewers to select up to two LOIs for submission to the NSF. Principal investigators will be notified of the team’s decision, and selected LOIs will be submitted to the NSF by the Graduate School no later than December 6, 2017

Deadlines for selected LOIs:

  • Submit pre-proposals to the Graduate School: Monday, December 18, 2017
  • Pre-proposals for the selected LOIs will be reviewed by a team of faculty. Principal investigators will be notified of the team’s decision no later than Friday, December 29, 2017
  • Selected proposals are due to the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration by 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 2, 2018
  • Selected proposals are due to NSF on Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Instructions for NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program Letters of Intent

Email your Letter of Intent no later than Monday, November 27, 2017 to the Graduate School Dean's Office. Please include the following:


  • The name and departmental affiliation of the Principal Investigator (PI)
  • The name(s) and departmental affiliation(s) of the Co-PI(s) and others composing the Core Participants (maximum 10).
  • The names(s) of any other (non-lead) participating institutions or organizations. If the sole contribution of the partner is evaluation, then designate as “Evaluation: institutional or organizational name”; evaluators are exempt from institutional eligibility limits (see section IV). If there are partnering institutions, then the LOI MUST include the appropriate mandatory statement at the end of the project synopsis (see Project Synopsis below).

Project Title

The title must begin with “NRT-HDR:” or “NRT-INFEWS:” for projects targeting the Harnessing the Data Revolution or Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems research areas, respectively. Titles for projects addressing another interdisciplinary theme of national importance must begin with “NRT:”. Any collaborative project with proposals from multiple institutions should begin with “Collaborative Research:”. For example, a collaborative proposal in INFEWS would have a title beginning “Collaborative Research: NRT-INFEWS:”

Project Synopsis

Up to 2500 text characters including required organizational statement:

Provide a brief summary of the vision and goals of the proposed training program, including a brief description of the interdisciplinary research theme, the main training elements, the integration of the research and training, and the need for the program. Add the appropriate required partner organization statement at the end of the project synopsis. If the project has a partner institution that is not solely an evaluator, then the following text must appear at the end of the project synopsis: "The participating institutions and organizations have agreed to partner on this NRT project. The NRT-eligible institutions have been informed by the lead organization that serving as a non-lead organization or subawardee on a proposal where the institution appears in the budget will count toward their institutional eligibility limit of two NRT proposals per annual competition.” NRT-eligible institutions are universities and colleges accredited in and having a campus located in the U.S. that award a research-based master’s degree and/or a doctoral degree in a STEM discipline supported by the National Science Foundation. If the project has no NRT-eligible partner institutions or if the only NRT-eligible institution solely has an evaluation role (and has been designated as such, see participating institution instructions above), then the following text is required at the end of the project synopsis: "There are no NRT-eligible institutions partnering on this project outside of an evaluation role."

Target Disciplines

List up to five primary disciplinary areas contributing to the research focus

Program Summary

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. Collaborations are encouraged between NRT proposals and existing NSF INCLUDES projects, provided the collaboration strengthens both projects.