OSP FO# 11-046

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF)/Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)/Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)/Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI)/Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)/Directorate for Engineering (ENG)/Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)/Office of Integrative Activities (OIA)/Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)/Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS)/Office of Polar Programs (OPP)/Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE)

PROGRAM: Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program

OBJECTIVES: This program provides funding to support new models in graduate education in which students are engaged in an environment that supports innovation to learn through hands-on experience how their own research may contribute in new ways to benefit society and to learn the processes needed for successful implementation of such contributions. Building upon the IGERT platform, this solicitation intends to catalyze an institutional change to integrate innovation education and training in addition to interdisciplinary research, team work and professional skills. For the purpose of this solicitation, innovation in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines is grounded in the interdisciplinary research theme of the proposal, and is defined as the spectrum of work that may ultimately utilize the results and discoveries from the interdisciplinary research for the development of creative and implementable solutions to societal challenges and benefit global society.

Proposals submitted must describe integrative, research-based, graduate education and training activities in emerging areas of science and engineering. This traineeship proposal should be organized around an interdisciplinary theme that is based on transformative interdisciplinary research in science/technology/engineering/mathematical sciences. The interdisciplinary theme should provide a framework for integrating research and education and for promoting collaborative efforts within and across departments and institutions. Students should gain the breadth of skills, strengths, and understanding to work in an interdisciplinary environment while being well grounded with depth of knowledge in a major field.

The interdisciplinary theme as well as the collaboration across disciplines should serve as a platform for creating an environment that supports innovation and preparation of the trainees with skills needed for becoming successful innovators. Students should be educated to recognize how their research might be utilized for an economic or societal benefit, and should learn the processes that would be required to implement them in practice through hands-on experience. As an opportunity for faculty to devise new approaches to graduate education, the IGERT project should provide students with experience relevant to both academic and nonacademic careers.

IGERT recognizes that globalization of research and career opportunities require students to acquire an international perspective. This perspective may be gained through programs within the institution, or through strongly integrated, collaborative research experiences and/or fieldwork at foreign institutions and sites. The graduate experience should contribute to the professional and personal development of the students and equip them to understand and integrate scientific, technical, business, social, ethical, policy and global issues to confront the challenging problems of the future.

Outreach activities involving K–12 teachers and students to engage and inspire future STEM innovators, and provide teachers with state-of-the-art knowledge emanating from the interdisciplinary themes, are encouraged.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: U.S. academic institutions in the United States, its territories or possessions that grant the Ph.D. degree in in the sciences and engineering may submit proposals. Projects may involve more than one institution, but a single institution must accept overall management responsibility. The lead institution must grant the Ph.D. degree in at least one of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields supported by the National Science Foundation and at least one Ph.D. granting unit should participate in the IGERT. Non-Ph.D. granting institutions, nonacademic, and international organizations may serve as collaborating organizations.

Any given individual may participate as PI or co-PI in only one proposal submission. A PI or co-PI on one proposal may serve as a faculty participant on other proposals.

An institution may submit no more than one (1) proposal either as a single institution or as a lead institution in a multi-institution proposal. A multi-institution proposal is defined as one that has at least one co-PI at a different academic institution than that of the PI, a sub-award to a different academic institution than that of the PI, or both.

IGERT awards may be renewed only once. If more than half of the leaders of the proposed IGERT (including the PI and co-PIs) and/or more than half of the faculty participants in the proposed IGERT have participated in a prior IGERT award, then this proposal will be considered a renewal.

All stipend recipients supported by IGERT funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Individuals who are not eligible to receive NSF IGERT funding (e.g., foreign students, students in non-STEM fields, those obtaining professional degrees, etc.) may participate in all IGERT activities as IGERT associates, but they may not receive any NSF IGERT funding. In contributing to a diverse science and engineering workforce for the future, the IGERT project must include strategies for recruitment, mentoring, and retention aimed at members of groups underrepresented in science and engineering, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities.

BU Internal Deadline: April 8, 2011
Letter of Intent Deadline (required): May 2, 2011
Full Proposal Deadline: July 01, 2011

FUNDING INFORMATION: NSF plans to make approximately 18 new and renewal awards from this competition as continuing grants, depending on the quality of the proposals and the availability of funds. The anticipated funding amount in FY 2012 is $13.5 million. Up to $3.3 million per award may be budgeted over 5 years pending availability of funds. This includes the $200,000 Competitive Incentive Fund per award for trainees for research and innovation activities. Additional funds up to $200,000 per award may be available to support integrated international research activities.

The NSF contribution to graduate student stipends is currently $30,000 per year per IGERT trainee for a 12-month appointment, and budgeting for stipends should be made on this basis for each year of the award. All IGERT-supported students are expected to be full-time IGERT trainees enrolled in a Ph.D. program in one of the NSF-supported fields in science and engineering. It is expected that trainees will receive NSF IGERT support for 2 years (24 months per student) or longer, and that they will be supported in 12-month increments. NSF also provides a cost-of-education allowance for tuition, health insurance, and normal fees of $10,500 per year per student (for 12 months). If this allowance is not fully required, then it may be used to support other IGERT student-related activities.

Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited for IGERT proposals. However, because the IGERT program seeks to catalyze institutional change in graduate education, indications of institutional support to facilitate the success of the program and its sustainability, through whatever means seem most appropriate, must be included in the proposal.

Melur K. Ramasubramanian, Program Director-IGERT
Division of Graduate Education (DGE)
Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 875 S
Arlington, VA 22230
Telephone: (703) 292-5089
Fax: (703) 292-9048
Email: mramasub@nsf.gov
Web: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11533/nsf11533.htm

INTERNAL REVIEW PROCESS: To screen potential proposals for this competition, an internal deadline has been established. Principal Investigators (PIs) interested in submitting a proposal should provide the following proposal information to their Associate Dean by Friday, April 8, 2011 for internal review purposes:

1. Project description (maximum length 5 pages) should include items a–f:

(a)  describe the vision, goals, and broader impacts of the proposed IGERT project;
(b)  provide a description of the major interdisciplinary research efforts and how these efforts form the thematic basis for the interdisciplinary project;
(c)  outline the graduate education and training mechanisms that are central to the project and how they are to be integrated with the research and across the disciplines;
(d)  describe plans for the organization and management of the IGERT project;
(e)  outline plans for recruitment, retention and mentoring of US graduate students;
(f)  address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activity (the NSF Merit Review criteria).

2. Investigators planning to submit a renewal IGERT proposal must include an additional page demonstrating the significant achievements of the first award and must address the expected added value that will result from the renewal.

3. Budget and budget justification (2 pages).

4. Biographical sketches: include 2-page NSF format biographical sketch for the PI and any Co-PIs.

5. Review comments and experience of named faculty participants with any related graduate traineeship project, including IGERT projects, during the past 5 years.

Following the Dean’s assessment of the internal application, it will be forwarded to OSP-CRC Director Joan Kirkendall for review and then to the Office of the VP for Research for final selection. PIs will be informed if their proposal is selected for submission in time to complete and process their proposal for final review.

REMARKS: The Letter of Intent (required) must be submitted via FastLane, NSF’s web-based system for proposal submission and review. Full proposals must be submitted electronically using either the NSF FastLane system or Grants.gov. Collaborative proposals must be submitted via FastLane (IGERT does not accept collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations). For more information about FastLane, or to register as a FastLane user, please contact India Adams (adamsi@bu.edu) or A. Brink Effgen (abeffgen@bu.edu) in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at x3-4365. Information about Grants.gov for BU Investigators can be obtained on the OSP website at: http://www.bu.edu/osp/proposal-preparation/electronic-submission/. In addition, for investigators interested in submitting proposals via Grants.gov, NSF has published the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide which may be found online at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf. Investigators should contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to their school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through either FastLane or Grants.gov.

Complete program guidelines and application material (NSF 11-533 and NSF GPG 11-1) may be obtained from the web site listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.