OSP FO# 11-100

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

PROGRAM: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites and Supplements

OBJECTIVES: This program provides funding for active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs and in research projects specially designed for the purpose of including undergraduates in research. This program features two mechanisms for support of student research: REU Supplements and REU Sites. REU Supplements may be included in proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or as supplements to ongoing NSF-funded projects. REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct undergraduate research participation projects for a number of students. REU Site projects may be based in a single discipline or academic department or be based on interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a strong intellectual focus. Proposals with an international dimension are welcomed.

REU Supplements: REU Supplements are supported by the various disciplinary and educational research programs throughout the Foundation, including programs such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). A Supplement typically provides research experience for one or two undergraduate students. However, Centers or large research efforts may request support for a number of students commensurate with the size and nature of the project. For guidance concerning REU Supplements, please consult with the NSF Program Director of the particular research program for the proposal or award.

REU Sites: REU Sites are based on independent proposals, submitted at an annual deadline date, to initiate and conduct undergraduate research participation projects for a number of students. Funds for the establishment of REU Sites may be requested from any of NSF’s disciplinary research directorates, the Office of Polar Programs and the Office of Cyberinfrastructure. Proposers are encouraged to talk with the NSF REU point-of-contact in their disciplinary area. Please see http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_contacts.jsp for contact information.

REU Sites projects must have a well-defined common focus that enables a cohort experience for students. These projects may be based in a single discipline or academic department, or on interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Each proposal should reflect the unique combination of the proposing institution’s interests and capabilities and those of any partnering organizations. Cooperative arrangements among institutions, organizations, and research settings will be considered so that a project might increase the quality or availability of undergraduate research experiences. REU Sites are encouraged to involve students in research who might not otherwise have the opportunity, particularly those from institutions where research programs are limited. Thus, a significant fraction of the student participants should come from outside the host institution.

Special Opportunities:

Partnership with the Department of Defense: The NSF has entered into a partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) to expand undergraduate research opportunities in DOD-relevant research areas through the REU Sites program. The DOD activity is called Awards to Stimulate and Support Undergraduate Research Experiences (ASSURE). Any proposal submitted to NSF for the REU Sites program that is recommended for funding through the NSF merit review process will be considered by DOD representatives for possible support through DOD funds. A proposer to the NSF REU Sites program need do nothing additional to be considered for ASSURE. DOD support for REU Sites targets DOD-relevant research in any of the NSF directorates or divisions that handle REU Site proposals. DOD has a special interest in proposals from predominantly undergraduate four-year institutions.

Partnership with the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP) intends to expand undergraduate research opportunities in the area of geothermal energy by providing funds to NSF for meritorious REU Site proposals with that focus. The goal of this collaboration between DoE’s GTP and NSF’s REU program is to introduce more undergraduate students to renewable energy research and the many opportunities in science and engineering related to geothermal energy. GTP is interested in proposals aimed at a range of geothermal technologies, including geothermal heat pumps, binary cycle electricity generation systems, direct use, conventional hydrothermal, and Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). REU Site proposals with a focus on geothermal energy will automatically be considered for GTP funding.

International Projects: The REU program welcomes projects with an international dimension. The design of such projects is based on the opportunity at hand, but typically involves partnering of an experienced REU project in the U.S. with international collaborators in a selected organization or institution. Successful projects arise from shared commitment to research and education in a focused area. Possible projects should be discussed with a Program Director in the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), as well as with the disciplinary Program Director for REU. OISE will also entertain requests to supplement an REU award in order to add an international dimension, including the participation of K-12 teachers of science, mathematics, and engineering.

Ethics in Science or Engineering: Proposals for REU Sites are invited to include an optional ethics in science of engineering component. Information about currently supported ethics activities is available through a link on the home page of the Science and Society (S&S) program (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5324&org=SES). In addition, the Website of the NSF-supported Science and Engineering Ethics Center (http://www.onlineethics.org/) contains many useful resources for developing a pedagogically sound ethics component. Up to $4,000 in direct costs may be requested to support ethics activities.

Research Experiences for Teachers: NSF encourages inclusion in the REU program of K-12 teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Directorates for Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematical and Physical Sciences have formal activities supporting Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), while other Directorates respond to requests on a case-by-case basis. Teachers may also be included in an international REU project. Information about RET activities is available on Directorate Web sites.

REU Supplements for Evaluative Research Experiences: The Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) will consider supporting REU Supplements that provide evaluative research experiences for one or two undergraduates in any NSF research or education project that employs a professional evaluator. The purpose of this opportunity for supplemental funding is to offer undergraduate students exposure to the field of evaluation and to build their skills in evaluative research methods and study design. The student’s research should focus on the broader impacts of the research or education project. Investigators interested in this opportunity should contact the EHR REU program officer at (703) 292-5137 or reu.ehr@nsf.gov before submitting a request for supplemental funding.

Deadline for REU Site proposals to the Antarctic Program: June 3, 2011
Deadline for REU Site proposals, except those to the Antarctic Program: August 24, 2011
Deadline for REU Supplement requests: Varies with the research program. Contact the cognizant program officer for the award or proposal that would be supplemented.

FUNDING INFORMATION: NSF anticipates committing approximately $67.7 million to support approximately 170 new Site awards and 1,650 new Supplement awards. REU Site awards have durations of one to five years, with a three-year duration being typical in most NSF directorates. The term of REU Supplements may not exceed that of the underlying research project.

An administrative allowance, limited to 25% of the participant support costs of the proposal budget is allowed for REU Supplement and Site awards in lieu of indirect costs.

AGENCY CONTACT: Please visit the following web page for appropriate agency contact information: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_contacts.jsp. The complete program guidelines may be obtained at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2009/nsf09598/nsf09598.htm.

REMARKS: Applications must be submitted electronically using either the NSF FastLane system or Grants.gov. Collaborative proposals must be submitted via FastLane. For more information about FastLane, or to register as a FastLane user, please contact India Adams (adamsi@bu.edu) or A. B. 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 web site 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 09-598 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.