Dynamics in Many Dimensions - GT IGERT '04 Proposal

CNS Proposal Internal Due Date

    October 15, 2004

editing notes, other proposals' international examples
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      LaTeX                 Last modified      Compiled  Description

[   ] project.zip 10-Sep-2004 -- (SIMPLEST: download all source files)
[   ] project.tex 10-Sep-2004 pdf ps LaTeX this one to compile the preproposal

[   ] education.tex 15-Sep-2004 -- (RG)
[   ] national.tex 10-Sep-2004 -- (RS)
[   ] international.tex 10-Sep-2004 -- (RS)
[   ] trainingParts.tex 10-Sep-2004 -- (RS)

Synopsis of Program

The IGERT program has been developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers who will pursue careers in research and education, with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become, in their own careers, leaders and creative agents for change. The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education, for students, faculty, and institutions, by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is also intended to facilitate diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to the development of a diverse, globally-engaged, science and engineering workforce.

Award Information

  • Anticipated Funding Amount: $30,800,000 Up to $3.0 M per award over 5 years, plus, for new awards, up to $200K additional in the first year for appropriate purposes, and up to $200K total per award for projects that include strongly integrated international research activities in years 2 - 5.


IGERT projects are expected to incorporate and integrate the following features:

A comprehensive interdisciplinary theme, appropriate for doctoral-level research, that serves as the foundation for traineeship activities;

Integration of the interdisciplinary research with innovative graduate education and training mechanisms, curricula enhancement, and other educational features that foster strong interactions among participating students and faculty;

An environment that exposes students to a broad base of state-of-the-art research instruments and equipment and educational tools and methodologies;

Career development opportunities, provision for developing professional and personal skills, fostering an international perspective, and instruction in ethics and the responsible conduct of research;

Program strategy and plan for recruitment, mentoring, retention, and graduation of U.S. graduate students, including efforts aimed at members of groups underrepresented in science and engineering;

Strategy and methodology for formative assessments of the project’s effectiveness by individuals internal and external to the institution and program improvements based on these assessments;

Administrative plan and organizational structure that ensures effective management of the project resources;

Plan for dissemination of innovative graduate education activities both within and outside the institution; and

Institutional commitment to facilitating and furthering the plans and goals of the IGERT project, to creating a supportive environment for integrative research and education, and to institutionalizing the successful elements of the project after NSF funding ends.


No additional information may be provided by links to web pages.

d. Education and Training: Describe the graduate education and training mechanisms that are central to the IGERT project, the logic and evidence to support them, and how they are to be integrated with the research and across the disciplines. Novel aspects should be emphasized to enable assessment of the innovation and potential impact. Specify faculty members and other participants with primary responsibility for these integrative efforts. Describe strategies for developing a community of students. Discuss plans for providing career development opportunities, developing professional and personal skills, fostering an international perspective and ability to work in diverse teams, and integrating instruction in ethics and the responsible conduct of research. If planned student training includes internships, fieldwork, or other opportunities, domestic and foreign, identify the potential mentors and discuss how the opportunity is intended to strengthen both a student’s graduate experience and the IGERT project.  If proposed, discuss the benefits of international research experiences (e.g. quality of research partners, development of long-term international research partnerships, etc.).  Supporting letters from host organizations should document willingness to receive students and the expected role of individual mentors. Show typical student pathways through the program and the effect on expected time to degree and career progression. The role of undergraduate, masters, and postdoctoral components, if proposed, must also be described with sufficient detail to clarify the benefit to the doctoral program and to justify support through this type of award.

h. Recent Traineeship Experience and Results from Prior NSF Support (if applicable; up to 5 pages, within the 25-page limit for project description): Describe your experience with and outcomes of any related graduate traineeship project, including IGERT projects, during the past five years. In this description, address in a comparative manner not only the outcomes of the prior project, including failures and proposed remedies, but also the differences and value-added aspects of the proposed IGERT project. Value-added aspects may include: new areas of research; new educational paradigms for students, faculty, and institution; sustainable vertical and lateral impact on faculty, institution, and even outside your institution; and recruitment, mentoring, retention, and career paths of U.S. graduate students, with special emphasis on those from underrepresented groups.

i. International Collaboration (for applicants requesting additional funds of up to a total of $200,000 per award; 2-page limit): Describe the procedures and arrangements for selecting, preparing, and sending IGERT students to foreign sites for research and education collaboration, including how their activities abroad will be integrated into and benefit the overall IGERT program. Discuss how specific projects will be determined for individual students and how effective mentoring will be ensured in the foreign host institutions. Address the practical aspects of sending U.S. students abroad, including logistical arrangements, language and cultural issues, supervision abroad to ensure the student’s welfare, and administrative requirements.

(F) Budget and Allowable Costs: proposers may incorporate in Years 2 through 5 a budget for international collaborative activities not to exceed a total of $200,000 per award.

Additional funds requested for international activities should be appropriate to enable the unique benefits expected for the IGERT graduate students and the IGERT project. The primary support is intended for graduate students through internships (university, government, industry), collaborative research and/or fieldwork with foreign collaborators, or in other settings abroad appropriate to the research area. The stays should be of sufficient duration to acculturate the student and provide a meaningful research and education experience. Limited funds may also be used for student preparation, administration of the international activities, and faculty visits to foreign sites for research coordination and developing communication linkages between institutions. Requests for travel funds for the sole purpose of attending international conferences or workshops are not appropriate. Reciprocal visits by foreign researchers and students to the U.S. institutions are encouraged, although NSF funds will normally not be used for such visits. Proposers should consult the Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences/Office of International Science and Engineering member of the IGERT Coordinating Committee, listed in Section VIII, CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

Budget Justification (3-page limit):  If additional funds are requested for international activities, describe in a separate table the requested amount and allocations over the project duration, beginning with Year 2 of the award. Provide details of anticipated resource commitments of any other organizations expected to participate in the IGERT project, such as government, industry, non-U.S. institutions, or private foundations. Appropriate letters of commitment from participating organizations should be included in Supplementary Documentation (below).  Cost sharing is not required under this solicitation. Any information provided here and in similar places in this solicitation will not be auditable as cost sharing.

(H) Supplementary Documentation: Up to eight supporting letters, including one that must be from the senior administration of the submitting institution, may be provided as part of the proposal, with up to four additional letters when international activities are proposed. Letters of endorsement from foreign counterparts should discuss the benefits and foreign commitment to the project.


NSF invites the proposer to suggest, at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

    What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
    How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?
    What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
    How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

    Integration of Research and Education
    One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.
    Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities
    Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.
    Additional Review Criteria:

    In responding to the standard NSF review criteria, reviewers will be asked to place emphasis on the following additional criteria in furthering IGERT program objectives:

    Integration and coherence of the interdisciplinary theme in its effectiveness as an intellectual focus for all participating scientists, engineers, and educators;

    Quality of the proposed research efforts, and their appropriateness to the interdisciplinary theme;

    Quality and innovation in the planned graduate education and training mechanisms, and in their integration with the research;

    Quality of outcomes of prior IGERT project, value-added aspects of new IGERT project, and potential for adding to the knowledge base in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) graduate education, if applicable;

    Effectiveness of career development opportunities, provision for developing professional and personal skills, fostering an international perspective and ability to work in diverse teams, and instruction in ethics and the responsible conduct of research;

    Effectiveness of the strategy for recruitment, mentoring, retention, degree completion, and career progression of U.S. graduate students, including those from groups underrepresented in science and engineering;

    Quality of the international collaborative activities and benefits to the U.S. participants, if proposed;

    Appropriateness of the plans for assessment of project performance in meeting objectives and expanding the knowledge base in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) graduate education and disseminating results to appropriate professional communities;

    Appropriateness of the administrative plan and organizational structure in assuring effective allocation of project resources and participation by project members;

    Appropriateness of the budget; and

    Commitment of the institution to facilitating and furthering the plans and goals of the IGERT project, to creating a supportive environment for integrative research and education, and to sustaining the successful elements of the project after NSF funding ceases.

updated:Aug 21 2004 - Predrag Cvitanovic