Dynamics in Many Dimensions - GT IGERT '04 Proposal

CNS Proposal Internal Due Date

    October 15, 2004

VISION part of the proposal

Editor: Kurt
editing group: PC, ...
      LaTeX                 Last modified      Compiled  Description

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

[   ] summary.tex 10-Sep-2004 pdf ps (KW) uploaded separately to NSF

Project Summary (1-page limit): Provide a summary description of the IGERT project, including its research theme and key education and training features, in a manner that will be informative to a general technical audience. The project summary must explicitly address both the intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed activity, or the proposal will be returned without review. At the top of this page include the title of the IGERT project, the name of the principal investigator, and the lead institution. Also list any other participating institutions/organizations.

[   ] vision.tex              10-Sep-2004           --  (KW)

Vision, Goals, and Thematic Basis: Discuss the vision, goals, and broader impacts of the proposed IGERT project. Describe the thematic basis and unifying aspects of the interdisciplinary research and educational activities to be offered. Include a discussion of what is currently missing from graduate education and training or what could be done more effectively, and how the proposed project will address these issues. Benefits to be realized from opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in research and education should be emphasized. Summarize the value-added aspects of the proposed project, and be specific about what is new and innovative. Proposals should clearly articulate project objectives, planned outcomes with respect to recruitment, retention, degree conferral, and career placement of trainees; project monitoring guidelines; and how outcomes will be measured.  Proposals based on existing IGERT projects must clearly indicate what improvements and innovations are proposed for the renewal period, and the plans for evaluating the impact of the project, documenting and disseminating to the appropriate professional communities what was learned from the project, and sustaining the essential elements of the project after NSF funding ceases.

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.


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.


c. Major Research Efforts: Describe the major research efforts, their cutting-edge aspects, and how they are interwoven and integrated to form the thematic basis for the interdisciplinary project. For each research area described, specify the faculty members and other principals involved, and provide sufficient detail to enable assessment of the scientific merit and relevance to the overall project theme. Needs for special materials, shared equipment, travel to research sites, or interdisciplinary curriculum development must be justified in the context of the research theme and breadth of challenges involved. If an international component is included, describe how it is to be  integrated into the core research, education, and training activities of the IGERT project.

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.

g. Recruitment, Mentoring, and Retention: Describe plans for recruitment, mentoring, and retention of U.S. graduate students, including specific provisions, beyond the norm, aimed at members of groups underrepresented in science and engineering. Discuss how new students will be staged into the program, the duration and level of their support with IGERT funds, and provisions for continued support through the completion of degree. IGERT support for two years (24 months) of full participation is strongly recommended. Alternative plans for student support must be justified in the proposal.  Describe the diversity makeup of faculty participating in the IGERT project. If applicable, discuss how undergraduate student participation will be used to further the goals of attracting and graduating members of underrepresented groups. Describe the nature and extent of connections with recruitment, retention, and professional development programs available at the institution, particularly those supported by NSF, such as Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professional (www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/HRD/agep.asp), Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/HRD/amp.asp), Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/HRD/tcup.asp), Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program (www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/HRD/hbcu.asp), and the Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/HRD/crest.asp ).  Specify the Ph.D. programs in which the IGERT graduate students may enroll.

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.

j. Recruitment and Retention History (1 page per participating department/program): Explain your capacity to host an IGERT project, and past performance, resources, and ability to attract well-qualified U.S. graduate students in science and engineering, including those from underrepresented groups. Provide the following specific information for the last three years, regarding recruitment and retention of students in the participating departments/programs. (For proposals based on existing IGERT projects, provide this data for all students participating in the project): (1) total number of applicants, (2) total number of applicants accepted, (3) total number of applicants who enrolled, (4) total number of students currently enrolled in the program indicating part-time and full-time status, (5) number of students who have withdrawn from the program, (6) total number of Ph.D.s awarded, (7) average time to degree, defined as number of enrolled quarters or semesters (specify) since the baccalaureate degree, (8) position types and employers of graduates, and (9) other relevant measures of student success. In addition, provide separate data for women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities for each of the above categories. A tabular format should be used with separate tables for each participating department/program.

(G) Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources (1-page limit): Provide a description of facilities and major instruments that are available to the project and require no additional support from NSF.


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;

    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:  Sep 13 2004 - Predrag Cvitanovic