NSF: NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

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 (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/nsfincludes/index.jsp). Collaborations are encouraged between NRT proposals and existing NSF INCLUDES projects, provided the collaboration strengthens both projects.

Number of Applications
Amount of Funding

$36,100,000 anticipated. 10-12 awards anticipated in FY2018 are expected to be up to five (5) years in duration with a total budget up to $3,000,000 each.


Applicants should to consult with their Associate Deans for Research prior to internal submission to assure they meet eligibility criteria and to obtain approval of cost-share and facilitization.

Proposals may only be submitted by universities and colleges accredited in, and having a campus located in, the U.S. acting on behalf of their faculty members and that award a research-based master's degree and/or a doctoral degree in a STEM discipline supported by the National Science Foundation.

Who May Serve as PI:

The PI must be on the faculty of the submitting institution.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

An eligible organization may participate in two proposals per competition. Participation includes serving as a lead organization, non-lead organization, or subawardee on any proposal. Organizations participating solely as evaluators on projects are excluded from this limitation. Proposals that exceed the institutional eligibility limit (beyond the first two submissions based on timestamp) will be returned without review regardless of the institution's role (lead organization, non-lead collaborative, or subawardee) in the returned proposal.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 1

An individual may serve as Lead Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on only one proposal submitted to the NRT program per annual competition. Proposals that exceed the PI/Co-PI eligibility limit (beyond the first submission based on timestamp), will be returned without review regardless of the individual's role (PI or co-PI) in the returned proposal.

Submission Process

Step 1

Internal deadline for letter of intent is no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 17, 2017.

Please submit a one-page PDF Letter of Intent (LOI) to Stephanie Endy at stephanie.endy@case.edu adhering to NSF program requirements for this program. The LOI should contain the following information.

  • 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 5 primary disciplinary areas contributing to the research focus.


Step 2

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by November 21, 2017

Step 3

Final proposal due in the Office of Research Administration or SOM Office of Grants and Contracts by December 25, 2017.

Step 4

Funding agency deadline is December 27, 2017.


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
11/17/2017 11/21/2017 12/25/2017 12/27/2017 CLOSED