(CLOSED) Limited Submission: FY2020 National Science Foundation 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.

For FY2019 and FY2020, the NRT Program requests proposals in any interdisciplinary research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on the six NSF Research Big Ideas.  The NSF Research Big Ideas are Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (HTF), Navigating the New Arctic (NNA), Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (WOU), The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution (QL), and Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype (ROL).

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.

Please read the full program announcement linked above before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount
  • Upper $3,000,000
  • NRT Awards are expected to be up to five (5) years in duration with a total budget up to $3,000,000.
  • 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.
  • The PI must be on the faculty of the submitting institution.
  • 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.
Selection Criteria
  • Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?
Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

Integration of Research and Education: Does the proposal address training needs that are not currently available at the institution(s) and/or in disciplines, and are there clear and compelling connections between the training elements and the interdisciplinary research theme?

Interdisciplinarity: What is the degree of interdisciplinarity and the potential for high impact synergies among the disciplines?

Professional Development: What is the breadth and quality of the plan to provide NRT trainees with professional development training for a range of research and research-related career pathways, both within and outside academia?

Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities: What is the quality of the recruiting and mentoring plans to broaden participation?

Evaluation: Does the evaluation plan include outcomes, performance measures, benchmarks, and an evaluation timetable, as well as a description of how formative evaluation will improve practice?

Limitation Details

An Institution may submit 2 proposals.

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.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to limsub@uga.edu according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:
  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal. Proposals that align with one of the NSF Research Big Ideas should contain a title to reflect that alignment, as described in the program solicitation (e.g. NRT-HDR: title or NRT-QL: title).
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any)
    • Indicate whether or not you have submitted to this program in the past. If so, please provide a copy of the review at the end of the internal application.
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that describes 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
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)
  • Curriculum vitae
Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to limsub@uga.edu by 11:59pm on the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to limsub@uga.edu.

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the following program officers:

View our calendar for all Current and Closed Limited Submissions.
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