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Limited Submission: Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program

The Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative approaches to STEM graduate education training.

Summary

The Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative approaches to STEM graduate education training. The 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.

IGE focuses on projects aimed at piloting, testing, and validating innovative and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education. IGE projects are intended to generate the knowledge required for their customization, implementation, and broader adoption. The program supports testing of novel models or activities with high potential to enrich and extend the knowledge base on effective graduate education approaches.

The program addresses both 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.

As a special emphasis under this solicitation, IGE seeks proposals that will result in a single cooperative agreement for the development and implementation of an IGE Innovation Acceleration Hub. The Hub will facilitate IGE awardee communications about research activities and outcomes and provide a platform for external stakeholder engagement. Only Hub proposals submitted to the October 2020 deadline will be considered for funding.

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

Award Amount

  • Estimated Number of Awards:6 to 10
  • IGE Awards (6 to 10 anticipated in FY 2021) are expected to be up to three (3) years in duration with a total budget between $300,000 and $500,000. The estimated number of awards and the anticipated funding amount listed above are for FY 2021. The number of awards and funding level in FY 2022 and FY 2023 are anticipated to be similar to FY 2021. Funding amounts depend on availability of funds.
  • Anticipated Funding Amount:$4,000,000
  • Anticipated Type of Award:Cooperative Agreement (IGE Innovation Acceleration Hub only)
  • Estimated Number of Awards:One award is anticipated.
  • Anticipated Funding Amount:$500,000 in year one; remaining funds disbursed in years 2-5. The maximum award amount is $1,000,000 for five years.

Eligibility

  • An individual may serve as Lead Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on only one proposal submitted to the IGE 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.
  • An eligible organization may participate in two Innovations in Graduate Education proposals per competition. Participation includes serving as a lead organization on a non-collaborative proposal or as a lead organization, non-lead organization, or subawardee on a collaborative 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, non-lead, subawardee) 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?

Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnershiween academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

Proposers are reminded that reviewers will also be asked to review the Data Management Plan and the Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan, as appropriate.

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

Additional solicitation-specific review criteria for IGE Project proposals (Standard and Continuing Grants) include:

  • Knowledge generation to inform improvements in graduate education: Are the research questions, hypotheses, and methodologies clear? Is the proposed research informed by the relevant STEM graduate education literature? To what extent would the project generate the knowledge needed to inform implementation and adaptability of potentially transformative improvements to graduate education? Is the proposal grounded in a theory of change?
  • STEM education, disciplinary/interdisciplinary training, and workforce needs: Does the proposal adequately identify the intended contribution(s) of the IGE project to STEM education, disciplinary/interdisciplinary training and/or workforce needs? For example, is it aimed at a need in a single discipline or is it targeting skillsets in response to interdisciplinary research? Does the proposal ground the identified need in the literature?
  • Evaluation and assessment: Is there a well-conceived plan, including tangible metrics aligned with the goals and timeline, to evaluate the outcomes of the proposed project? Does the assessment plan include the gathering of data needed to test hypotheses? Does the evaluation plan align with the theory of change?

Additional solicitation-specific review criteria for IGE Innovation Acceleration Hub proposals (Cooperative Agreement) include:

  • Communications and Outreach: Does the communication plan include frequent communications to IGE projects to solicit resources and feedback? How will the organization obtain feedback and engagement from multiple populations to identify goals for use and strategies for achieving those goals? (Priority consideration will be given to proposals that demonstrate a plan to make the Hub a useful resource for NSF-supported projects, beyond the IGE program, related to research on innovation in graduate education.)
  • Assessment and Evaluation: Does the plan include a clear timeline and performance metrics to evaluate the outcomes of the proposed project? Is there a plan to obtain regular feedback from stakeholders that will be used to improve the Hub?

Limitation Details

An eligible organization may participate in two Innovations in Graduate Education proposals per competition. Participation includes serving as a lead organization on a non-collaborative proposal or as a lead organization, non-lead organization, or subawardee on a collaborative 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
    • 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 addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • 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 the internal deadline listed above.

Questions?

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

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

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