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NSF Research Traineeships: Supporting Effective Training of CISE Graduate Students


By Thyagarajan Nandagopal, NSF

Developing US-based talent for pursuing research in computer and information science and engineering continues to be a priority for our community.  We would therefore like to draw your attention to the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) program, which supports effective training of STEM graduate students in high-priority interdisciplinary or convergent research areas, aligned with changing workforce and research needs.

Awards through the NRT program are typically for five years and provide up to $3,000,000.  The first deadline associated with the program is for a required Letter of Intent due on or before Dec. 6, 2018.  The recently-issued NRT solicitation encourages proposals with special emphasis on the research areas that span NSF’s 10 Big Ideas – to include Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF), and the Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution (QL).  We believe the CISE research community has a significant role to play in NRT given its leadership of several of these Big Ideas, notably through advances in big data and data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, and quantum computing.  We therefore urge you to envision bold, new, and potentially transformative approaches and models for graduate education training in CISE areas supporting these topics, and submit related proposals to the NRT program.

Many of these fields – and the research themes around them – require specialized training, which may not be optimally addressed through current approaches and educational programs.  A structured training program could offer solid preparation to doctoral and master’s students.  Among the allowable budget items are stipends and costs of education support for NRT-funded trainees, career exploration support (e.g., support for internship travel) for all trainees (NRT-funded and non-NRT-funded), and faculty professional development needed to meet the goals of a given traineeship project.

We encourage you to consider this significant source of support from NSF as part of your training and workforce development efforts.  Please visit the NRT program webpage for full details and information on upcoming Q&A sessions with program directors: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505015.