NSF 17-575 Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Supplements and Sites

Description of the Award: 

Three Site proposals may be submitted per competition by a U.S. academic institution, including a College/Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology, or Computer and/or Information Science as the lead institution. No more than two of the three proposals may have an engineering focus and only one of the three proposals may have a computer and/or information science focus.


NSF's Directorate for Engineering (ENG) and the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) have joined to support the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science program. This program supports active long-term collaborative partnerships between K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, Computer and Information Science, and Mathematics (STEM) in-service and pre-service teachers, full-time community college faculty, and university faculty and students to enhance the scientific disciplinary knowledge and capacity of the STEM teachers and/or community college faculty through participation in authentic summer research experiences with engineering and computer science faculty researchers. The research projects and experiences all revolve around a focused research area related to engineering and/or computer science that will provide a common cohort experience to the participating educators. The K-12 STEM teachers and/or full-time community college faculty also translate their research experiences and new scientific knowledge into their classroom activities and curricula. The university team will include faculty, graduate and undergraduate students as well as industrial advisors. Involvement of graduate students in support of academic-year classroom activities is particularly encouraged. Partnerships with inner city, rural or other high needs schools are especially encouraged, as is participation by underrepresented minorities, women, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

As part of the long-term partnership arrangements, university undergraduate/graduate students will partner with pre-college/community college faculty in their classrooms during the academic year to support the integration of the RET curricular materials into classroom activities.

This announcement features two mechanisms for support of in-service and pre-service K-12 STEM teachers and full-time community college faculty: (1) RET supplements to ongoing ENG and CISE awards and (2) new RET Site awards. RET supplements may be included outside this solicitation in proposals for new or renewed ENG and CISE grants or as supplements to ongoing ENG- and CISE-funded projects. RET in Engineering and Computer Science Sites, through this solicitation, are based on independent proposals from engineering and/or computer and/or information science departments, schools or colleges to initiate and conduct research participation projects for K-12 STEM teachers and/or full-time community college faculty.

Award Amount and Duration:

The total anticipated funding in FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020 for both Sites and Supplements is approximately $5,800,000 per year, subject to the availability of funds. It is anticipated that approximately 9 Site awards will be made per year. The maximum total request for a Site is $600,000 for a duration of up to three years. Supplements are limited to a maximum of $10,000 per teacher and/or community college faculty for a duration of one year subject to the availability of funds.

RET in Engineering and Computer Science Supplement:

A request for funding of a RET in Engineering and Computer Science Supplement should be made under an existing ENG or CISE award or within a proposal for a new or renewed ENG or CISE award. The description of the RET activity must clearly articulate in some detail the form and nature of the prospective K-12 STEM teacher and/or full -time community college faculty member's involvement in the PI's ongoing or proposed research. See Section V.A. (5), "Project Description," below for detailed information. For example, the teacher or community college faculty member may participate in the design of new experiments, modeling and analysis of experimental data, algorithm and software development, and other activities that will result in intellectual contributions to the project. It is expected that the RET in Engineering and Computer Science Supplement experience will also lead to the transfer of new knowledge to classroom activities. Therefore, the RET Supplement description must also indicate what type of sustained follow-up will be provided during the academic year to help in translating the teacher's research experience and new understanding of engineering and/or computer science concepts into classroom practice.

RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site Project:

A RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site project is an independent proposal, submitted under this solicitation at an annual deadline date, to provide groups of in-service and pre-service K-12 STEM teachers and/or full-time community college faculty with discovery and technology-based research experiences in engineering and/or computer science laboratories and facilities, which will then be incorporated into their classroom activities during the school year. A RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site project may be conducted during the summer, academic year, or both, and each must have a well-defined research focus, with clearly articulated projects and activities for 10 or more teachers and/or community college faculty per year.

Internal Nomination Process:

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

  • Principal Investigator’s (PI's) names and departmental affiliation

    • Who May Serve as PI: The principal investigator of a RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site proposal must have a full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty appointment within a College/Department of Engineering or Engineering Technology or a College/Department of Computer and/or Information Science broadly defined [including e.g., Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Software Engineering, Networking Science, Informatics] within the submitting U.S. academic institution. The PI must be a full-time Engineering and/or Computer Science faculty member whose primary job responsibilities are research and teaching and not a faculty member who is involved in an administrative capacity 2 such as a dean or outreach coordinator.
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)

  • A list of possible participating organizations (if applicable)

  • Proposal Title

  • Project Description (no more than two pages) and identify the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements outlined in the NSF solicitation, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

  • 2-page current NSF Bio-sketch for all PIs and Co-PIs.

Formatting Guidelines and Page Limit:

  • Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)

  • Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)

  • Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Oct 10, 2017
To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 4:00pm