(CLOSED) NSF 21-536 (replaces NSF 19-522) National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program 2021

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

Please note that NSF 19-522 was archived and replaced by NSF 21-536 following the downselect. As there were not substantive changes to the solicitation the results of this downselect will apply to the new solicitation. 

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research held an informational webinar for interested applicants on Tuesday, July 7. Contact limitedsubs@psu.edu to request a link to the recording. 

Please note that major deadlines are occurring over the summer. A mandatory notice if intent must be submitted at the InfoReady competition page by 4:00 PM EDT on July 29, 2020.

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (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 or convergent research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs. Proposals are requested in any interdisciplinary or convergent research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on the research areas in NSF's 10 Big Ideas. The NSF research Big Ideas are Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-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 (URoL).

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 Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (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.

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 (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor LOI Deadline: 
Nov 25, 2020
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Feb 06, 2021
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants must submit their notice of intent in the InfoReady competition no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline July, 29, 2020. If interest exceeds the sponsor's limits a Limited Submission competition will be held among applicants who have submitted this mandatory NOI.

Downselect application materials, if necessary, will include: 

Cover Page

  • 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.
  • Project Title

Project Synopsis - (maximum 2-pages)

  • Provide a brief summary of the vision and goals of the proposed training program, including a brief description of the interdisciplinary or convergent 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.

2-page CV's of PI and co-PI's

Formatting Guidelines:

  • Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
  • Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
  • Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)
To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
Penn State OSVPR NOI Deadline: 
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 4:00pm
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:
Adriana Van Hell (CLA, Psychology), John Messner (CoE, Arch. Engineering)