MPS-Ascend External Mentoring (MPS-Ascend EM) (NSF 22-524)

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

Institutional Limit: An organization may participate in up to two proposals as the lead or as a non-lead collaborating organization or as a sub awardee, but only in at most one of these can an organization participate as the lead organization.

You must respond to this limited submission if you are interested in participating as a lead or non-lead institution.


The Mathematical and Physical Sciences-Ascend External Mentoring (MPS-Ascend EM) program aims to fund an institution (or collaboration of institutions) to provide a mentored career development program specifically designed for two cohorts of MPS-Ascend Fellows funded through the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Ascending Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (MPS-Ascend NSF 21-573, and NSF 22-501) programs. These activities should be designed to build cohort experiences for MPS-Ascend Fellows funded through the MPS competitions, provide professional development opportunities, and provide appropriate mentoring and professional networks to allow the Fellows to transition into, advance, and succeed in independent academic (or other) research careers. Each proposal should address the complete spectrum of MPS-Ascend Fellows, across all MPS fields. Approximately 30-50 MPS-Ascend Fellows are expected per cohort.

The aforementioned MPS-Ascend program supports future research leaders in all MPS fields (Astronomical Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences) by funding their participation in postdoctoral research environments that will have maximal impact on their future scientific development. This program has a strong emphasis on increasing the participation of members of those groups most underrepresented as leaders in MPS fields, which includes Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, and Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Native Pacific Islanders. Details of the MPS-Ascend program can be found here:

The successful proposal will describe plans to build and provide:

  • Mentoring and Professional Development: provide career mentoring aimed at building success at the postdoctoral level as Fellows prepare to transition to the next career stage. MPS anticipates that preparation for faculty careers will be a major focus of the program, although other career paths should also be addressed. Potential topics could include academic and other scientific career job search strategies; leadership; negotiation; communication skills; networking; grant proposal preparation (for NSF and other agencies, as appropriate); scientific publishing; laboratory management (where appropriate); budgeting; hiring; mentoring; surmounting challenges; managing career challenges and expectations; academic advancement; and balancing teaching, research, service, and life-work balance.
  • Cohort-building Activities: provide activities that encourage network building and mutual support among the MPS-Ascend Fellows at every stage of the program. Workshops and meetings, either in person or virtual, should be considered. A meeting at NSF for Fellows to present their work could be included among these activities or addressed separately in a future request.
  • National Network: build a national network of volunteer expert scientists in MPS fields that will be available to the Fellows for less formal mentoring. Informal mentors who are knowledgeable about the potential barriers for members of underrepresented groups including Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, and Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Native Pacific Islanders in STEM fields would be especially welcome. Approaches that address intersectional perspectives; peer to peer mentoring within the cohorts; peer to near-peer mentoring between the two cohorts are all encouraged. Potential PIs are encouraged to consider mentoring and professional development models from other programs and agencies. Proposals must demonstrate how the program addresses the needs of disciplines served by MPS.
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Feb 15, 2022
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF 22-524_2022.pdf) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

2. Project Description (no more than two pages, pdf) identifying the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements of the sponsor's solicitation, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

3. 2-page CV's of Investigators

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.
OSVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 4:00pm
For help or questions: 

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to