(CLOSED) NSF 20-595 Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

IGE projects are expected to generate potentially transformative models for improvements in graduate education and workforce development that prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers for the full range of possible STEM career paths to advance the nation's STEM enterprise. IGE is dedicated to (a) piloting, testing, and validating innovative approaches to graduate education, and (b) generating the knowledge required for the customization and implementation of the most successful, transformative ones.

The primary beneficiaries for IGE projects must be master's and/or doctoral students in STEM-designated degree programs. Eligible degree programs include research-based STEM master's and doctoral degree programs and Professional Science Master's programs but do not include programs that only award certificates or professional degrees (such as AuD, DDS, DED, DN, DNP, DO, DPM, DPT, DScPT, JD, MLA, MD, ND, OD, OTD, PharmD, PsyD, or SLPD).

The IGE program does not focus on comprehensive training of graduate students (support for which is available through other programs such as the NSF Research Traineeship program) or foundational research examining how graduate students learn (supported by the EHR Core Research program), but rather will promote targeted test-bed efforts that are informed by evidence, including findings from research on graduate education.

Activities proposed as part of the research project may include, but are not limited to, student professional skill development, career preparation and vocational counseling, faculty training, inventive partnerships, international experiences, internships, outreach, virtual networks, and mentoring. In addition, projects should utilize evidence-based strategies to broaden participation of students from diverse backgrounds.

Institutional Limit:
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. You must respond to this downselect if you are a lead or non-lead or subawardee on a collaborative proposal.

Goals of the IGE Program are to:

  • Generate the knowledge base needed to inform the development of models of bold, new, and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education as well as their implementation and adaptability.
  • Catalyze rapid advances in STEM graduate education broadly as well as those responsive to the needs of particular disciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM fields.

The IGE Program calls for proposals to:

  • Design, pilot, and test new, innovative and transformative approaches for inclusive STEM graduate education;
  • Examine the potential to extend a successful approach developed in one discipline or context to other disciplines or contexts; and
  • Develop projects that are informed by learning science and the existing body of knowledge about STEM graduate education.

Leadership teams (PI/Co-PIs) including professional expertise in the learning sciences and pedagogy, as well as in the principal science domain(s), are strongly encouraged. Project teams should also have expertise in evaluation to implement robust and appropriate data collection methods.

IGE welcomes proposals from early-career investigators and complements the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program's mission and focus. For information about the CAREER program, please refer to the Dear Colleague Letter: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf20084. However, researchers at all stages of their careers including mid-career faculty and investigators from non-academic organizations are welcome to apply.

IGE 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 (NSF 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 IGE proposals and existing NSF INCLUDES projects, provided the collaboration strengthens both projects. Researchers at minority serving institutions are strongly encouraged to participate in this program particularly given their experience and expertise in broadening participation.

IGE INNOVATION ACCELERATION HUB proposals are not being accepted at this or any subsequent deadline of this solicitation.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Mar 25, 2023
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

nterested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF20-595_2023 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) and identify the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements, 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.
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:
OSVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Thursday, January 5, 2023 - 4:00pm
For help or questions: 

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

John Sampsell (CoE); PSU is eligible to submit one additional proposal, contact limitedsubs@psu.edu if interested.