NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program Solicitation

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary

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 convergentresearch 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.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST August 27, 2019

Sponsor Letter of Intent Deadline: 5:00pm MT December 6, 2019

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MT February 6, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (3 pages maximum): Please provide a summary description of the project, addressing the following elements: research area and theme, vision and goals of the proposed training program (with a brief description of the interdisciplinary or convergent research theme), the training plan, research-education integration, need for the program, up to 5 primary disciplinary areas contributing to the research focus, whether the program will serve master’s students/doctoral students/both, intellectual merit, and broader impacts. Please describe how your proposal is in an interdisciplinary research theme of national priority, and any emphasis on one of the six research areas within NSF’s 10 Big Ideas: HDR, FW-HTF, NNA, WoU, QL, and URoL.
  • List of Core Participants (2 pages maximum): Please provide a list of the core participants: PI, Co-PIs, other faculty and senior personnel, evaluator, and external collaborators. Include name, project role, departmental and institutional/organizational affiliation, and discipline(s). Please identify any other non-lead participating institutions or organizations.
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://colorado.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/6373


Proposals may be submitted by Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members and that award a research-based master's degree and/or a doctoral degree in a STEM discipline supported by the National Science Foundation. An individual may serve as Lead Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI on only one proposal submitted to the NRT program per annual competition.

Limited Submission Guidelines

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 organizational eligibility limit (beyond the first two submissions based on timestamp) will be returned without review regardless of the organization's role (lead organization, non-lead collaborative, or subawardee) in the returned proposal.

Award Information

Award Amount: $3,000,000

Expected Number of Awards: 14-15

Award Duration: Up to 5 years