Limited funding opportunity – National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

August 24, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The VP for Research has announced the internal process for selecting the UVA candidates for ­­­­the NSF Research Traineeship Program (NRT) Limited Submission Opportunity.  This program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for 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 research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs.

For FY2019 and FY2020, the NRT Program requests proposals in any interdisciplinary research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on the six NSF Research Big Ideas.  The NSF Research Big Ideas are Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (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 (ROL).

Proposals that align with one of the NSF Research Big Ideas should contain a title to reflect that alignment, as described in the program solicitation (e.g. NRT-HDR: title or NRT-QL: title).

Note: a new solicitation with the updated priority area information will be posted to replace NSF 18-507. The link to the new solicitation will be available via this website so please check back at a later date.

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. In previous solicitations, NRT especially welcomes proposals that will pair well with the efforts of NSF INCLUDES to develop STEM talent from all sectors and groups in our society ( Collaborations have been encouraged between NRT proposals and existing NSF INCLUDES projects, provided the collaboration strengthens both projects. 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.

Q & A Sessions

To respond to solicitation-specific questions, the NRT Program will host open-forum Q&A sessions with NRT program directors. The first session will be on November 15, 2018, 1:30 – 2:30 pm EST; additional sessions will be added prior to the full submission deadline. Dates and instructions for joining the Q&A sessions can be accessed here.

Please refer to NSF 18-019 for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to this program solicitation.

Total Funding, Award Size, and Estimated Number of Awards: TBD; Based on previous solicitations, NRT Awards are expected to be up to five (5) years in duration with a total budget up to $3,000.000.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

Instructions for Submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI): To apply, click on View Letter of Intent. You will login to the system using NetBadge. If the PI is submitting the Letter of Intent, the PI’s name and email will already be filled in. If you are submitting the proposal on behalf of the PI, please fill in the PI’s name and email address (use the PI’s UVA ID, not an email alias). Enter the proposal title, the list of participating faculty (name and Department), and a short (no more than 1 paragraph) description of the planned proposal. This information will be used to help develop the internal review panel, if necessary. Letters of Intent must be received by 5:00pm on September 13, 2018.

Faculty submitting LOIs will be contacted regarding an internal competition, if necessary. If a competition is necessary, the internal application will be due on October 11, 2018 and must include (one pdf file):

  1. Project Narrative (4-pages single spaced, references do not count toward the page limit). The narrative should describe the vision and goals of the proposed training program including a brief description of the interdisciplinary theme, the main training elements, and the plan to extend training benefits beyond NRT trainees to a greater population of STEM graduates on Grounds;
  2. List of PIs, Co-PIs, and other core participants;
  3. 2-page CV for the PI only;
  4. A one-page budget outline (in column format) showing major budget categories for the project period and justifications if necessary;
  5. Endorsement letters from Department Chair(s) and/or Dean(s).

Limited Submission Alerts, Process, and Review

To sign up for direct email alerts for all limited submission opportunities, send an email to with the word subscribe as the only word in the Subject heading (do not use capital letters or other punctuation in the Subject heading).

More information on the limited submission review process can be found here:, and in the documents found therein. To summarize, reviewers for individual limited submission opportunities are drawn from a standing committee of tenured faculty members who are nominated by the Schools and appointed by the VPR. Ad hoc committee members may also be invited to serve on specific panels based on their subject expertise and/or their experience with a particular sponsor or program. The internal review committee provides critical reviews of internal pre-proposals and makes recommendations for the pre-proposals that should go forward for external submission. The VPR office follows the best practice of many foundations and agencies and does not disclose the names of individual reviewers who contribute to a specific review panel. The limited submission team notifies individual internal applicants of their pre-proposal review results via email. The limited submission team notifies the Department, School, and Office of Sponsored Programs of the proposal(s) that will go forward for external submission via email.

External Deadline:  LOI Due December 6, 2018; Full Proposal Due February 6, 2019

Program announcement:  NSF 18-507


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities