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National Science Foundation


NSF 12-078

Dear Colleague Letter: Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS): Funding to Broaden Participation in the Biological Sciences

NSF celebrates the progress that U.S. universities have made in bringing diversity to the science and engineering enterprise. Strategies to successfully broaden participation during pre-college years will help ensure a diverse pool of future students, faculty and researchers. As a part of a new or renewal NSF proposal or as a supplemental funding request to an existing NSF Award, the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) will consider requests that:

  • Foster interest in the pursuit of studies in the Biological Sciences; and
  • Broaden participation of high school students, particularly those who are underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and women in sub-disciplines where they are underrepresented.

PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

See BIO Organizations websites at http://www.nsf.gov/bio for deadlines dates.

NEW OR RENEWAL PROPOSALS

For new or renewal proposals that include a RAHSS component, the Project Description should include relevant information about the broader impacts of the activity (e.g. the meaningful and challenging activities in which the student(s) will be involved and how the student(s) will be mentored). Budgets for RAHSS activities are generally under $6,000 per student. All expenses associated with RAHSS should be entered in "Participant Support Costs" in the budget and explained in the budget justification.

SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING REQUESTS

Supplemental funding requests to an active BIO award must be prepared and submitted through FastLane according to the instructions for submitting supplemental funding requests in the Award and Administration Guide http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag

Reminder: The supplemental funds must be expended by the expiration date of the original award.

The request must include the following components:

  • A specific statement in the summary of proposed work that this is a request for an RAHSS supplement
  • In the Justification for Supplement include a description of the proposed RAHSS (not to exceed 3 pages, single spaced) that includes:
    • Clear description of the meaningful and challenging activities in which the student(s) will be involved and how the student(s) will be mentored;
    • A brief biographical sketch of candidate student(s);
    • A plan for encouraging the advancement of the RAHSS student(s) beyond participation in the research program; and
    • A brief description of the PI's experience with involving high school students in research, including results from previous RAHSS supplement support, if applicable.
  • Year-1 and summary budget pages. Budgets for RAHSS activities are generally under $6,000 per student. All expenses associated with RAHSS should be entered in "Participant Support Costs" in the budget and explained in the budget justification.
  • Desired start date and duration of supplement (normally a summer experience).

The decision to award a supplement will be based on internal review by the Program Director and availability of funds in a particular program.

CONTACT PERSONNEL

If you have questions about this Dear Colleague letter we strongly encourage the Principal Investigator to initiate a conversation via email or phone with the Program Director of his/her particular NSF award, or the cognizant Program Director for the program solicitation to which s/he is submitting a proposal.

Dr. John C. Wingfield
Assistant Director
Directorate for Biological Sciences

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