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NSF 10-013

Dear Colleague Letter: CISE Research Experiences for Teachers Supplements

National Science Foundation
Computer and Information Science and Engineering

Dear Colleague:

This letter invites you to consider submitting a supplemental proposal that will support the participation of K-12 and community college (K-14) educators in any CISE project in which you serve as a Principal or co-Principal Investigator. 

CISE’s Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) supplemental awards introduce state-of-the-art computing competencies and knowledge into K-14 classrooms by providing K-14 educators with research experiences at the frontiers of computing.   Encouraging the active participation of teachers in on-going CISE research projects is an excellent way to strengthen the computing expertise of our nation's teachers.  Further, RET supplements help build collaborative relationships between K-14 educators and the CISE research and education community, encouraging the articulation of students interested in pursuing careers in computing between high school and community college, and between high school or community college and baccalaureate education.   The duration of an RET supplement award is generally one year and the project may be carried out during summer months, during the academic year, or both. CISE RET teachers will be invited to participate in an annual CISE-sponsored workshop in the Washington DC area for the purpose of sharing and transferring best practices and materials.

Normally, each CISE RET supplement award provides support for up to two teachers, but exceptions will be considered. The participation of K-14 educators who are members of groups underrepresented in computing (women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities) is strongly encouraged. The decision to award a supplement will be based on internal review by the Program Director and the availability of funds in a particular program.

An application for a CISE RET supplement may be submitted via FastLane between December 1 and March 31 annually. 

After logging in to Proposals, Awards & Status, the Principal Investigator (PI) / Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) Management, What Do You Want To Work On?" screen will appear.  Click on "Award and Reporting Functions," then click "Supplemental Funding Request."  The List of Current Awards screen displays.  Highlight the award for which you want to prepare an RET Supplemental Funding Request.  Click the "Prepare Supplemental Funding Request" button.  The Request for Supplemental Funding screen displays.  Click the "Create New Supplemental Funding Request" button.  The Form Preparation screen displays with the forms for preparing a Supplemental Funding Request.  Enter the description of the proposed RET supplement activity (limited to 3 pages) in the “Summary of Proposed Work” section.

Here, you should describe, in some detail, the form and nature of the prospective teacher's involvement in your ongoing project. For example, the teacher may participate in the design of new experiments, modeling or analysis of experimental data, or other activities that result both in intellectual contributions to the project and to the teacher's professional growth.  Since it is expected that an RET supplement experience will also lead to the transfer of new knowledge to classroom activities, the supplement request should also describe sustained follow-up activities that will help translate the teacher's research experience into classroom practice.  

Provide a justification of the funds requested (uploaded in the “Justification for Supplement” section), and a proposed budget (in the “Budget” section). The proposed budget should include the teacher's stipend, up to $1,000 for the cost of materials, equipment, software and other supplies for developing classroom instructional materials, and up to $1,500 for teacher travel to an NSF-sponsored workshop in the Washington DC area.  If the teacher does not live locally, you may also request support for teacher travel to your institution as well as on-site lodging and meals.

An administrative allowance (limited to 25% of the teacher's stipend only) is allowed for partial reimbursement of indirect costs. The total budget for an RET supplement is typically around $12,500 per teacher.  

Once all sections are complete, click on "Go Back".  The Request for Supplemental Funding screen appears.  Click on "Allow SRO Access" to allow your Sponsored Research Office to submit the request to NSF.

For guidance and inquiries concerning the preparation and submission of an RET supplement proposal, you should consult with the Program Director of your particular CISE award.

CISE encourages you to interact with K-14 educators in your community, including those participating in NSF-supported activities, to make them aware of this RET supplement opportunity. We trust that your time and efforts will strengthen the teaching of fundamental computing concepts in K-12 schools and in community colleges, will increase the participation of underrepresented groups in computing, and will enhance the development and growth of the computing workforce.


Jeannette M. Wing
NSF Assistant Director, Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering