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NSF 20-115

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for NSF 20-595, Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program

  1. Are there disciplinary or interdisciplinary priority areas for IGE projects?
  2. Can we propose funding for the involvement of students other than stipend support?
  3. Are IGE leadership teams required to include an internal or external evaluator?
  4. Will my CAREER proposal to IGE count as one of the two proposals my university is allowed to submit to the IGE program?
  5. Does this program support innovations in graduate education that benefit students pursuing Professional Degrees?
  6. What is the difference between the IGE and NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) programs?

  1. Are there disciplinary or interdisciplinary priority areas for IGE projects?

    No, priority research areas have not been set for the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program. Proposals are expected to describe the disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or general graduate education needs addressed and their importance.

  2. Can we propose funding for the involvement of students other than stipend support?

    Yes. Although IGE projects may not support graduate student stipends, salaries, compensation, or cost of education, including tuition and fees, funds may be allocated to support student involvement in the model being piloted in other ways, such as travel, subsistence, other costs of participation. Graduate students that are solely engaged in an educational research component that aligns with their thesis research (e.g., College of Education, Discipline-based educational research units) may be grant-supported.

  3. Are IGE leadership teams required to include an internal or external evaluator?

    No. Plans for formative and summative assessment of the approach to graduate education tested in the IGE project should be detailed in the proposal. External evaluators are not required to be core team members or consultants. Internal evaluators are not required to be on the leadership team. The project team should, however, include expertise in evaluation to implement all assessment-related tasks including robust data collection methods appropriate to the proposed project.

  4. Will my CAREER proposal to IGE count as one of the two proposals my university is allowed to submit to the IGE program?

    No. The university will still be allowed to submit 2 proposals.

  5. Does this program support innovations in graduate education that benefit students pursuing Professional Degrees?

    No. While programs such as Professional Science Master's degree programs that include core coursework in STEM-designated fields are eligible, certificate or professional degree programs that are not designated as STEM fields are not eligible. For information on designated STEM fields, please refer to the Department of Education's Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).

  6. What is the difference between the IGE and NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) programs?

    The IGE program focuses on projects aimed at piloting, testing, and validating innovative and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education. IGE projects are intended to generate the knowledge required for their customization, implementation, and broader adoption. Graduate students may not be supported in an IGE project unless they are solely engaged in an educational research component that aligns with their thesis research. The NRT program is a comprehensive research traineeship program for graduate trainees 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 NRT program supports projects on interdisciplinary or convergent research themes of national priority, with special emphasis on the research areas in NSF's 10 Big Ideas. Typically, an NRT project includes both funded and non-funded graduate trainees.