This document has been archived. For current NSF funding opportunities, see
Crosscutting Investment Strategies
Human Resource and Career Development
Among NSF’s crosscutting investments are programs directed to the
development of a diverse, internationally competitive, and globally engaged
of scientists, engineers, and well-prepared citizens. This section of the
Guide highlights programs for human resource and career development that
are supported as NSF-wide, as well as specific crosscutting programs of
the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR).
NSF sponsors a number of activities directed specifically at bringing
members of underrepresented groups into the science and engineering education
pipeline and preparing them for potential advancement to the highest levels
of leadership. These activities are among those described in this section.
To locate programs that pertain specifically to underrepresented groups,
see Programs for Groups Underrepresented in Science and Engineering.
One of the Foundation’s goals is to promote a science and engineering
workforce that is globally engaged. To help meet this goal, the Office of
International Science and Engineering offers a variety of programs. For
further information, visit the Office of International Science and Engineering
Web site, http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=OISE.
• Programs at the Undergraduate Level
Activities to enhance undergraduate education in science and engineering
are supported throughout NSF. In particular, the Division
of Undergraduate Education (DUE) in the
EHR Directorate and some of the NSF disciplinary directorates support activities
that improve science, mathematics, engineering, and technology undergraduate
education for majors and non-majors in 2- and 4-year colleges and universities.
In addition, the EHR Directorates's Division of
Human Resources supports activities designed specifically
to help increase the participation of underrepresented minorities. For information
about these activities, see the EHR chapter in this Guide.
The NSF cross-directorate Research Experiences for Undergraduates
(REU) Program supports active research participation by undergraduate students
in science and engineering disciplines supported by NSF. REU projects involve
students in meaningful ways in ongoing research and education programs or
in projects specially designed for the purpose. Two support mechanisms are
offered: REU Supplements and REU Sites. REU Supplements may be included
in proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or as supplements to ongoing
NSF-funded projects. REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate
and conduct undergraduate research and education projects for a number of
students. REU Sites projects may be based within a single discipline or
academic department or be based on interdisciplinary or multiple-department
research opportunities with a strong intellectual focus. Proposals with
an international dimension are welcomed. Undergraduate student participants
supported with NSF funds in either Supplements or Sites must be citizens
or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions.
The Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology (UMEB)
Program is designed to enable institutions to create innovative programs that will
undergraduate students, especially those from underrepresented groups,
to pursue a career in environmental biology. UMEB supports projects designed
to engage undergraduate students in year-round research activities and
provide sustained mentoring support. Further information is available in
Program Announcement NSF
at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Level
NSF is a major supporter of graduate and postdoctoral education in science
and engineering. The majority of this support is embedded in awards to institutions
through funds to support graduate research assistants and postdoctoral associates.
NSF also supports fellowships and traineeships in the following programs:
Graduate Research Fellowships*
*Note: Graduate students supported as Fellows or Trainees
in these programs must be citizens or permanent residents of the United
States or its possessions.
- NSF is committed to the education of a science and engineering
workforce drawn broadly from the Nation’s talent pool. To increase
diversity at the graduate level and beyond, NSF offers the Alliances
for Graduate Education and the Professoriate Program.
- The Office of International Science and Engineering
offers the East
Asia Summer Program to provide U.S. graduate students with eight
weeks in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese research environments.
In addition to supporting postdoctoral associates through NSF research
awards to institutions, NSF offers a number of postdoctoral fellowship programs
in specific disciplines.
• Specialized Programs
Some NSF programs approach human resource and career development by addressing
these issues across several education levels. This approach is used in activities
aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of women in careers in
science and engineering and at realizing the potential for careers in science
and engineering for persons with disabilities. Programs of this type include
- Program for Gender Equity in Science, Mathematics, Engineering,
- Program for Persons with Disabilities
Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities
The Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities
(FASED) encourages scientists and engineers with disabilities--including
investigators and other staff, postdoctoral associates, student research
assistants, and awardees and honorable mention recipients for graduate fellowships--to
participate in NSF programs. These awards enable physically disabled persons
to facilitate their work by providing funds for special equipment or for
the assistance needed in conjunction with NSF-supported projects. A request
for special equipment or assistance may be included in a new proposal submitted
to any NSF program or in a request for a supplement to an existing NSF grant.
Information is available in program announcement NSF
• Programs for Faculty and Institutional Development
To ensure a broad national base for research, NSF emphasizes developing
the research capacity of faculty across a range of institutions, including
not only the predominantly undergraduate institutions previously mentioned,
but also institutions that have had low participation in NSF programs in
the past. The Experimental Program
to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is an example
of this emphasis.
The following are three examples of specialized programs aimed at the
enhancement of research and education in minority-serving institutions:
1. Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER)
The CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National
Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards for new faculty members.
The CAREER Program recognizes and supports the early career-development
activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic
leaders of the 21st century. CAREER awardees will be selected on the basis
of creative, career-development plans that effectively integrate research
and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such
plans should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions
to research and education. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals
from new faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially
encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons
with disabilities to apply.
2. NSF Component of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists
and Engineers (PECASE)
Each year, NSF selects nominees for PECASE. Nominees are selected from
among the most meritorious new awardees supported by the Faculty Early Career
Development (CAREER) Program (see description of CAREER above). The PECASE
Program recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who early in their
careers show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge.
This Presidential Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government
on scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers.
3. Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI)
The Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) activity supports research
by faculty members from predominantly undergraduate institutions by funding
(1) individual and collaborative research projects; (2) the purchase of
shared-use research instrumentation; and (3) Research Opportunity Awards
for work with NSF-supported investigators from other institutions (these
three types of support are described below).
All NSF directorates participate in the RUI activity. RUI proposals are
evaluated and funded by the NSF program in the disciplinary area of the
proposed research. The objectives of RUI are to support high-quality research,
strengthen the research environment in academic departments that are oriented
primarily toward undergraduate instruction, and promote the integration
of research and education.
The involvement of undergraduate students in a research-rich learning
environment is an important feature of RUI. However, the primary purpose
of RUI is to support faculty research, thereby maintaining the intellectual
vibrancy of faculty members in the classroom and research community.
RUI provides the following types of support:
- Individual-Investigator and Collaborative Faculty Research Projects—Provides
support through NSF research programs in response to proposals submitted
by individual faculty members or by groups of collaborating investigators.
RUI proposals differ from standard NSF proposals in that they include
an RUI Impact Statement describing the expected effects of the proposed
on the research and education environment of the institution. Please note:
the Directorate for Biological Sciences has special instructions for Collaborative
Research at Undergraduate Institutions (C-RUI). See NSF
03-514 for further
Please note: the Directorate for Biological Sciences has special
instructions for Collaborative Research at Undergraduate Institutions (C-RUI).
03-514 for further details.
- Shared Research Instrumentation and Tools—Provides
support for (1) the purchase or upgrade of instrumentation or equipment
to support research that will be conducted by several faculty members and
(2) the development of new instrumentation.
- Research Opportunity Awards
(ROAs)—Enable faculty members
at predominantly undergraduate institutions to pursue research as visiting
scientists with NSF-supported investigators at other institutions. ROAs
are usually funded as supplements to ongoing NSF research grants. ROAs are
intended to increase visitors' research capability and effectiveness; improve
research and teaching at their home institution; and enhance the NSF-funded
research of the host principal investigator.
Prospective applicants for RUI grants and principal investigators interested
in hosting an ROA visiting researcher are urged to contact a program officer
in the appropriate discipline.
4. ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in
Academic Science and Engineering Careers
The ADVANCE Program seeks to improve the climate for women at academic
institutions in the United States and facilitate the advancement of women
to the highest ranks of academic leadership. The program seeks creative
and sustainable approaches from women and men to meet these goals.
ADVANCE provides award opportunities for individuals and organizations
through the following:
- Fellows Awards—Enable promising individuals to establish
or re-establish full-time independent academic research and education
careers in institutions of higher learning.
- Institutional Transformation
Awards—Support academic institutional
transformation to promote the increased participation and advancement of
women scientists and engineers in academe.
- Leadership Awards—Recognize
and encourage outstanding contributions of individuals, small groups, and
organizations such as professional societies,
with widespread impact on increasing the participation and advancement of
women in academic science and engineering careers. These awards enable awardees
to sustain, intensify, and initiate new activities designed to increase
the participation and advancement of women scientists and engineers in academe.
Members of underrepresented minority groups and individuals with disabilities
are encouraged to apply for an award. Proposals that address the participation
and advancement of women from underrepresented minority groups are also
5. Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering
Administered by NSF on behalf of the White House, the PAESMEM Program
seeks to identify outstanding mentoring efforts and programs that are designed
to enhance the participation of groups traditionally underrepresented in
science, mathematics, and engineering.
• Programs for Groups Underrepresented in Science and Engineering
NSF has a number of special programs that address members of groups underrepresented
in science and engineering. Activities are aimed at increasing the participation
of underrepresented minorities; improving the recruitment and retention
of women and girls in science and engineering careers; and ensuring that
persons with disabilities have the opportunity to participate fully in NSF-supported
projects. Such efforts include programs for students, faculty, and institutions
designed to develop as fully as possible our Nation’s talent pool.
The following is a list of these programs and activities, with reference
to their accompanying publication, for further information.
Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO):
- Minority Postdoctoral Research
Fellowships and Supporting Activities (NSF
- Undergraduate Mentoring
in Environmental Biology (NSF
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE):
Division of Human Resource Development (HRD), Directorate for Education
and Human Resources (EHR):
- Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NSF
- Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (NSF
- Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (NSF
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program
- Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (NSF
- Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and
Engineering Mentoring (NSF
- Program for Gender Equity in Science, Mathematics, Engineering,
and Technology (NSF
- Program for Persons with Disabilities (NSF
Directorate for Engineering (ENG):
- Biomedical Engineering and Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities
(NSF 03-560). Direct inquiries to Dr. Gil Devey, Division of Bioengineering
and Environmental Systems, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd.,
Rm. 565, Arlington, VA 22230; or contact by telephone, 703-292-8320.
- Supplemental Funding for Support of Women, Minorities, and Physically
Disabled Engineering Research Assistants (see http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=EEC)
Directorate for Geosciences (GEO):
- Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (NSF
Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE):
- Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (NSF
- Facilitation Awards for
Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (NSF
- ADVANCE: Increasing
the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering
- Research Assistantships for Minority High School Students
(see http://www.nsf.gov/home/students/scholaid.htm-->, for more information)