Directorate for Geosciences
Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Supplement Opportunity
for Principal Investigators on New or Renewal Research Proposals
or On-going Research Projects NSF
Office of the Assistant Director
September 16, 2005
This letter calls your attention to an activity that supports
the participation of K-12 and community college science teachers
in research projects funded by the Directorate for Geosciences
(GEO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Research Experiences
for Teachers (RET) activity is designed to enhance the professional
development of science teachers through participation in new or
on-going NSF-funded research projects. GEO strongly encourages
its grantees to make special efforts to identify talented teachers
for participation in this opportunity.
RET Supplements may be requested in one of two ways: (1) Investigators
with an existing NSF research award may submit a request for supplemental
funding; or (2) Proposers may include an RET Supplement activity
as part of a new (or renewal) research proposal to NSF. For further
guidance and inquiries, including due dates, contact the cognizant
program officer for the GEO program that is either currently funding
the research, or will consider the new (or renewal) research proposal.
The duration of the RET activity will generally be one year and
the project may be carried out during summer months, during the
academic year, or both.
Encouraging active participation of teachers in NSF projects
is an excellent way to strengthen the science expertise of our
teachers. RET supplements should also lead to collaborative relationships
between K-12 science educators and the NSF research community.
GEO is particularly interested in encouraging its researchers
to build mutually rewarding partnerships with teachers from schools
with either limited resources or that serve students who are
members of groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The RET Supplement request should clearly articulate, in some
detail, the form and nature of the prospective teacher’s
involvement in the Principal Investigator’s on-going or proposed
research. The teacher should be involved in a significant research
experience. For example, the teacher might design new experiments,
conduct a modeling study, or analyze experimental data. Since it
is expected that the RET experience will lead to the transfer of
new knowledge into classroom activities, the RET Supplement request
should indicate what sustained follow-up will be provided to help
in translating the teacher’s research experience into classroom
practice. A brief biographical sketch of the teacher should be
included with the supplement request.
A proposal to supplement an existing NSF award with an RET Supplement
should be submitted via FastLane. 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 description
of the proposed RET Supplement activity is limited to 3 pages.
A separate two-page biographical sketch must be included for each
teacher and submitted in the Supplementary Docs section of the
supplement request. The Supplement request should also include
a budget and budget justification for the funds requested. RET
budgets typically include a stipend for the teacher, a travel allowance
for the teacher, and up to $1,000 for the cost of materials, equipment,
software and other supplies that will be used by the teacher to
develop classroom instructional materials. An administrative allowance
(limited to 25% of the teacher’s stipend only) is allowed
for partial reimbursement of indirect costs; no other indirect
costs are allowable on RET Supplement requests. The total cost
of the Supplement is generally limited to $10,000 per teacher.
New (or renewal) research proposals that include RET supplements
should include all of the information listed in the preceding paragraph
in addition to the information provided as part of the research
Normally funds may be available to support up to two teachers,
but exceptions to this guideline will be considered. Participation
of teachers who are members of groups underrepresented in STEM
fields is strongly encouraged.
RET Supplement requests will be reviewed internally within NSF.
Decisions to recommend a supplement request for funding will be
made by the cognizant program officer for the program that administers
the research award that would be supplemented. Program officers
base their decision on the merits of the supplement request, the
composition of the program’s overall funding portfolio, and
the availability of funds.
NSF encourages GEO-funded PIs to visit K-12 teachers in local
school districts and regions, including those participating in
NSF-supported activities (see, for example, the awards
list for the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education)
and make them aware of this RET Supplement opportunity as well
as other NSF research and educational projects. We trust that the
time and effort expended will strengthen the teaching of science,
mathematics, and engineering and enhance the development of the
U.S. science and engineering workforce.