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National Science Foundation


Graduate Research Supplements (GRS) to Current ECS and BES Awards to Broaden Participation of Women and Underrepresented Minority Students

April 21, 2005

Division of Electrical and Communications Systems (ECS)
Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Systems (BES)

Dear Colleague:

This letter is to call your attention to a new opportunity to broaden participation of women and underrepresented minority students in Ph.D. programs in electrical engineering and biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering through supplements to current research grants funded by the Electrical and Communications Systems Division (ECS) or the Bioengineering and Environmental Systems Division (BES) in the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation.

INTRODUCTION

The long-term goal of the Graduate Research Supplements (GRS) is to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in advanced academic and professional careers. The establishment of GRS reflects the continuing effort by ECS and BES to promote increased participation of women and minority students in all fields of electrical engineering and biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering research. According to the 2003 American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) report on engineering faculty, there are 9.9% women, 2.0% African American, and 3.2% Hispanic tenured/tenure-track teaching faculty members, with little variation from 2001 to 2003. In a recent NSF study, it was found that among engineering faculty only 13.7% of assistant professors were women. This figure dropped to 6.3% at the associate professor level and to an even lower 1.4% at the full professor level. Comparable percentages for African-American faculty are 2.9%, 2.8% and 1.5%, while percentages for Hispanic faculty members are 4.6%, 4.0% and 2.2%. The percentages of tenured/tenure track teaching faculty in electrical engineering are 8.0% women, 2.6% African American, and 4.7% Hispanic. Similarly, the percentages for environmental engineering are 14.7% women, 4.9% African American, and 2.9% Hispanic and for biomedical engineering are 16.6% women, 1.5% African American, and 1.8% Hispanic. With such exceedingly low levels of women and minority faculty, ECS and BES recognize that women and minorities represent a significant untapped technical resource for the Nation.

ECS in collaboration with BES is initiating a pilot program through GRS to encourage active participation of women and minority Ph.D. students majoring in electrical engineering, or biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering in on-going research programs funded by ECS or BES. It is anticipated that GRS will help in the development of intellectual synergy between faculty and students, will provide faculty with the opportunity to involve additional graduate students in on-going research programs, will lead to greater retention of students in the targeted populations, and will foster a learning and career advancement environment that supports students from underrepresented groups.

ANTICIPATED TYPE OF AWARD

Supplements to ECS or BES awards.

ELIGIBILITY

A request for funding of a GRS should be made by the Principal Investigator of an existing ECS or BES award. Only one graduate student qualifying for a GRS may be supported under each research grant. GRS candidates must be United States citizens or nationals, or permanent resident aliens of the United States. The graduate student must enroll for their Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering or biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering.

PROPOSAL PREPARATION

Supplement requests should be submitted through FastLane as described in http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.htm, following the instructions described in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg, for Supplemental Funding Requests. The procedure is the same as that described in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) supplement. The Principal Investigator must enter a description of the proposed GRS activity (limited to 3 pages) including a justification of the funds requested and a supporting budget. The proposal should articulate the form and nature of the involvement of identified graduate students majoring in electrical engineering or biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering in the Principal Investigator's ongoing research program. The Directorate for Engineering expects that the GRS student will contribute to activities that comprise the intellectual core of the funded research effort. Since it is anticipated that a GRS will promote increased participation of women and minority graduate students in electrical engineering and biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering, the proposal for a GRS should indicate the follow-up mechanism will be provided to encourage career advancement of GRS students beyond their participation in the research program. In addition, a brief biographical sketch of the candidate student must be included, which should incorporate the student's long-range career goals and commitment to diversity as a resource for enriching education in electrical engineering or biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering. For further guidance concerning the GRS the Principal Investigator should consult with the Program Director of the ECS or BES award under which the GRS is to be supported. Inquiries regarding possible conflict-of-interest situations and other questions should be addressed to the GRS coordinators.

PROPOSAL REVIEW

An award decision will be based on internal review by the ECS or BES Program Director, and availability of funds in a particular program.

AWARD SIZE AND DURATION

An ECS or BES awardee may request a GRS for twelve months, renewable annually, for the duration of the research grant for a maximum period of three years for an individual student. The supplements are nontransferable and may include graduate student stipend and tuition support consistent with academic institutional practices. Indirect costs are not permitted; however, an administration allowance limited to 25% of the student stipend may be included.

AWARD INFORMATION

Total anticipated funding available for this supplement is $400,000 per year beginning in FY 2005, pending the availability of funds. The estimated number of supplements awarded will be 10-12.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE

The deadline for submission of the request is June 30, 2005.

The Directorate for Engineering encourages ECS and BES grantees to disseminate information on GRS to students planning to pursue the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering or biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering who share a commitment to diversity as a resource for enriching education in electrical engineering or biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering. The Directorate for Engineering anticipates that GRS will open and facilitate new avenues for increasing the participation of women and minority students in electrical engineering and biomedical/biochemical/environmental engineering, and in turn, enhance the development of the U.S. engineering workforce in accordance with the Engineer of 2020 report of the National Academy of Engineering that foresees an engineering profession, that remains underrepresented with respect to women and minorities in the year 2020.

Inquiries regarding the supplement should be directed to one of the following GRS Coordinators.

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Usha Varshney (Coordinator)
Acting Division Director
Division of Electrical and Communications Systems
uvarshne@nsf.gov
703-292-8339

 

Dr. Bruce Hamilton (Coordinator)
Acting Division Director
Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Systems
bhamilto@nsf.gov
703-292-8320

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