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INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN ENGINEERING
Dear Colleague Letter
This International Research and Education in Engineering (IREE)
Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) seeks to provide supplemental funding
to current awardees to support international travel by early-career
researchers in the United States to enable them to gain international
research experience and perspective, and to enable closer research
interaction between U.S. institutions and their foreign counterparts.
This DCL concerns opportunities for international research and
education for early-career researchers, i.e., undergraduates and
graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career faculty
members. The National Science Foundation (NSF), through the Divisions
in the Directorate for Engineering (ENG) and the Office of International
Science and Engineering (OISE), announces the International Research
and Education in Engineering (IREE) initiative. NSF will entertain
proposals for supplemental funding for existing awardees aimed
at providing early-career researchers in engineering with international
experience in research and education. IREE also seeks to enhance
and broaden engineering research and education activities in current
engineering awards by initiating closer linkages between awardees
and their foreign counterparts. IREE will support medium-duration
visits by U.S. early-career researchers to collaborating institutions/laboratories
outside of the United States. The visits must be related to the
objectives of ongoing work in current projects, augmented by evidence
of engagement with the cultural activities in the countries visited.
Supplement Request Deadline Date and Time: Due by June 8, 2006,
5 p.m. submitter’s local time.
Eligible proposers are limited to current awardees of the Divisions
in the Directorate for Engineering that include:
- Engineering Education and Centers
- Electrical and Communications
- Bioengineering and Environmental Systems
- Chemical and Transport
- Civil and Mechanical Systems
- Design and Manufacturing Innovation
To be eligible, the expiration dates, including no-cost extension,
of current awards must fall on or after September 1, 2007. The
maximum duration for IREE supplements is one (1) year.
Increasing economic globalization is making it essential that
the education experience of engineering students include a global
perspective and an appreciation of the societal implication of
their work. Today, the conceptualization, design, and manufacture
of devices and systems involve global market analyses and implementation
through distributed work centers and worldwide supply chains. Often,
engineers are assigned overseas and must deal with foreign manufacturing
units and multinational design and marketing teams. In this new
environment, it is important for engineering students to be proficient
in the technical subjects, informed about international technological
trends and business practice, and be familiar with foreign languages
Data from the Institute of International Education and the Chronicle
of Higher Education show that only about 1 percent of U.S. students
in colleges and universities go abroad each year on international
educational exchanges. Furthermore, among the students going abroad
on international educational exchanges, engineering as a discipline
ranks next to the lowest, surpassing only the field of agriculture.
Industry, academic, and government experts generally agree that
past hindrances to participation in international engineering education
include the lack of proficiency in foreign languages and the perception
by students that corporations do not value international experience
among new hires. These obstacles, however, are fast disappearing
as students become much more proficient in foreign languages, and
businesses and governments are increasingly looking for new employees
with international expertise. The principal obstacle today lies
in the lack of support for integrating international experience
into the mainstream engineering programs at academic institutions.
Each year, the various Divisions in the Directorate for Engineering
at NSF make approximately 1,000 awards in research and education
to institutions in the United States. Although there are numerous
instances of faculty access to foreign laboratories in short-term
informal visits, the non-inclusion of, and the absence of funding
for, international activities in these awards is depriving faculty
of the opportunity to expand the scope and increase innovation
and productivity of their research programs. This lack of support
contributes to a majority of engineering students graduating without
acquiring a substantive international perspective.
An extended-stay visit to one or more foreign institutions/laboratories,
including industrial laboratories, by early-career U.S. researchers
such as students, and assistant and associate professors who
are supported by current NSF-funded awards can potentially bring
more direct benefit to the funded projects by fostering stronger
project-based collaborative partnerships between the home and
hosting laboratories, and enhance the education experience of
the students. International cooperation that is based on this
type of direct linkage will enhance innovations and productivity
of the research and education efforts underway in each institution/laboratory.
Such a win-win scenario is made possible by a new global reality
fueled by increasing investments for research and education by
many foreign governments. Cooperation also promotes faster progress
and spurs development in new directions.
SUPPLEMENT AWARD INFORMATION AND ALLOWABLE COSTS
NSF will accept requests for supplements to existing awardees
to support early-career researchers who have established meaningful
and potentially productive contacts with their counterparts in
other countries. Supplementary funding may be requested to support
the incremental costs of foreign travel for U.S. early-career researchers – undergraduate
and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and tenure-track or
tenured faculty members who are assistant or associate professors
or their equivalent – who are working on current NSF awards.
The participation of members of underrepresented groups is strongly
NSF will provide allowances for travel expenses for the U.S. component
of such collaborations. These allowances will include nominal and
reasonable amounts for local research expenses at the host institutions/laboratories.
The proposed foreign activities should fall within the general
scope of the existing NSF-funded project for which supplemental
funding is requested. Incremental participant support for international
travel, including local expenses are included. The funded time
spent in foreign institutions/laboratories for each researcher
must be between three (3) to six (6) months.
It is expected that the major portion of the NSF funding will
go toward the travel-related expenses, as noted below, of early-career
U.S. researchers and travel support for faculty advisors for program
coordination and supervision.
Supplement requests to support the travel of researchers at the
assistant or associate professor levels must also include at least
General guidelines for allowable budget categories and maximum
allowable amounts are:
- Up to $1,500 transportation costs for each researcher;
subsistence allowance of up to $3,500 per month for each undergraduate
and graduate student;
- Local subsistence allowance of up to
$4,500 per month for each post-doctoral fellow and assistant
and associate professor;
- Up to $2,250 travel funds for faculty
visits for purposes of supervision and coordination;
- Up to
$1,500 for administrative expenses associated with the international
- Up to $1,200 per month stipend for each researcher;
- The budget must include the costs of one domestic trip per
year for researcher(s) and faculty advisor to travel to Washington,
D.C. to attend a conference for up to three days and provide
a report at a meeting for all awardees.
All supplement awards are subject to the availability of funds,
review of the quality of proposals, and divisional acceptance.
Indirect Costs are not allowed. The supplement request and the
budget must be submitted through FastLane. See instructions below.
Qualifying U.S. researchers are undergraduate or graduate students,
postdoctoral fellows, tenure-track or tenured faculty members who
are at the assistant or associate professor or equivalent levels.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING SUPPLEMENT REQUESTS
Principal Investigators must contact the NSF program officer responsible
for their grants to be supplemented in advance of submitting a
request. The title of the request should begin with the acronym
IREE. The supplement request must describe the U.S. part of the
cooperative project in sufficient detail to enable the program
officer and reviewers to evaluate (1) its intellectual merit and
(2) the broader impacts of the proposed activity. In addition to
these review criteria, NSF will take into consideration the value
added by the proposed international cooperation, and the extent
to which the proposal integrates research and education and promotes
The request must include the following information:
Limit: 5 pages: A concise, substantive summary
of the proposed plan for research and general interaction between
the U.S. researchers and the foreign partners, including the
anticipated benefits of the plan and how the proposed interaction
with the foreign institutions/laboratories could be leveraged
to foster even closer future interaction between the U.S. and
foreign institutions/laboratories. This summary should comment
specifically on the researchers’ activities in the
foreign country, and make clear whether the research program is
within the current scope of work at the home institution in the
United States or is meant to extend it. Activities aimed at increasing
the researchers’ familiarity with the foreign language,
culture, and applicable technological trends and business practice
should be included also.
Limit 1 page: Information clearly
identifying the foreign counterpart institutions/laboratories,
and a brief description of its research focus and recent
A letter from the coordinator of the foreign partner laboratory
certifying its agreement to accept the U.S. researcher(s) as
proposed in the supplement request.
Limit: 1 page: A brief description of the
process and criteria for selection of the U.S. researcher(s).
If a researcher has been selected, then the grounds for selection
and a brief biographical sketch of the researcher, including
identification of his/her home country, should be included.
Also describe how the proposed researchers have been prepared
for the visit. Describe any program of orientation/instruction
that will be done before, during, and after the visit.
- A proposed
budget submitted through Fastlane.
Where applicable, awardees are encouraged to make use of collaborative
mechanisms available through existing research centers such as
those in earthquake engineering research.
It is the responsibility of the U.S. institution requesting the
supplement to obtain passports, visas, and any other documents
needed for international travel for each of the early-career researchers.
Disciplinary NSF program officers in the Directorate for Engineering
and the Office of International Science and Engineering Programs
will manage the review of requests. Requests must be submitted
through FastLane in accordance Sec. II.D.2.b of NSF Grant Proposal
Guide, NSF 04-23, accessible through http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/nsf04_23/.
In preparing the budget, refer to NSF Grant Policy Manual (nsf05131;
put applicable budget items under Participants Support; see Sec.
618 for more information.
All proposals received by the due date will be reviewed by NSF
program officers using NSF merit review criteria; see Sec. III.A
Within three months after completion of the trip, faculty advisors
and researchers are expected to prepare a paper or trip report
to be submitted to NSF that details the experience of the trip.
Researchers and their faculty are expected to attend and present
their report at a post-visit workshop/conference in Washington,
D.C. that can last up to three days.
If you are interested in submitting a supplemental request, you
must contact your NSF program officer. If you have questions concerning
this solicitation, please contact one of the NSF staff listed below:
Division of Engineering Education and Centers,
for Engineering, (703) 292-5341. E-mail: email@example.com.
Gary Gabriele, Division of Engineering Education and Centers,
Directorate for Engineering, (703) 292-5346. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeanne Hudson, Office of International Science and Engineering,
(703) 292-8252. E-mail: email@example.com.
Marshall Lih, Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Systems,
Directorate for Engineering, (703) 292-4608. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eduardo A. Misawa, Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems, Directorate
for Engineering, (703) 292-5353. E-mail: email@example.com.
Mary Lynn Realff, Division of Design and Manufacturing Innovations,
Directorate for Engineering, (703) 292-8330. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judy Raper, Division of Chemical and Transport Systems, Directorate
for Engineering, (703) 292-5382. E-mail: email@example.com.
Kevin Tomsovic, Division of Electrical and Communications Systems,
Directorate for Engineering, (703) 292-8339. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.