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News Release 18-079

NSF awards nearly $6M to advance STEM graduate education training

Transformative approaches to STEM graduate education tested

Students in class room.

University of Texas at El Paso Ph.D. students in interdisciplinary team discussions.

September 12, 2018

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) program recently awarded $5.8 million to 12 new projects that will pilot, test and validate innovative approaches in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate education.

"These investments by NSF will help us identify advances in graduate education that address current and future STEM workforce needs," said Jim Lewis, NSF acting assistant director for Education and Human Resources. "We have an opportunity to test innovative strategies in STEM graduate education to underscore the importance of interdisciplinary and broader professional training. Our goal is to identify educational methodologies and elements that will result in scientists that are ready to meet grand challenges in science and engineering."

IGE research projects test new ways to provide graduate students with increased opportunities for professional development and career exploration. They support diversity and inclusion in graduate programs along with improved professional competencies -- including leadership, communication, project management and teamwork, skills that are critical for successful transition into the STEM workforce.

While the projects cover divergent areas in graduate education, they all investigate approaches that could be scaled for use at other institutions nationally. Current research areas focus on advancing community and industry engagement, graduate students' professional identities, "human-centered thinking" in engineering education, strategies that cultivate diverse student success in STEM disciplines, and individualized learning for data science.

The project titles, principal investigators and sponsor institutions for the new awards are:


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, email:

Program Contacts
Laura B. Regassa, NSF, (703) 292-2343, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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