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News Release 16-129

NSF funds new projects to explore graduate education models

NSF Research Traineeship awards address key issues in the scientific community

Focus areas for awards include the intersection of food, water and energy.

Focus areas for awards include the intersection of food, water and energy.

October 19, 2016

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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.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 (NSF) is pleased to announce the most recent awardees for the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program, designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, potentially transformative models for graduate education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"Innovative and interdisciplinary approaches will be key to tackling tomorrow's scientific challenges, and today's STEM graduate students will need to develop the skills to meet those challenges," said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, NSF assistant director for Education and Human Resources. "The NSF Research Traineeship program is testing new models to train graduate students across STEM disciplines and to prepare them for contributions in diverse careers."

The NRT program addresses key issues in the scientific community, including educating and building the science and engineering workforce, broadening participation in STEM education to include traditionally underserved populations, and creating new resources at institutions that train STEM graduate students.

NRT is an NSF-wide effort to build new models for graduate education, while preparing the next generation of STEM graduate students to pursue a range of careers. NSF awarded a total of $47 million to 16 Traineeship projects in high-priority, interdisciplinary research areas, including eight projects in Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (DESE), three in Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems research (INFEWS), and two in Understanding the Brain (UtB).

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

A total of $3.8 million was awarded to eight Innovations in Graduate Education projects that will pilot new approaches to graduate education. The principal investigators, institutions and titles for the new awards are:

NSF has released the next NRT solicitation (NSF 16-503). Priority research areas in the solicitation are UtB (Understanding the Brain) and INFEWS (Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems). More information is available at the NRT program website.


Media Contacts
Rob Margetta, NSF, (703) 292-2663, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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