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NSF 02-090

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February 28, 2002



Dear Colleague:

This letter is to call your attention to a new activity that will support active participation by K-12 teachers of science in projects funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation. The intent of this endeavor is to facilitate professional development of K-12 science teachers through research experience at the cutting edge of science. The BIO Directorate strongly encourages all its grantees to make special efforts to identify talented teachers for participation in this RET-supplement opportunity.

We believe that encouraging active participation of teachers in on-going NSF projects is an excellent way to reach broadly into the teacher talent pool of our nation. The goal of the RET-supplement is to help build long-term collaborative relationships between K-12 teachers of science and the NSF research community. The Directorate for Biological Sciences at NSF is particularly interested in encouraging its researchers to build mutually rewarding partnerships with teachers at inner city schools and less well endowed school districts.

A request for funding of a RET-supplement should be made under an existing NSF award or within a proposal for a new or renewal NSF award. The description of the RET-supplement activity should clearly articulate in some detail the form and nature of the prospective teacherís involvement in the Principal Investigatorís ongoing or proposed research. Since it is expected that the RET-supplement experience will also lead to transfer of new knowledge to classroom activities, the RET-supplement description should also indicate what sustained follow-up would be provided to help in translating the teacherís research experience into classroom practice. A brief biographical sketch of the teacher should also be included.

The duration of the RET-supplement will generally be one year and the project may be carried out during summer months, during the academic year, or both. For guidance and inquiries concerning the RET-supplement, including the application due date, the Principal Investigator should consult with the Program Director of his/her particular NSF award.

An application for the RET supplement to an existing NSF award should be submitted via the 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 procedure is the same as described in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supplement (NSF 01-121 at The Principal Investigator enters the description of the proposed RET-Supplement activity (limited to 3 pages), including a separate 2 page CV of each teacher (submitted in the Supplementary Docs section), justification of the funds requested, and a prepared budget. The budget includes a teacherís stipend and up to $1,000 for the cost of materials, equipment, software and other supplies for developing classroom instructions and experiments. An administrative allowance (limited to 25% of the teacherís stipend only) is allowed in lieu of indirect costs. The total cost of the supplement is limited to $10,000 per teacher. Normally funds may be available for up to two teachers, but exceptions will be considered. Participation of teachers who are members of underrepresented groups (minorities, and persons with disabilities) is strongly encouraged. An award decision will be based on internal review by the Program Director and availability of funds in a particular program.

The National Science Foundation encourages you to visit K-12 teachers in your local school district and region, including those from NSF supported urban efforts, to make them aware of this RET-supplement opportunity as well as other NSF research and educational projects. Information on current NSF awards is readily available on We trust that your time and efforts will open and facilitate new avenues for innovations in the teaching of science, mathematics, and engineering and enhance the development of the U.S. science and engineering workforce.


Mary E. Clutter
Assistant Director


The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the result for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation. NSF welcomes proposals on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (some programs may have special requirements that limit eligibility). Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 292-5111, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339.

We want all of our communications to be clear and understandable. If you have suggestions on how we can improve this document or other NSF publications, please email us at


The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

Reports Clearance Officer,
Information Dissemination Branch, DAS;
National Science Foundation,
Arlington, VA 22230.

CFDA No. 47.074, Biological Sciences
OMB No. 3145-0058