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NSF 12-021

MPS AGEP-GRS Dear Colleague Letter

This document has been archived and replaced by NSF 13-071.

The Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) encourages Principal Investigators (PIs) of current MPS awards to support one (additional) Ph.D. student per award, through a partnership with the Division of Human Resource Development (HRD) in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources (EHR).

PIs with current MPS research awards whose academic units are participating in the EHR-sponsored "Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate" (AGEP) program may apply to MPS for a supplement to defray the costs for: stipend, tuition, benefits and indirect costs for a graduate research student working on the MPS-funded research. For the purposes of this Dear Colleague Letter, this funding opportunity will be abbreviated to: AGEP - Graduate Research Supplements (AGEP-GRS).

Details of the AGEP Program may be found here:

In support of NSF's commitment to broadening participation among individuals, institutions, and geographic areas, these supplements are designed to promote increased participation in all fields of MPS research, with an emphasis placed on increasing the involvement in these fields by members of underrepresented groups -- a key goal of the AGEP Program.

Program Description: MPS has long promoted efforts to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups in all areas of the mathematical and physical sciences. AGEP-GRS introduces a new mechanism by which a current MPS research awardee is able to support one (additional) Ph.D. student in an ongoing MPS-funded research project. The goal is to create an opportunity to engage additional students in research, to develop a positive learning environment for students, and to improve diversity and retention at the doctoral level within the mathematical and physical sciences.

Anticipated Type of Award: One-year (twelve-month) supplements for a single Ph.D. student to currently active MPS awards; renewable for a total support period of up to three years, contingent upon the duration of the active MPS research award and satisfactory progress of the student towards completion of the Ph.D.

Eligibility: A request for AGEP-GRS funding may be made by the PI of a currently active MPS research award. Instrumentation acquisition awards, REU awards and large awards governed by cooperative agreements (e.g., facilities, institutes, and centers) are not eligible. The PI must also be affiliated with an academic unit of an institution participating in an active AGEP project.

The AGEP-GRS program will support at most one (additional) Ph.D. student under each research award at any given time and at most one (additional) Ph.D. student per PI (for those PIs who have multiple awards from MPS). Students being nominated for support must not have other government-funded support (stipend and tuition), e.g. students currently being supported full-time by the PI on any NSF award as a doctoral student are not eligible for AGEP-GRS support; students who received NSF-GRF support are not eligible for AGEP-GRS support. AGEP-GRS student candidates must be United States citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. The graduate student's research project must be consistent with the research topic of the original MPS award.

To be eligible for a renewal of an AGEP-GRS for a second or third year, a student must be in good academic standing. The GRS renewal request must include a report on the student's progress towards the Ph.D. GRS renewals are subject to availability of funds in the program.

Preparation of an AGEP-GRS Request:
Information about requesting supplemental support is contained in Part II of the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) available online at

An AGEP-GRS request to an existing MPS award should be submitted by the PI in FastLane ( in accordance with the guidelines found in the PAPPG and subject to the following instructions.

After logging into FastLane, choose "Award and Reporting functions," and then "Supplemental Funding Request." Next, choose the award to be supplemented. In the form entitled "Summary of Proposed Work," state that this is an AGEP-GRS request and provide a brief description of the proposed AGEP-GRS activity, the impact of the AGEP-GRS support, and how the AGEP-GRS support would broaden participation. Limit your response to one page.

In the form entitled "Justification for Supplement," describe the student's involvement in the research project, keeping in mind that the student should contribute to the intellectual core of the funded research effort. Include a description of the student's long-range career goals and provide an explanation of how the proposed doctoral candidate and project will serve to broaden participation. Limit your response to three pages.

In the Supplementary Documents section, provide the following:

  • A brief resume for the Ph.D. student, including U.S. permanent residency or citizenship status. Please do not include other personally identifiable information such as social security number, date of birth, or place of birth. Limit your response to two pages.
  • A mentoring plan, signed by the PI, to be modeled after the required NSF post-doctoral mentoring plan. It should include a plan to encourage and support completion of the Ph.D. after the supplement period, and a plan to foster further career advancement.

  • A letter signed by the PI of the AGEP award, certifying that the proposed Ph.D. student is or will be a beneficiary of the AGEP activities supported by the AGEP award.

Prepare a budget, including a budget justification for the funds requested for student support and their proposed use. The only allowable expenses in the AGEP-GRS request are: student stipend and fringe benefits, consistent with academic institutional practices, tuition support, and any allowed institutional overhead on these costs. The maximum annual amount (Line J) of any AGEP-GRS request is $60,000.

After you have prepared the request for supplemental funding, forward it to your organization's Sponsored Research Office, which will submit the request to NSF. The term of an AGEP-GRS award may not exceed that of the underlying research project.

For questions or information on submission of an AGEP-GRS, contact the Division AGEP-GRS representatives (below) or the cognizant managing Program Officer for your current MPS grant:

For questions related to the use of FastLane to submit the supplement request, contact the FastLane Help Desk: email or telephone 1-800-673-6188.

Review Process: An award decision will be based on internal review by the managing program officer of the MPS award and on availability of funds.

Award Duration: The Principal Investigator may request AGEP-GRS support for twelve months, renewable annually through additional AGEP-GRS requests for the duration of the research grant. An individual student may receive AGEP-GRS support for a maximum period of three years.

Award Information: Anticipated funding for AGEP-GRS in FY 2012 is $2,000,000, subject to the availability of funds and the merit of supplement requests received. The estimated number of supplements to be awarded will be approximately 30.
Submission Deadline: There is no deadline for submissions; supplemental requests may be submitted at any time.

Special Reporting Requirements: The annual and final reports must discuss the impact of the AGEP-GRS on increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in the mathematical and physical sciences.


H. Edward Seidel
Assistant Director