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NSF 15-024

Dear Colleague Letter: MPS Graduate Research Supplement for Veterans (MPS-GRSV)

The National Science Foundation recognizes that Veterans represent a potential underutilized workforce for America's research and industrial communities. The Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) is now accepting supplemental requests to support one (additional) Ph.D. student per award, as long as the graduate student is a United States Veteran. The proposed MPS-GRSVs will afford Veterans an opportunity to conduct research towards a doctoral degree with an NSF MPS Directorate active grantee.

PI Eligibility: A request for MPS-GRSV funding may be made by the PI of a currently active MPS research award. Instrumentation acquisition awards, REU awards, etc. are not eligible.

Veteran Eligibility: Under Title 5 U. S. Code 2108, a veteran means an individual who:

  1. served on active duty in the armed forces during a war, in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, or during the period beginning April 28, 1952, and ending July 1, 1955;

  2. served on active duty as defined by section 101(21) of title 38 at any time in the armed forces for a period of more than 180 consecutive days any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976, not including service under section 12103(d) of title 10 pursuant to an enlistment in the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard or as a Reserve for service in the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, or Coast Guard Reserve;

  3. served on active duty as defined by section 101(21) of title 38 in the armed forces during the period beginning on August 2, 1990, and ending on January 2, 1992; or

  4. served on active duty as defined by section 101(21) of title 38 at any time in the armed forces for a period of more than 180 consecutive days any part of which occurred during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or by law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and, except as provided under section 2108a, who has been discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions.

A "disabled veteran" means an individual who has served on active duty in the armed forces, (except as provided under section 2108a) has been separated therefrom under honorable conditions, and has established the present existence of a service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension because of a public statute administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a military department.

Eligibility to participate as recipients of the MPS-GRSV will be limited to full-time veteran STEM Ph.D. students at U.S. universities, institutes, and colleges.

Anticipated type of award: One-year (twelve-month) supplements for a single Ph.D. student to join currently active MPS award; 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.

Supplement Preparation and Submission instructions: The MPS-GRSV supplement will be a supplement specifically for U.S. veterans who are classified as full-time Ph.D. students at U.S. Universities. The MPS-GRSV is not transferrable to dependents of a Veteran.

The MPS-GRSV 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 MPS-GRSV support; students who received NSF-GRF support are not eligible for MPS-GRSV support. Students who have received past support from the Post-9/11 GI Bill (and/or associated programs such as the Yellow Ribbon program) are eligible for support. 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 MPS-GRSV 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 MPS-GRSV Request:

Information about requesting supplemental support is contained in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Part II: Award and Administration Guide (AAG), Chapter 1.E.4, available online at

An MPS-GRSV request for supplemental funding 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 MPS-GRSV request and provide a brief description of the proposed MPS-GRSV activity and the impact of the MPS-GRSV support. 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. 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, as described in the PAPPG Part I: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), Chapter II.C.2, available online at:

  • 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.

Prepare a budget, including a budget justification for the funds requested for student support and their proposed use. The only allowable expenses in the MPS-GRSV request are: student stipend and fringe benefits, consistent with academic institutional practices, tuition support, and any allowed institutional overhead on these costs.

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

For questions or information on submission of an MPS-GRSV, contact the Division MPS-GRSV 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 MPS-GRSV support for twelve months, renewable annually through additional MPS-GRSV requests for the duration of the research grant. An individual student may receive MPS-GRSV support for a maximum period of three years.

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 MPS-GRSV on the career of the Veteran Ph.D. student supported.


Fleming Crim
Assistant Director