National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

Dec 4, 2020 | Awards & Funding, Research

To: All Divisional Faculty and Researchers
From: Office of Research Development
Subject: National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

The Office of Research Development is pleased to announce the launch of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship Program (NRT) competition.

  • Internal Submission Deadline: Friday, January 8, 2021
  • Funding Organization’s Deadline: Thursday, February 25, 2021
  • Award Cycle: 2021
  • Discipline/Subject Area: Directorate for Education & Human Resources Division of Graduate Education; Directorate for Biological Sciences; Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering; Directorate for Engineering; Directorate for Geosciences; Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences; Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences Office of Integrative Activities


National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

UCSC may participate in only two (2) proposals per NRT competition as lead OR collaborative non-lead. As such, if you are serving as a collaborator in a non-lead institution role, please contact David Garcia or John Macmillan ASAP. (

A letter of intent is no longer required for this program.

For FY2021, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE) have been added to the national priority areas in which the NRT Program encourages proposals. We seek proposals on any interdisciplinary research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on AI and QISE and the six research areas within NSF’s 10 Big Ideas.

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that explore ways for graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs to develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers.

The program is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary or convergent research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs. Proposals are requested in any interdisciplinary or convergent research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on the research areas in NSF’s 10 Big Ideas. The NSF research Big Ideas are Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF), Navigating the New Arctic (NNA), Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (WoU), The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution (QL), and Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype (URoL).

The NRT program addresses workforce development, emphasizing broad participation, and institutional capacity building needs in graduate education. Strategic collaborations with the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, national laboratories, field stations, teaching and learning centers, informal science centers, and academic partners are encouraged. NRT especially welcomes proposals that will pair well with the efforts of NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) to develop STEM talent from all sectors and groups in our society ( Collaborations are encouraged between NRT proposals and existing NSF INCLUDES projects, provided the collaboration strengthens both projects.

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please submit a pre-proposal (2-page maximum) containing the following information, as outlined in the funding solicitation:

  • Project Summary
  • Major Research Efforts
  • Preliminary list of core participants
  • Basic Budget Summary (Not included in page count)
  • SciENcv or NSF approved Biosketch for each core participant (Not included in page count)

On September 18, 2020, NRT Program Directors participated in an NRT workshop, sponsored by the CISE directorate, that was organized by an NRT PI’s team at the University of Virginia. Workshop slides and Q&A details can be found on the University of Virginia website.

See what has been funded through this program

View competition

If you have any questions or comments, please contact