VU Limited Submission Opportunity: 2017 NSF Research Traineeship Program

Vanderbilt University is anticipating the opportunity to submit up to two letters of intent as a lead institution for the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program, which supports the development and implementation of transformative models for STEM graduate education training.

This year, NSF has only one NRT track, the Traineeship Track. The Traineeship Track will support training programs for STEM graduate students in high-priority interdisciplinary research areas. Last year, NSF had specific interest in programs focused on “Understanding the Brain” and “Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems,” areas expected to continue to be a priority this year. The award provides up to $3 million for five years.

Applications should have 1.) an interdisciplinary research theme, 2.) strong training elements, 3.) the integration of research and training, 4.) a clear need for the program, 5.) the transformative potential of the research area, and 6.) how the project will produce improvements in graduate education and the potential for impact in STEM workforce development.

Vanderbilt has identified the NRT as an opportunity of strategic importance for which Vanderbilt could offer highly competitive proposals. To facilitate the development of strong proposals, the internal submission deadline for this opportunity is occurring several months ahead of time before the sponsor deadline. Note that VU is particularly interested in supporting proposals aligned with the “Understanding the Brain” priority area.

NSF expects that the new call will come out this fall, with the letter of intent due 60 days after the call and full proposals due an additional 60 days later. The requirements for the internal application will be updated if there are significant changes.

Please advise your faculty to look at last year’s NRT call, the available webinars, the FAQs, and previously awarded projects for more information regarding the program.

Interested faculty should visit to submit an application for the internal LSO competition and to find additional information about the opportunity. The deadline for the internal competition has been extended to Monday, Oct. 30.

Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to