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Limited Submissions: Internal Call for Proposals for NSF Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program.

Limited Submissions: Internal Call for Proposals

NSF Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program

UNC Internal deadline: 11:59PM, Monday, September 7, 2020


*Please distribute to relevant faculty*

Key Dates

UNC Internal Deadline: UNC Internal deadline: 11:59PM, Monday, September 7, 2020

NSF Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer’s local time): November 4, 2020


Important Information

  • Number of Applications per Institution: 2


Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Anticipated Funding Amount: $4,000,000

Anticipated Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement (IGE Innovation Acceleration Hub only)

Anticipated Funding Amount: $500,000 in year one; remaining funds disbursed in years 2-5. The maximum award amount is $1,000,000 for five years.


To Apply

Submit the following (in ONE .pdf) to the Office of Research Development limited submissions inbox Subject line: NSF IGE Submission by 11:59PM, Monday, September 7, 2020.

  1. PI/ Team members NSF-formatted biosketch
  2. Project Summary (four-page maximum)
  3. List of potential collaborators (internal and external to UNC)
  4. Names (along with position/contact information) of three internal (to UNC) experts who could speak knowledgeably about the candidate’s research and who could potentially serve on an internal review panel.
  • Please do not include the names of faculty named on the project, chairs, deans, directors, direct reports, or others who have a conflict of interest
  • Please notify all potential internal reviewers before submitting the pre-proposal
    packet to ORD


Program Description

The Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative approaches to STEM graduate education training. The 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.

IGE focuses on projects aimed at piloting, testing, and validating innovative and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education. IGE projects are intended to generate the knowledge required for their customization, implementation, and broader adoption. The program supports testing of novel models or activities with high potential to enrich and extend the knowledge base on effective graduate education approaches.

The program addresses both 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.

As a special emphasis under this solicitation, IGE seeks proposals that will result in a single cooperative agreement for the development and implementation of an IGE Innovation Acceleration Hub. The Hub will facilitate IGE awardee communications about research activities and outcomes and provide a platform for external stakeholder engagement.


Internal Review Criteria

Reviewers will be asked to review internal materials using standard NSF-review metrics pertaining to Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, and in addition, will be asked to pay attention to:

Additional solicitation-specific review criteria for IGE Project proposals (Standard and Continuing Grants) include:

  • Knowledge generation to inform improvements in graduate education: Are the research questions, hypotheses, and methodologies clear? Is the proposed research informed by the relevant STEM graduate education literature? To what extent would the project generate the knowledge needed to inform implementation and adaptability of potentially transformative improvements to graduate education? Is the proposal grounded in a theory of change?
  • STEM education, disciplinary/interdisciplinary training, and workforce needs: Does the proposal adequately identify the intended contribution(s) of the IGE project to STEM education, disciplinary/interdisciplinary training and/or workforce needs? For example, is it aimed at a need in a single discipline or is it targeting skillsets in response to interdisciplinary research? Does the proposal ground the identified need in the literature?
  • Evaluation and assessment: Is there a well-conceived plan, including tangible metrics aligned with the goals and timeline, to evaluate the outcomes of the proposed project? Does the assessment plan include the gathering of data needed to test hypotheses? Does the evaluation plan align with the theory of change?

Additional solicitation-specific review criteria for IGE Innovation Acceleration Hub proposals (Cooperative Agreement) include:

  • Communications and Outreach: Does the communication plan include frequent communications to IGE projects to solicit resources and feedback? How will the organization obtain feedback and engagement from multiple populations to identify goals for use and strategies for achieving those goals? (Priority consideration will be given to proposals that demonstrate a plan to make the Hub a useful resource for NSF-supported projects, beyond the IGE program, related to research on innovation in graduate education.)
  • Assessment and Evaluation: Does the plan include a clear timeline and performance metrics to evaluate the outcomes of the proposed project? Is there a plan to obtain regular feedback from stakeholders that will be used to improve the Hub?

Additional Information

Full solicitation:

Please contact the Limited Submissions Team with questions at or 962-7503.