Skip to main content

Limited Submission Funding Opportunity: NSF Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals for the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program.  

FOA#NSF 17-585

  • Internal Letter of Intent Due: Tuesday, June 25 (by 11:59 PM)
  • Internal Proposal Due (by Invitation): Monday, July 15 (by 11:59 PM)
  • Internal Notification: Monday, August 5
  • Sponsor Proposal Due: Friday, September 27  

IGE projects will generate potentially transformative models for improvements in graduate education that prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers for the full range of possible STEM career paths to advance the nation's STEM enterprise. IGE is dedicated solely to piloting, testing, and validating innovative approaches to graduate education and to generating the knowledge required for the customization and implementation of the most successful, transformative ones. The primary target population for IGE projects must be master's and/or doctoral STEM students in a research-based degree program that requires a thesis or dissertation. 

The IGE program will not focus on comprehensive training (see NSF Research Traineeship Solicitation NSF 18-507) or foundational research examining how graduate students learn (see EHR Core Research Solicitation NSF 15-509), but rather will promote targeted test-bed efforts that are informed by evidence, including findings from research on learning.

Activities proposed as part of the research project may include, but are not limited to, student professional skill development, career preparation and vocational counseling, faculty training, inventive partnerships, international experiences, internships, outreach, virtual networks, and mentoring. In addition, projects should utilize evidence-based strategies to broaden participation of students from diverse backgrounds. 

Goals of the IGE Program are to:

  • Catalyze rapid advances in STEM graduate educationbroadly as well as those responsive to the needs of particular disciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM fields, and
  • Generate the knowledge base needed to inform the development of models as well as their implementation and adaptability.

The IGE Program calls for proposals to:

  • Design, pilot, and test new, innovative and transformative approaches for inclusive STEM graduate education;
  • Examine the potential to extend a successful approach developed in one discipline or context to other disciplines, or transfer an evidence-based approach to a new context; and
  • Develop projects that are informed by learning science and the existing body of knowledge about STEM graduate education.

Leadership teams (PI/Co-PIs) comprising professional expertise in the learning sciences and pedagogy, as well as in the principal science domain(s), are strongly encouraged.


IGE Awards are expected to be up to three (3) years induration with a total budget between $300,000 and $500,000.  


An eligible organization may participate in two Innovationsin Graduate Education proposals per competition. Participation includes serving as a lead organization on a non-collaborative proposal or as a lead organization, non-lead organization, or subawardee on a collaborative proposal. Organizations participating solely as evaluators on projects are excluded from this limitation. 


Faculty members interested in applying with Northwestern as the lead or as a partner institution are required to submit a letter of intent (LOI) by the deadline specified above. If interest exceeds the number of submissions the university is allowed, an internal competition will be held. Typically, all investigators that submit an LOI will be invited to submit an internal proposal. 

  1. Click here to access the LOI form.
  2. Name the LOI as follows: “LastName-FirstInitial-NSF-IGE-2019”, replacing “LastName” with your last name and “First Initial” with your first initial.
  3. Submit your LOI by completing this web form.  Note: Supplemental documents are not accepted.
  4. To receive a confirmation email and copy of your submission, check the box (“Send me a copy of my responses”) and enter your email address.
  5. Click “Submit”.

Proposals should be prepared with 1 inch margins, all around, 11 point font size and type and are required to contain the following components:

  1. Cover page with descriptive title, your name, NU key personnel, and external partners. 
  2. Introduction (1 page limit): ONLY if you previously submitted an IGE internal/external proposal. Summarize how your current proposal differs from the previous one. If you submitted a proposal to the NSF, include the review statements and explain your plans to address them.
  3. Project Description (2 page limit; references may be placed on a 3rd page) that includes the following components:
    1. Describe the overarching goals of the proposed IGE with a focus on piloting and testing potentially transformative improvements ingraduate education.  
    2. Describe the disciplinary field(s) involved, the knowledge that will be generated to inform implementation and adaptability of transformative approaches to STEM graduateeducation, and how the project is responsive to a need and/or opportunity.
    3. Specify the approaches or models to be piloted and tested as well as the targeted graduatestudent population and the justification for their inclusion.
    4. Identify the potential of the IGE project to provide appreciable and meaningful added value to the current degree programs at the institution(s) or in the discipline(s). 
    5. Discuss the broader impacts of the educationmodel and activities.
    6. Describe plans to evaluate the outcomes of the approach tested to provide transformative improvements in graduate education.
  4. NSF Biosketch (PI only; 2 page limit).
  5. Letter from your department Chair indicating his/her awareness of and support for your proposal as a demonstration of institutional commitment to the proposal.  If your Department Chair is a key personnel on any proposal for this competition, please provide a letter from your Research Dean.
  1. Click on the web form link provided in the email inviting you to submit the internal proposal.
  2. To receive a confirmation email and copy of your submission, check the box (“send me a copy of my responses”) and enter your email address.
  3. Click “Submit”. 

The Training Grant Support Office assists faculty in the preparation of institutional training grant applications, including: Data table production involving institution-wide and Training Grant Support Office-tracked data; Proposal development aids; Advice, sharing of best practices, tips and traps; Coordination of special funding/ commitment requests made to The Graduate School in support of the training grant;  and Special training grant-related projects.  Please contact Rebecca Lamarre, Training Grant Support Office Manager, Graduate School Administration ( 


The Office of Research Development offers assistance inidentifying and facilitating collaborations, putting together interdisciplinary teams, programmatic and administrative development of large, cross-school proposals, and leveraging institutional resources for outreach and education. Contact Karen Cielo (, Interim Director, for more information.


Karen Cielo, Interim Director, 847-467-0043,
Limited Submissions web site:

Please visit the ORD website for up to date information on research funding opportunities and resources. Also, follow us on Twitter.  

Categories: Opportunities for Trainees