Supplemental funding

Dear Colleague Letter: STEM Workforce Development Utilizing Flexible Personal Learning Environments

Thursday, December 13, 2018

December 4, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks new proposals and supplemental funding requests to existing awards that support flexible personalized learning to prepare the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce of the future. NSF envisions projects that collectively apply to all learners, from young children to those already in the workforce. In particular, we would like to support research that complements an anticipated future funding opportunity made possible by a gift from the Boeing Corporation, which was announced on September 24, 2018 (

The Boeing gift established a partnership between NSF and Boeing to accelerate training in crucial skill areas for the future U.S. workforce. It will be used to support design, development, implementation, and analysis of online courses in model-based engineering, model-based systems engineering, mechatronics, robotics, data science and sensor analytics, program management, and artificial intelligence. These courses will use personalized learning systems to maximize their effectiveness for diverse learners.

There will be two parallel funding opportunities to support STEM workforce preparation. One will be made possible by the Boeing gift and the other involves the efforts funded in response to this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL). For the opportunities in response to this DCL, NSF seeks proposals that will broadly inform development of personalized learning systems or generalize the research results generated during the deployment of online courses. This could be accomplished either by using the data generated by those systems or by studying the systems themselves. NSF encourages innovative educational research and development proposals that will help the nation educate the STEM workforce of the future.

NSF invites proposals to existing programs listed below and requests for supplemental funding to existing awards that engage a convergent science approach ( Such an approach often benefits from interdisciplinary teams representing multiple fields. Such teams can make learning a convergent experience and accomplish learning goals that are not otherwise achievable.

The outcomes of successful proposals responding to this DCL will advance evidence-based understanding of STEM workforce development at any level. Successful proposals will include a well-developed research plan that specifies how the project will strengthen the research base that informs investments in STEM workforce preparation and development. For example, proposals may address topics including, but not limited to:

  • effective design of personalized learning systems for STEM education at any level;
  • factors that increase persistence, motivation, self-efficacy, and retention of learners;
  • the influence of public/private partnerships on workforce preparation;
  • the design of educational interventions that meet workplace expectations for knowledge and competencies; and
  • measuring the effectiveness of these interventions for different audiences.

Proposers are encouraged to leverage current and anticipated future NSF investments (e.g., interdisciplinary research centers, large facilities, funded workforce development projects) as research bases. NSF anticipates that coordinated synergistic efforts are likely to be more fruitful than fragmented individual contributions.


Proposals responding to this DCL should be made through one of the existing NSF programs listed below. Supplemental funding requests responding to this DCL for existing awards in the programs listed below are also welcome. To determine whether a research topic is within the scope of this DCL, principal investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the managing NSF Program Officer(s) of the participating program(s) to which they plan to submit their proposal. These programs include:

For new proposals to ensure proper consideration, principal investigators must refer to this DCL in the overview statement of the Project Summary and in the Project Description. Requests for supplemental funding to existing awards must also include a reference to this DCL. The Project Description or supplemental funding request should also include a brief description about how the project supports flexible personalized learning, thus complementing the work funded by the Boeing gift.

In summary, proposals responding to this DCL:

  1. could be high-risk, but have the potential for high reward;
  2. should include multidisciplinary leadership teams;
  3. will advance evidence-based understanding of STEM workforce development at any level (K-12 through workplace);
  4. must inform development of personalized learning systems or generalize the research results generated during the deployment of those systems;
  5. must include a research plan that will contribute new knowledge about STEM workforce preparation and development;
  6. must be submitted to one of the programs listed in this DCL; and
  7. must comply with the relevant program/solicitation-specific requirements.


For questions about any of the programs listed above, please contact one of the programs officers listed in the respective solicitation. General questions about this Dear Colleague Letter may be addressed to:

  • R. Steven Turley, rturley [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-2207
  • John C. Cherniavsky, jchernia [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-5136
  • David Haury, dhaury [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-5102
  • Ann Rivet, arivet [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-4764
  • Heather Watson, hwatson [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-7091

Dear Colleague Letter: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Supplemental Funding

Monday, October 22, 2018

NSF DCL 19-014

October 18, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

The NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) invites grantees with active CISE awards to submit requests for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Supplemental funding, following the guidelines in the NSF REU program solicitation [see Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): Sites and Supplements; NSF 13-542]. To be eligible for this opportunity, a student must be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US. The duration for new requests is typically one year. The proposed start date for a supplemental funding request must be after the conclusion of all existing REU supplements on the corresponding active CISE award. Priority will be given to supplemental funding requests submitted before March 30, 2019; the potential for funding requests after this date will be limited. If requests for REU supplemental support exceed funds available in CISE, requests will be considered in the order received. REU supplemental funds can be used at any time during the year.

Annual and final project reports for an award that receives an REU supplement should provide brief descriptions of activities, impacts, and outcomes (including the number of support-months for each student) associated with the REU supplemental support.

REU stipend support helps encourage talented students to pursue research-based careers, while providing meaningful research experiences. The participation of students from groups underrepresented in computing - underrepresented minorities, women, and persons with disabilities - is strongly encouraged. To this end, principal investigators (PIs) submitting REU supplemental funding requests are directed to the CISE Dear Colleague Letter encouraging meaningful actions in support of broadening participation in computing [see Pursuing Meaningful Actions in Support of Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC); NSF 17-110]. In addition, CISE encourages submission of REU supplemental funding requests that specifically afford US veterans an opportunity to engage in meaningful research experiences.

Nature of support

For single-investigator projects, CISE REU supplemental funding requests should be for no more than two students for one year. Support for additional students can be requested as part of these supplemental funding requests if these students are from underrepresented groups, and the selected students are identified in the supplemental funding request. Research teams funded through multi-investigator projects may request support for a larger number of students, commensurate with the size and nature of their projects, with proportional additional support for students from underrepresented groups. Requests for larger numbers of students should be accompanied by detailed justifications.

CISE provides up to $8,000 per student per year through an REU supplement (this amount usually covers the student's stipend, but a small portion of the funds can be used for other related purposes, e.g., student travel to a conference). As described in the REU program solicitation (NSF 13-542), indirect costs (F&A) are not allowed on participant support costs in REU Site or Supplement budgets.

CISE REU supplemental funding requests must describe results of any previous such support, such as students supported, papers published, and student placements. Other factors influencing supplemental funding decisions include the number of REU requests received by CISE programs, and in the case of multiple submissions by a single PI, the ability to provide adequate mentoring.

How to apply

PIs are encouraged to refer to the REU program solicitation (NSF 13-542) for detailed information concerning submission requirements. As described above and in that solicitation, each REU supplemental funding request should include the following information in the "Summary of Proposed Work" section, except as noted below:

  • A description of the research to be performed by the student, and how the student will benefit from the overall REU experience;
  • The PI's prior experience, if any, supervising REU students, including papers published and student placements, along with the status of prior REU supplements received on the corresponding award;
  • A description of the mentoring that the student will receive as part of the REU experience;
  • The relationship of the REU supplemental funding request to the original award;
  • Information about how students, including from underrepresented groups, will be recruited;
  • A statement acknowledging that all students to be funded will be US citizens or permanent residents; and
  • Specifics about the REU request - duration, stipend rates, period of REU experience, and travel justification (if any) (include in the "Justification for Supplement" section).

Since a supplemental funding request is handled by the cognizant NSF program officer that oversees the active award for which the request is submitted, grantees should contact the cognizant NSF program officers of their awards if they have questions or need additional information.


Jim Kurose
Assistant Director
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)
National Science Foundation