NSF Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program

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  • Anywhere
  • Applications have closed

Website National Science Foundation (NSF)

With this solicitation, the IGE program will support proposals in two tracks: Track 1: Career Preparation and Student Success Pilots and Track 2: Systemic Interventions and Policies. Under Track 1, the IGE program will continue to invite proposals to pilot, test, and validate innovative approaches to graduate education with an emphasis on career preparation and student success. Track 2 is new with a primary goal to support research on how various systemic innovations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate education impact graduate student outcomes (such as graduation rates, retention, employment, etc.).

The Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program is designed to encourage development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative approaches to STEM graduate education training. The program seeks proposals that a) explore ways for graduate students in STEM master’s and doctoral degree programs to develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers, or b) support research on the graduate education system and outcomes of systemic interventions and policies.

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

Goals of the IGE Program are to:

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

The IGE Program calls for proposals to:

  • Design, pilot, and test new, innovative and transformative approaches for inclusive STEM graduate education (Track 1);
  • Examine the impact of innovative systemic policies, procedures, and interventions on graduate education outcomes (Track 2);
  • Examine the potential to extend a successful approach developed in one discipline or context to other disciplines or contexts (Tracks 1 and 2);
  • Develop approaches that are informed by learning science and the existing body of knowledge about STEM graduate education (Tracks 1 and 2).

Funding Level and Award Information

IGE Track 1 Awards (6 to 10 anticipated in FY 2024) are expected to be up to three (3) years in duration with a total budget between $300,000 and $500,000.

IGE Track 2 Awards (6 to 12 anticipated in FY 2024) are expected to be up to five (5) years in duration with a total budget up to $1,000,000.

  • Track 2: Systemic Interventions and Policies: IGE Track 2 awards support research projects that are expected to generate knowledge about the graduate education system and outcomes of systemic intervention and policies. IGE Track 2 projects may be implemented at different scales: within a field of study across multiple institutions and programs; across multiple fields of study within a single institution; or across multiple institutions and fields of study. Specifically encouraged are proposals that address one of the following six areas:
  1. Funding models and funding mechanisms with a priority emphasis on studies on the effects of traineeships, fellowships, internships, and teaching and research assistantships on graduate student outcomes addressing differences by sex, race, ethnicity, and citizenship and student debt load.
  2. Graduate student mental health and wellbeing with a priority emphasis on projects that include research, data collection, and assessment of the state of graduate student mental health and wellbeing, factors contributing to and consequences of poor graduate student mental health, and the development, adaptation, and assessment of evidence-based strategies and policies to support emotional wellbeing and mental health.
  3. Mentoring policies, procedures, and models with a priority emphasis on studies of effects of graduate education and mentoring policies and procedures on degree completion, including differences by (i) sex, race and ethnicity, and citizenship; and (ii) student debt load.
  4. Graduate research environments and teams with a priority emphasis on proposals to study differences in graduate research environments (e.g., academic, industry, government, hybrid; place-based; team vs. independent; formal and informal social supports) and associated outcomes or develop and assess new or adapted interventions, including approaches that improve mentoring relationships, develop conflict management skills, and promote healthy research teams;
  5. Inclusive recruitment, admissions, retention, and completion strategies including, but not limited to, studies of the impact of previously implemented and/or new innovations in policies or other interventions designed to broaden participation in STEM graduate education of students who are members of groups underrepresented in the STEM workforce; and
  6. Credentialing and degree milestones including, but not limited to, studies assessing the impact of systemic innovations in graduate degree milestones, micro-credentials, stackable credentials, and competency-based approaches on graduate education outcomes such as student recruitment, retention, completion, skills development, and employment readiness.


An eligible organization may participate in two Innovations in 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. 

Interested applicants should submit (via the UCI Review application system) the following by Thursday, February 15th:

  • Project Summary (no more than 3 pages) identifying the IGE Track being pursued, and outlining the proposed development of potentially transformative approaches to STEM graduate education (Track 1), or the research project being proposed (Track 2).
  • Brief CV (no more than 3 pages) from the project PI, and from key Co-PIs.

If necessary, an ad hoc committee will then be convened to review the internal applications, and the selected candidates will be notified during the week of March 4, 2024.  This will give candidates ample time to develop full proposals to meet the NSF deadline of March 25, 2024.

Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to the Director of Research Development, Mike Gallo at magallo@uci.edu .

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