Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program (NSF 24-529)

Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program (NSF 24-529)

Deadline to Apply: February 20, 2024

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.

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 organizations, and academic partners are encouraged.

The IGE program is dedicated to (a) piloting, testing, and validating innovative approaches to graduate education, and (b) supporting research on the graduate education system and rigorous examination of outcomes associated with systemic graduate education interventions and policies. The IGE program seeks to generate the knowledge required for the customization and implementation of the most successful, transformative approaches.

The goals of the IGE Program are to:

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

The IGE Program calls for proposals in two tracks 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).

The primary beneficiaries for all IGE research projects (Track 1 and Track 2) must be master’s and/or doctoral students in STEM-designated degree programs. Eligible degree programs include research-based STEM master’s and doctoral degree programs, Professional Science Master’s programs and MEng programs with research training but do not include programs that only award certificates or professional degrees [such as Doctor of Audiology (AuD), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Education (DEd), Doctor of Naprapathy (DN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (DScPT), Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Liberal Arts (MLA), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND), Doctor of Optometry (OD), Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), Doctor of Pharmacy, (PharmD), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD)].


With this solicitation, NSF invites proposals for two types of projects (described below):

Track 1: Career Preparation and Student Success Pilots:IGE supports projects that generate knowledge about new, potentially transformative improvements in graduate education and workforce development 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.

Track 1 proposals focus on novel, pilot interventions in a single STEM program or at a single institution benefiting STEM students across multiple graduate programs. Track 1 will also support proposals examining the potential to extend a successful approach developed in one discipline or context to other disciplines or contexts. Examples of topics that Track 1 projects may address include, but are not limited to: student professional skill development; career preparation and vocational counseling; faculty training and faculty professional development; entrepreneurship; experiential and project-based learning; outreach and community engagement; international experiences; virtual networks; pedagogical innovations related to generative AI and large language models; personalized learning; STEM identity and belonging; and mentoring. Projects should address how the proposed approach would serve a broad population of students from diverse backgrounds.

Track 1 proposals may request a total budget (up to three years in duration) between $300,000 and $500,000.

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.

Track 2 proposals may request a total budget (up to five years in duration) up to $1,000,000.

Internal Nomination Process:

Interested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF24-529_2024) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Co-PI’s names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

2. Project Description (no more than two pages, pdf) identify the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

3. 2-page CV’s of Investigators

Formatting Guidelines:

Font/size: No smaller than 11 pt.
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)
Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to