Improving Graduate Student Preparedness for Entering the Workforce

NSF 16-067

Dear Colleague Letter: Improving Graduate Student Preparedness for Entering the Workforce, Opportunities for Supplemental Support

April 15, 2016

Dear Colleague:

NSF has identified improvement in graduate student preparedness for entering the workforce ( as one of its Agency Priority Goals. As part of this goal, supplemental funding is available in FY 2016 and FY 2017 to support science and engineering doctoral students so that they can acquire the knowledge, experience, and skills needed for highly productive careers, inside and outside of academe. NSF currently invests in a number of graduate student preparedness activities, and has historically encouraged investigators to include such activities in proposals. This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) describes a variety of opportunities across the Foundation designed to explore approaches that will position NSF-funded graduate students for success in the 21st century Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce.

NSF will consider support for supplements to existing research awards to enhance professional development opportunities for students in PhD programs as described by each Directorate/Office. These descriptions can be found here. Interested investigators should contact the cognizant program officers listed on the opportunities. Enhanced experience supplements will enable single/collaborative awardees to request appropriate levels of additional support for existing graduate students to acquire professional development experience that will broaden avenues for entering the workforce. These supplements would provide graduate students with the opportunity to augment their research assistantships, and in some cases fellowships and traineeships, with additional "mentoring" activities and short-term training opportunities. Enhanced activities supplements will be available to existing, larger institution-level, "center-like" activities to support cohorts of graduate students with the goal of developing new "best practice activities" for enhancing graduate student preparedness for entering the workforce.

The title for each supplemental request must begin with "APG:" and must be submitted as a Supplemental Funding Request in FastLane.


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