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  1. Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research through IGERT: Integrative Graduate Research and Traineeship Program Ram M. K. Ramasubramanian, PhD Program Director

  2. Educational Paradigms • The challenges of educating 21st Century scientists, mathematicians, and engineers mandate a new paradigm in science and engineering graduate education.

  3. Today’s Research Trends • Research interdisciplinary • Work across disciplines • Research collaborative • Teamwork • Research varied settings • Preparation for varied careers • Research global • International activities and experiences

  4. Skills set - technical, Professional & Personal • Discovery and Innovation. Skills include fundamental research, technical training with broad intellectual content, problem-formulation and problem-solving. • Intellectual Integration. Knowledge-integration skills include inter- and multidisciplinary research, systems research and real-world problems, cross intellectual boundaries, and the skills necessary to work in teams and to teach others. • Knowledge Transfer. Skills encompass communication, education, and publication, together with linkages to industry and national laboratories.

  5. Skills set-technical, Professional & Personal 4.Tools. Skills address computational science and scientific modeling, together with language skills and knowledge of international cultures. 5. Professional Responsibility. Openness and intellectual integrity, and the values and goals appropriate for knowledge in the service of society.

  6. IGERT Program Goals • The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program has been developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers who will pursue careers in research and education, with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become, in their own careers, leaders and creative agents for change.

  7. IGERT Program Goals • The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education, for students, faculty, and institutions, by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.

  8. IGERT Program Goals • It is also intended to facilitate diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to a world-class, broadly inclusive, and globally engaged science and engineering workforce.

  9. IGERT Awards Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) • Dual focus on a transformative interdisciplinary research theme and an aligned innovative educational plan for US PhD students • Awards to institutions ($3-3.2M/5 years); senior PIs • Recent competitions have > 400 pre-proposals, ~20 awards (5%) • Since 1997: • 240 awards • 110 different lead institutions • 43 states, DC, and Puerto Rico • ~25 trainees/award, typically supported 2 years/each • ~5,200 PhD students have been supported • Intended to catalyze sustainable institutional change in graduate education for the training of future scientific research workforce

  10. Support Level • 5-year awards • Up to $600K per year • Up to $200K additional in the first year for equipment, special materials, or methodologies, part of the total $600K • Additional International Training Component $50K per year for years 2-5 • Indirect limitation: 8% of total direct costs excluding equipment and COE • Graduate student stipend $30,000, Cost of education expenses $10,500 • 20 new awards anticipated for the 2010 competition.

  11. IGERT Program Characteristics • Interdisciplinary theme plus disciplinary depth • Emerging research area • Innovative models for graduate education • Broaden participation • Catalyze a cultural change in graduate education • For graduate students • For faculty • For institutions

  12. The Value of Interdisciplinary Research • To faculty: • Funding • NIH recognizes multiple PIs • NSF has collaborative submission process • Universities considering tenure and promotion policies • To academia: • Research institutes • To industry: • Practical problem-solving

  13. Some Features of IGERT • Encourages experiments that may result in changes of existing models for Graduate Education • Emphasizes a type of Counter-Cultural Research and Education Experiment • Provides a substantial increase in resources for enhanced impact • Provides a framework wherein institutions, through PIs, can propose programs with enough flexibility to accommodate students’ desire to design an education plan to match his/her career goals • Provides a means for program performance assessment

  14. How do you build an IGERT?

  15. IGERT Dissemination of innovative education activities Communicate research to non-science audience Outreach Recruiting Broadening participation Retention Global awareness Innovative, integrated education plan Industry internships Professional skills Ethics and RCR Teamwork Cutting-edge, interdisciplinary, STEM research

  16. Some IGERT Interdisciplinary Themes • Smart sensors and integrated devices • Biosphere-atmosphere research • Molecularly designed materials • Assistive technology • Sequential decision-making • Urban ecology • Astrobiology • Alternate Energy • Nanotechnology

  17. IGERT Proposal Characteristics • Senior PI • Co-PI from other departments and colleges • Faculty Participants, up to 20, from various disciplines relevant to the research theme • Strong Institutional Support • Not necessarily $ • Institutionalization plan and support • Facilitating curricular changes • Strong support for broadening participation • Strong letters of support from partners

  18. IGERT Proposal Characteristics • Research themes and thrust areas very clearly and concisely articulated • Identification of academic preparation needed for PhD students to be successful • Strong and well thought out educational plan indicating curricular development • Description of new courses and development plans • Strong Mentoring plan • Attention to detail on degree requirements across disciplinary boundaries

  19. IGERT Examples IGERT: Nanotechnology University of Washington PI: Marjorie Olmstead Education achievement: America’s first PhD program in Nanotechnology IGERT: Marine Sustainability University of Alaska PI: Ginny Eckert Goal: Double the # of Alaskan Native PhD Graduates from UAF

  20. Theme: Environmental Change and Implications for Humanity Dartmouth: Polar Environmental Change George Washington University: Dynamics of Behavioral Shifts in Human Evolution: Brains, Bodies, and Ecology UCSD: Marine Biodiversity: Understanding Threats and Providing Solutions

  21. Theme: Clean Energy and Engineering Processes • Texas Tech University: Wind Science and Engineering University of Delaware: Sustainable Energy from Solar Hydrogen

  22. Nanoscale Science in IGERT • 24 active awards including 4 renewals directly focused on Nanoscale Science • Nanoscale Science in • Biology • Devices and machines • Electronics • Fabrication • Laminates • Materials; Biomaterials • Medical • Particles • Pharmaceutical • Photonics • Probes

  23. Cornell (3) Drexel University Johns Hopkins University Northeastern University Ohio State University Rutgers University (3) Tuskegee University UC-Berkeley UC-Los Angeles (2) University of Massachusetts Amherst University of New Mexico (2) University of South Dakota University of Texas Austin University of Utah (2) University of Washington Vanderbilt University William Marsh Rice University Universities with Nanoscale Science related IGERTs

  24. Educational Features of IGERT Projects • New curricula • Interdisciplinary courses, laboratories, seminars, often team-taught • Student-taught interdisciplinary courses • Distance learning, videoconferencing • New integrative experiences • “boot camps,” workshops, retreats • Team projects and teamwork exercises • Student-lead and -organized meetings • Laboratory rotations; co-advising • Internships • Industry, national laboratory, research institute • International

  25. Further Educational Features of IGERT Projects • Communications training • K-12, general public, government • Ethics and responsible conduct of research • Tailored to IGERT topic • IP, patents, business plans • Professional development • Activities for broadening participation

  26. Examples of Nanoscale Science Courses • Fundamental Physics and Chemistry of Nanomaterials; Interfacial Phenomena in Nanostructured Materials (Johns Hopkins U.) • Nanosystems Design for Biology and Medicine (Northeastern U.) • Nanotechnology: From Lab to Product (U. Mass Amherst) • Nanotechnology-Based Drug Delivery (Rutgers U.) • Frontiers in Nanotechnology (U. Washington) • Quantum Engineering of Nanostructures (U. Texas at Austin) • Nanoscale Materials; Molecular Modeling of Polymers and Nanocomposites (Tuskegee U.) • Imaging Nanostructures and Nanoparticles; Finite Element Analysis for Nanostructures (modules, Cornell University) • Biomedical Applications of Colloidal Nanocrystals (U. of New Mexico)

  27. Examples of Credentials • Certificates, minors, concentrations • Certificate program in Nanotechnology (Drexel-U. Pennsylvania) • Certificate program in Biomedical Science and Engineering with Concentration in Nanotechnology (U. New Mexico) • Designated Emphasis in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (UC Berkeley) • Dual degree programs • Home department and Nanotechnology (U. Washington) • Doctoral programs • Ph.D. in Nanoscience and Microsystems (U. New Mexico)

  28. IGERT Partnerships • Within universities: between faculty, departments, schools, colleges • Between universities: • Leverage resources • Broaden participation • Outside academia • National laboratories and research institutes • Industry • International universities and institutions • At the funding agency level • IGERT is a cross-cutting program

  29. IGERT Evaluation StudyInitial Impacts • Both IGERT and non-IGERT samples of first three cohorts (1998-2000) • Graduate Students • Faculty • Administrators • Benefits and Challenges for All

  30. Current Evaluation • Next three cohorts of IGERT • Trainee post-graduation follow-up • Follow up study nearing completion. Report will be published shortly.


  32. Find Out More About IGERT • • Searchable site maintained by grantee • • IGERT home page at NSF • Program solicitation • Video presentation • • Impacts of IGERT evaluation • • IGERT 2006-2007 Annual Report

  33. Program Goals • Graduate Students • Communication, Leadership, Team building • K-12 Education • Enhanced Teaching and Learning • Higher Education • Transform Graduate Programs Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12)

  34. Ten Year Numbers • Annual Budget $55+ Million • GK-12 has made 276 awards at 144 institutions. • Funded 5,623 Graduate Fellows. • Provided resources for 9,473 K-12 Teachers, working in 4,732 different schools. • 687,594 K-12 Students have been impacted by GK-12. Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12)

  35. GK-12 Projects: National Distribution Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12)

  36. Participant Support (including travel) >=70% Funding Amount K-12 Teachers Graduate Students • $5,000 stipend • $30,000 Stipend • $10,500 Cost of Education $600,000 (Per Year, for 5 Years) Indirect Costs External Project Evaluator • Up to 2.5% of total Direct Costs • 8% of total direct costs Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12)

  37. Types of Institutions Location of K-12 Schools Institutions Receiving Awards Number Percent K-12 grade levels Percent Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12)

  38. NSF Supported STEM Disciplines Number of Fellows in Specific Disciplines (2008) n = 865 Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12)

  39. Eligibility • Lead academic institution must be in the United States or its territories and grant masters or doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines supported by the NSF • Principal Investigator(PI) must be a STEM discipline faculty member actively conducting STEM research at lead institution • One proposal may be submitted per institution • Institutions having an active or past GK-12 project are eligible, but must coordinate evaluation efforts; • Must be a new proposal, clarify what are the differences between the new and existing or past ones Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12)