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Faculty FAQ

Faculty FAQ's

What is Dependable Data Driven Discovery (D4)?

Dependable Data Driven Discovery (D4) is a National Research Traineeship (NRT) Program, funded by a five-year NSF grant from September 2022   It is an interdepartmental opportunity open to MS or Ph.D. students in Computer Science, Mathematics, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Statistics, Bioinformatics, Mechanical Engineering. The Traineeship activities begin in August 2023. 

 How can I support this program? 

  • Encourage MS/Ph.D. students to apply for the Traineeship and encourage domestic Ph.D. students to apply for the Trainee Scholarship.  Approval by the major professor is required for participation in the Traineeship and your recommendation letter is part of the application for the Trainee Scholarship. 
  • Become a Faculty Mentor by offering small group or workshop presentations and participation. 

 What is required from me if my student participates? 

If you have a participating student, you will be requested to participate in the external evaluation of D4’s objectives, through surveys or phone interviews. You will be expected to be supportive of your student’s participation in all required components of the Traineeship (see below). 

 How can mentoring a D4 Trainee benefit me? 

  • It will help your students with their professional development, communication skills, and a wider perspective on their research with practical data analysis and decision tools. 
  • It will provide a “Professional Development” component to include in research proposals. 
  • You and your student will have opportunities for interdisciplinary exchanges, with the potential of resulting in expanded research collaboration and funding opportunities 

Why would my students want to participate, if they do not qualify for a stipend? 

The NSF has identified that STEM training needs to include cross-discipline interactions, communication, and professional development.  For the 21st-century employers are looking for people who can bridge multiple disciplines and are prepared to communicate with a multitude of stakeholders.  In addition, the research needed to address modern society requires professionals who have training across STEM and social sciences.  The NSF NRT solicitation states it best: 

– there is increasing recognition that addressing the grand challenges in science and engineering requires interdisciplinary and convergent approaches, as well as broader professional training that is atypical for most graduate programs.  NSF 19-522 

Why does NSF fund Traineeships vs Research? 

In recent years NSF has focused on preparing new scientists who can communicate across disciplines and with the general public. The NRT program seeks to catalyze and advance cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and prepare STEM graduate students more effectively for multiple research and research-related career paths. 

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate education training.  NSF 19-522 

The NRT program addresses 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 centers, and academic partners are encouraged. NSF 19-522