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Dependable Data Driven Discovery Traineeship Handbook

This handbook provides general guidance to the NRT-D4 Graduate Traineeship program. For specific questions, please address them to

Document - July 2023

Welcome to the NRT-D4 Graduate Traineeship program at Iowa State University!

This student handbook provides guidance about important issues related to your participation in the program. For general information on graduate studies at Iowa State University, visit your program of study graduate handbook or the Graduate College website. 

We are honored to have you participating in the program. Dependable Data Driven Discovery (D4) is one of many NSF's graduate traineeship programs in the United States, and we hope you will receive all that is intended in designing the program. We also encourage you to bring questions and comments to the NRT-D4 leadership team at any time. 

Dependable Data Driven Discovery Leadership Team:

Wallapak Tavanapong - Lead PI

Dept: Computer Science


Office: 515-294-2987


Dan Nettleton - Co-PI

Dept: Statistics


Office: 515-294-7754


Hridesh Rajan - Co-PI

Dept: Computer Science


Office: 515-294-6168


Eric Weber - Co-PI

Dept: Mathematics


Office: 515-294-8142


Surya Mallapragada Co-PI

Dept: Chemical & Biological Engineering


Office: 515-294-7407


Iddo Friedberg

Dept: Bioinformatics


Office: 515-294-5959


Baskar Ganapathysubramanian

Dept: Mechanical Engineering


Office: 515-294-7442


Qi Li

Dept: Computer Science




Because the Dependable Data Driven Discovery graduate traineeship program continually seeks to improve, changes may occur in this handbook. The Dependable Data Driven Discovery website will have the most up-to-date version.

Direct general questions to the Dependable Data Driven Discovery program coordinator:

Candi Patras


Office: 515-294-3360



Collaboration Space:

Graduate Certificate:


Graduate Learning Community:

Small - Group

Chairing Meetings:

NSF guidelines & requirements:

NSS Requirements & Evaluations:

NSF Acknowledgement Guidelines:

Annual Progress Report: 

Social Media:

Collaboration Space:

The D4 collaboration space is located at 123 Atanasoff Hall. You have access to the space from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. for informal meetings. 

Graduate Certificate:


Graduate Learning Community:


The purpose of the small group is:

to form an interdisciplinary community that is prepared to explore and engage in collaborations

obtain leadership skills through chairing meetings & setting agendas

learn professional development skills through training

develop and enhance communication skills

Chairing Meetings

Using a rotation, each trainee will be responsible for chairing the meetings, which may include setting the agenda, timekeeping, icebreaker, and presenting one news/information piece, science-related or not. 

NSF Guidelines and Requirements

NSF Requirements and Evaluations

The National Science Foundation (NSF) monitors the program through a comprehensive performance assessment and project evaluation plan. The evaluation plan was built around project goals and designed to assess effectiveness and impact and provide indicators for corrective action to enhance outcomes.  Therefore, throughout the year, various short surveys will be conducted and used to adjust programming. Of course, you are always welcome to make suggestions.

In 2022, NSF instituted an additional requirement for the students - requesting participants to provide feedback as part of the annual reporting requirements. Each year around May, you will receive an email from NSF requesting your input. 

NSF Acknowledgement Guidelines

If papers that you publish or presentations that you give at conferences feature research that you conducted, in part or in full, while supported by the NSF NRT Dependable Data Driven Discovery (D4) Traineeship program, it is crucial to credit the National Science Foundation. Even if the NSF award did not provide direct financial support for the execution of your research (e.g., costs of fieldwork or lab analyses), the stipend provided support for your time while completing your work and, therefore, should be acknowledged. 

Annual Progress Report


The information from the report will be incorporated into Dependable Data Driven Discovery's annual report to the NSF. Annual reports, sometimes call performance reports, are standard procedures for many professionals in academia, government, & industry. The information allows you to review the past year's accomplishments and can be a time to update your CV. Or, if your CV is updated already, it can be used to populate the annual report.


All trainees must complete a progress report annually. The reporting period will be from August 15th of the past year through August 14th of the current year. 


The report is due on June 1st of each year. And should include any predicted activity through August 15th.

General Guidelines for Progress Report

Assume that an outside agency/department/VPR office may not know all the acronyms or specific programs within your department. Spell everything out. 

Give as much detail as possible - dates, funds, agencies, cooperators, even a website address. Maintaining a detailed document will benefit you throughout your career.