NSF Mentoring Requirements for New Proposals

NSF Mentoring Requirements for New Proposals

The National Science Foundation Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide includes the requirement for postdoctoral mentoring plans to be included in all research proposals requesting funding to support postdocs. These are to be described in a one page supplementary document (see Chapter II, Section C, 2j) and will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criteria (see Chapter III, Section A).

Proposals that do NOT include a section on mentoring activities will be returned without review.

Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to:

    • career counseling
    • training in preparation of grant proposals
    • publications and presentations
    • guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills
    • guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas
    • training in responsible professional practices

Investigators may seek to identify local resources and activities that provide mentoring opportunities (i.e. laboratory meetings and seminars, periodic individual meetings, participation in manuscript and grant proposal/preparation, etc.)

Mentoring Resources

Research Development provides a variety of workshops on and one-on-one consultation in identifying funding opportunities and preparing grant proposals.

Mason offers informal and formal activities for postdocs to improve their teaching and mentoring skills through the Center for Teaching Excellence including workshops for new instructors, classroom observations, one-on-one consultation, and the annual Innovations in Teaching and Learning Symposium.

Mason provides the Collaborative Institutes Training Initiative (CITI) online training course for the responsible conduct of research (RCR). Topics covered include mentor/trainee responsibilities, research misconduct, authorship and responsible publishing, etc. The course is available on the Research Development homepage.

The Responsible Conduct of Research Committee (RCRC) Resources for Research Ethics Educationpage provides a broad overview of specific research ethics issues including the background, ethical issues and summary of the important points of each area. It also provides lists of additional resources, cases (for most topics) and surveys (for some topics).

The National Digital Library for Ethics in Science and Engineering’s beta site is a digital repository of materials on ethics and the responsible and ethical conduct of research in science and engineering, including the social sciences. It was developed in response to the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act.

The National Academy of Engineering Online Ethics Center provides resources for the exploration of issues in the responsible conduct of research among students, postdoctoral fellows and research fellows in a modular course in research ethics as well as providing case studies and commentaries written by graduate students and postdocs.

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has created a Compact between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors, which is “intended to initiate discussions …about the postdoctoral appointee-mentor relationship and the commitments necessary for a high quality postdoctoral training experience.” The AAMC suggests various ways it can be used in order to create mutual expectations for training between postdocs and their mentors.

An annual review and an Individual Development Plan for Postdoctoral Fellows(.pdf) developed by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) provides a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives.

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity provides an extensive listing of a wide variety of RCR resources.