Washington Update

NSF Announces New Mentoring Requirements for Graduate Students

By: Nabila Riaz
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
On April 23rd, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) co-hosted a webinar to introduce NSF’s new graduate student mentoring requirements for grants submitted on or after May 22, 2024. The webinar aimed to assist principal investigators in understanding and responding to NSF's updated guidelines on graduate student mentoring plans and individual development plans (IDPs) for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. These requirements are outlined in the agency’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (NSF 24-1)

Key takeaways include:
  • Mentoring plans must be submitted as a component of the proposal, limited to one page, and should outline the mentoring to be provided to all postdoctoral scholars or graduate students supported by the project.
  • Mentoring plans can encompass various aspects, including career development, proposal preparation, publication strategies, presentation skills, teaching opportunities, mentorship experience, collaboration in diverse teams, and adherence to responsible professional practices.
  • Each postdoctoral scholar and graduate student receiving substantial support from an NSF award must have an IDP, which should be updated annually. According to the webinar, “substantial” is defined as equivalent to at least one “person month” per year and includes a stipend and/or tuition.
  • Principal investigators are required to certify the IDPs in both annual and final project reports (PAPPG VII.D.1.b(iv)).
The recording of the webinar is now accessible on CGS's website and YouTube channel.