Requesting a supplement to an existing NSF or NIH grant is a simple process, and can be used to fund students, teachers, conferences, and additional research. In addition to regular supplements, there are also two specific types to be aware of – REUs and RETs.
An REU Supplement* allows for undergraduate student support as part of a new NSF-funded research project or one still in progress. Centers or large research efforts may also request support for a number of students corresponding to the needs of the project. These supplements are supported throughout NSF by the numerous research programs among the Foundation, including the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Investigators are encouraged to consult with the Office of Undergraduate Research to develop a budget, receive assistance on budget justification language, and request text to enhance the Supplement proposal. It is especially helpful for investigators to consult with the Office if they wish to use funding for a visiting summer student, as there are a number of additional expenses that should be anticipated and justified prior to submission. Proposals can be enhanced with inclusion of opportunities, experiences, and evaluation coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research. Students supported on REU Supplements are expected to have their own research project related to the NSF-funded project. Supplements should not be used to hire students in support roles.
*Please note that an NSF REU Supplement is different than an NSF REU Site. A REU Site program is a stand-alone grant proposal for the sole purpose of funding 8 to 12 undergraduates to conduct research (usually full time in the summer) with a themed cluster of faculty members. Most of the budget for a REU Site Program should be for direct support of the undergraduate students – it should not be viewed as a funding source for faculty support, equipment, or consumable research supplies. The annual deadline for REU Site proposals is at the end of the summer. The Office of Undergraduate Research is eager to partner with faculty to propose and implement REU Site programs.
RET Supplements are backed by the research programs within the directorates of the ENG and CISE. A RET Supplement may be part of a new ENG or CISE proposal, renewal grant, or cooperative agreement. It may also be submitted later as a supplement to a continuing award. The RET activity should express a clear description, in detail, regarding the form and nature of the prospective collaborator’s involvement (i.e. prospective teacher and/or community college faculty) in the proposed research.