U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
National Nuclear Security Administration
Office of International Nuclear Safeguards
Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards Graduate Fellowship Program
Deadline for Applications for 2017-2017
February 1, 2017
Awards Announced May 2017
The University of South Carolina Aiken (USCA), Sponsored Research Office through a Cooperative Agreement with the South Carolina Universities Research and Education Foundation (SCUREF)
This program description was prepared under Grant Number DE-NE0000393 between the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Next Generation Safeguards Initiative and South Carolina Universities Research and Education Foundation.
The Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of International Nuclear Safeguards (OINS) is a comprehensive, multi-million dollar program dedicated to developing the policies, concepts, technologies, expertise, infrastructure, and human capital necessary to sustain and enhance international nuclear safeguards. DOE/NNSA is the principle federal sponsor of the Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards (NNIS) Graduate Fellowship Program.
Increasing costs for graduate education and demand for employees with bachelor’s degrees in nuclear-related science and engineering has reduced the number of qualified students seeking advanced degrees in those fields. Simultaneously, demand for Ph.Ds. in the radiopharmaceutical, nuclear power, defense, and waste management industries means that fewer scientists and engineers with advanced degrees are available to pursue careers in nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards.
This fellowship provides financial support for exceptional students pursuing technical doctoral research relevant to the field of international safeguards. Participating universities foster partnerships between science/engineering programs and programs focused on nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards policy. Armed with both deep technical expertise and policy understanding, NNIS Fellows are primed to take on the exciting and challenging work of international nuclear safeguards.
The objective of the NNIS Graduate Fellowship is to identify and educate highly trained scientists and engineers to take on the challenges and opportunities of international nuclear safeguards. NNIS fellows must demonstrate the safeguards-impact of their funded research, and an intent to pursue a career that will positively contribute to the international safeguards regime. To that end, applications shall describe:
- The potential safeguards impact of their research. For example, will research results enhance the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) technical capabilities, or improve safeguards approaches? Why does this matter? The best applications will link research proposals to priorities identified in the IAEA Long-Term Safeguards R&D plan, or other indications of IAEA and/or United States Government (USG) safeguards interest/concern.
- The specific existing or future technical safeguards challenge that the research addresses. For example, if research intends to improve containment/surveillance (C/S) capabilities, how specifically will that be achieved? By designing a more sensitive monitor? Improving telemetry? Developing a new material for use in tamper-evident seals?
- The dearth of viable fixes to the technical challenge(s) they propose to address.
This fellowship is open to all U.S. Citizens about to enroll in, or currently enrolled in a qualified course of study at a participating university (see technical areas) with at least one full year of graduate work remaining at the beginning of September 2017. Candidates with dual citizenship must notify USCA. It is the policy of DOE and its program administrators, the South Carolina Universities Research and Education Foundation (SCUREF) and the University of South Carolina Aiken (USCA), to recruit and nominate participants without regard to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, or special disabled or veteran status.
The current competition cycle for this program is from November 2016 – February 2017. The USCA Sponsored Research Office must receive all parts of the application by February 1, 2017. GRE scores are required for a complete application. Scores earned before November 2007 will not be accepted. USCA will not process late and/or incomplete applications. Please include the fellowship program name on all correspondence.
A complete application includes the following components:
- Application Form
- Three (3) References
- Official Transcripts (undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be sent directly from the university registrar)
- GRE scores (GRE code 5949 – scores must be sent directly from ETS)
Forms are located at www.scuref.org/forms under the NNIS tab. Applicants should submit all materials electronically through the SCUREF website. If you are unable to submit the application electronically, please contact Nicole Huchet at (843) 793-1079, email@example.com.
Programs at Participating Universities
Fellowship awardees are required to attend a university participating in the NNIS Fellowship program. To become a participating university, interested faculty members must submit an application, which can be found on www.scuref.org/forms under the NNIS tab. Universities selected to participate in the program will have demonstrated a commitment to advancing nuclear nonproliferation international safeguards education and creating a sustainable academic program. The list of participating universities and university fellowship coordinators is provided on the right side of this web page. Interested fellowship applicants may contact any fellowship coordinator directly for detailed information related to the university’s nuclear nonproliferation international safeguards program.
Fellowship appointment is contingent upon acceptance into an approved program at a participating university. The initial fellowship appointment is for a 12-month period, typically renewable for up to a total of 48 months for Doctoral candidates, and 24 months for Master’s candidates. Further extensions will be considered on a case by case basis. Prorated for previously completed graduate work, appointment may be shorter than the maximum allowable number of months. Fellows must be enrolled fulltime at an approved university, working towards the degree described in their application throughout their fellowship period. During the summer months, fellows conduct relevant research, enroll in summer classes, complete a practicum assignment, or do a combination of any of these activities.
Terms of Appointment
Each fellow must agree to the terms and conditions of appointment delineated in their appointment letter and elsewhere. This includes agreement to pursue the course of study and research described in their application, participate in at least one summer practicum, and entertain DOE/DOE contractor employment opportunities. Fellows must inform USCA of their current addresses and any address changes, and must complete any evaluation/assessment questionnaires sent by USCA for program information and/or evaluation during the fellowship and for 5 years after the end of their fellowship.
Fellowships are reviewed for renewal annually. A renewal form and official transcripts must be submitted to USCA by February 1 of each year. All awards and renewals are subject to the continuing availability of funding.
Fellows are required to participate in one 3+ month practicum at a designated DOE/NNSA facility. Fellows typically complete their practicums during the summer and select a practicum that can be used to support their thesis research. Fellows are responsible for securing their own practicum appointments by contacting the appropriate laboratory coordinator, and completing a practicum request form located on http://www.scuref.org/forms. A list of practicum locations and coordinators can be found on the right side of this web page. In certain cases, practicum assignments may be approved at European Union designated laboratories. Please contact the USCA Sponsored Research Office at (843)793-1079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Fellows may be required to apply for security clearance upon acceptance of a practicum appointment at a DOE/NNSA facility or an affiliated federal agency.
Evaluation of Applications
Applicants are responsible to ensure that his or her application is complete. After the application deadline, USCA will distribute the NNIS applications to an independent panel for review. The review panel is composed of university, DOE/NNSA, and national laboratory personnel directly responsible for instruction and/or research in the international safeguards and nuclear nonproliferation fields. The DOE/NNSA program sponsor reviews the applications and the panel’s recommendations and approves the final selection.
Applications are evaluated based on academic performance, relevant coursework, GRE scores, demonstrated commitment to the field of international nuclear safeguards, and references. Other factors, including geographical criteria safeguards human capital needs are also considered. The number of fellowships awarded annually is contingent on the number of fellows graduating from the program and the availability of funds.
After the DOE/NNSA approves the award recipients, USCA notifies applicants of their award status. Notification usually occurs in May. USCA is responsible for the daily administration of the NNIS on behalf of the program sponsors, and assists fellows and universities with questions regarding stipends, payment of tuition and fees, practicum assignments, travel, and related issues.
The maximum value of any individual award, including stipend, tuition and fees, and summer practicum, is $50,000/yr.
Fellows receive a monthly stipend of nor more than $2,200. Fellows will also receive a Dislocation Allowance of $500 (prorated) while on a practicum assignment.
The DOE/NNSA attempts to provide adequate funding to its fellowship participants to meet the cost of graduate school, but other awards, prizes, and similar payments (including veteran’s benefits) that do not require a product or service may be accepted. UCSA must be informed in advance if a fellow plans to accept a research assistantship or other employment. Payment received for such employment may result in an equivalent deduction from the fellow’s stipend. USCA reserves the right to withdraw the fellowship if the fellow receives compensation without notifying USCA as to the nature and extent of any payment.
Tuition and Fees
USCA pays tuition and fees directly to the participating university upon receipt of invoice. Optional, refundable, and penalty fees (such as late registration and duplication fees) are not payable by USCA. Health insurance fees will be paid by USCA only if they are required for all enrolled. All tuition and fee charges must be certified consistent with those made to regular graduate students and necessary for enrollment into the graduate program. In no case will the annual cost of tuition, fees, and stipend exceed $50,000.
Travel expenses must be approved by USCA and DOE/NNSA prior to travel and are based on U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) rates. In general, travel reimbursements are authorized for seminars, conferences, and workshops associated with this program or any meeting for which the sponsor requests a fellow’s attendance. Conference travel requires approval by USCA at least one month before the anticipated travel dates. It is the fellow’s responsibility to find the least expensive reasonable mode of travel before submitting a travel request form. All travel is subject to the availability of funding.
Travel in excess of 50 miles to and from the approved practicum location will be reimbursed, in addition to the Dislocation Allowance provided during the practicum assignment. No expenses are paid for food or lodging at the practicum site. Travel expenses are also allowable on occasions requiring the fellow to consult with the university graduate committee and/or deliver a presentation of thesis/dissertation research.
Thesis Research at Participating DOE/NNSA Designated Centers
A fellow may request to spend all or part of the time working on thesis/dissertation research at one of the participating DOE/NNSA-approved facilities. Off-campus research requires that the fellow complete a request form (available from USCA) and have it endorsed by the faculty advisor, facility coordinator, and facility advisor. Faculty advisors must agree to mentor and supervise the fellow, and coordinate activities with facility personnel throughout the research assignment, Faculty advisors should also serve on the fellow’s graduate thesis research committee if approved by the university.
DOE/NNSA and USCA encourage fellows to publish reports and articles in scientific and engineering journals and present posters or papers at conferences. All materials must undergo appropriate security and export control reviews required by the university and/or laboratory at which research was conducted prior to submission to USCA. The fellow must submit any articles, reports, posters, papers, theses, etc. to USCA at least three weeks before submission for publication, presentation or publication. These works should show the joint affiliation of the fellow with the university and, if appropriate, with the laboratory in which the research was conducted, and acknowledge fellowship support with the following:
“This research was performed under appointment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards Fellowship Program sponsored by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of International Nuclear Safeguards (NA-241).”
- Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards Graduate Fellowship Program