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Proposal FAQ

What do successful project proposals contain?

In addition to supporting the main focus of the IRES ASSURE site, successful projects:

  • Clearly articulate the need for international collaboration (ex. clearly identifying facilities, expertise of co-mentor, skills or resources that visiting students would be able to access to support the project);
  • Propose well-defined goals and demonstrate they are at a stage that would allow visiting students to take advantage of the international resources available to them;
  • Explicitly state technical requirements for students actively participating in the project;
  • Explicitly state expected outcomes from the collaboration for PIs as well as the students participating in the project; and
  • Have the potential to become long-term collaborations

Who can propose a project?

International sites, US-based mentors and eligible U.S. graduate students may propose projects. U.S. based mentors must be employed as faculty members of a U.S. higher-education research institution but do NOT need to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents nor do they need to be MSU faculty members. International sites will need to be approved by the NSF program officer, so we suggest contacting us early.

How many projects will be funded annually?

Between 4-5 projects will be funded annually.


Do I need to have an existing international collaboration/collaborator to propose a project?

No. A US-based mentor may propose a project for which they are seeking to begin a new collaboration with a collaborator that they have already identified or indicate that they are seeking to collaborate with one of the international collaborators associated with this site.  A list of our current collaborators is provided here: https://ires-assure.msu.edu/research/.

 What language will be used for communication with my co-mentor?

We ask mentors and participants to be open to engagement with researchers from a different culture. Nevertheless, you must be able to communicate reliably with your intended collaborator. Additionally, our project team (or you) will communicate in English with mentors regarding program expectations, logistics and feedback.

Specifically, if you are proposing a student for the project who is not fluent in the language of the international host, it will be necessary that your co-mentor be able to communicate in English.

Who is eligible to participate as a student on an IRES-ASSURE project?

Eligible students MUST be US citizens or permanent residents but do NOT need to be MSU students. However, qualifying students MUST be in the process of earning a Ph.D. degree in a STEM discipline. At the beginning of the IRES Summer program, student participants should have a minimum of six months remaining in their Ph.D. program before they are eligible to graduate.

Do I need to have an eligible student in my group in order to propose a project?

You may choose to propose a project together with an eligible and interested graduate student from your own group or accept applications from any interested and qualified US graduate students who apply to the internship program and meet the minimum skill requirements you have outlined in your project description.

May I propose a qualifying student who is NOT an MSU student?

Yes. IRES ASSURE is open to all U.S. graduate students.

Do students need to be enrolled in a graduate program to participate in this program?

This program does NOT offer course credit and does not require students to be enrolled for the Summer semester. However students are required to be enrolled in a graduate program and be in the process of earning their Ph.D. degree for the duration of the program. Note, the program will not cover participants tuition or fees.

Can student participants earn course credit for this research experience?

This program does NOT offer course credit for participants. However, this does not prohibit your U.S. advisor from counting this experience as research credit(s). However, the IRES ASSURE program will not be able to provide any documentation for the purpose of obtaining course credit.


How do I talk with my collaborator about the benefits of participating in this program?

Collaboration offers several benefits including opportunities to:

  • Promoting your research
  • Expanding the applications of your research
  • Demonstrating the utility of available facilities
  • The program gives co-mentors access to a travel budget (approx. USD$2K). These funds should be used for research exchanges that build up the collaboration. Mentors may chose to either visit international collaborators or pay for their collaborators to visit their research group in the US.