Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Dear Colleague Letter

Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS): Supplemental Funding to Current SBIR/STTR Phase II Awards to Broaden Participation in Science and Engineering

Invites supplemental funding requests from current SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees to support active research participation by high school students, particularly those from groups underrepresented in STEM.

Dear Colleagues:

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs invite supplemental funding requests from current SBIR/STTR Phase II awards that aim to:

  • Give high school students a mentored research experience designed to increase their interest in pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines; and
  • Broaden participation of high school students, particularly those underrepresented in STEM (women, Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians Natives and persons with disabilities).


  • PI Eligibility: Only SBIR/STTR Phase II Principal Investigators who are currently funded and in good standing are eligible to apply for this opportunity.
  • Maximum Supplement Amount: $6,000 per student for a total duration of no more than one year.
  • Duration and Limit on Number of Supplemental Funding Requests: Maximum of two (2) Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS) students per SBIR/STTR Phase II award per year. Funding does not extend the original award expiration date.
  • Estimated Number of Supplements: Twenty-five (25) supplemental awards are anticipated per year, and awards are subject to the availability of funds.


SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees are encouraged to contact their NSF Program Director prior to submitting a RAHSS supplemental funding request.

Supplemental funding requests submitted in response to this Dear Colleague Letter must be prepared and submitted according to the instructions for submitting supplemental funding requests (reference:

Project Description (3 pages, single-spaced)

  • Clear description of the form and nature of the involvement of the identified high school student;
  • Identification of key personnel who will mentor the student and the qualifications of the mentor(s);
  • Brief biographical sketch of candidate student (if already identified) or a clear, specific explanation of how the student will be chosen;
  • Follow-up mechanism to encourage the advancement of the RAHSS student beyond participation in the research program; and
  • Justification of the funds requested and a supporting budget.

Budgetary Information: Budgets for RAHSS supplements may not exceed $6,000 per student for a total duration of no more than one year. All student costs should be entered as Participant Support Costs (Line F) in the proposal budget. Consistent with Foundation policy, indirect costs (F&A) are not allowed on Participant Support Costs in RAHSS supplement budgets.

Submission Deadlines: There are no deadlines for RAHSS supplemental funding requests, but it is suggested that requests be made at least 6 months prior to the Phase II award end date. Additionally, it is suggested that requests be made as early as possible in the fiscal year, which begins on October 1st, to increase the likelihood of funds availability.


Proposals for supplemental funding submitted in response to this Dear Colleague Letter will be reviewed internally by the cognizant SBIR/STTR Program Director.


The outcomes of the supplemental funding should be addressed in the six-month Phase II interim and final report(s). If a biographical sketch of the student was not submitted with the supplemental funding request, it must be included in the first report submitted after the selection of the student.


Questions about this letter should be directed to the cognizant SBIR/STTR program officer in the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, Directorate for Engineering.

The list of IIP SBIR/STTR Program Officers can be found on the NSF website at the following URL:


All active SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees are also invited to participate in the Small Business Minority Academic Research Partnership Supplement (SBIR/STTR Phase IIA), which awards a research supplement to a current SBIR/STTR Phase II grantee able to partner with a Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) or Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) institution (reference:, under Institutional Partnerships).

Additionally, active SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees are invited to participate in the Community College Research Teams (SBIR/STTR Phase IICC) Supplement (reference:, under Institutional Partnerships).