GENERAL INFO FOR PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

What is the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Data System?

The REU Data System is a web-based system recently launched to test two ways of collecting data from students interested in applying to participate in the REU program: (1) a registration and (2) a common application.

Which Sites are testing the registration versus the common application?

REU Sites primarily funded by the National Science Fundation's (NSF's) Divisions of Biological Sciences and Earth Sciences are piloting the registration.The Sites funded by NSF's Divisions of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences are testing the common application.

What is the purpose of the REU Data System pilot?

The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 requires that students in the REU program “be tracked, for employment and continued matriculation in STEM fields, through receipt of the undergraduate degree and for at least three years thereafter” (Section 514[a][6] of Public Law 111-358). In response to this requirement, NSF commissioned two projects: (1) a feasibility study, which was completed in 2016, and (2) the current effort to develop and pilot test a data system. The data system will enable NSF to comply with congressional requirements, sponsor future evaluations of the program, and support studies that contribute to the knowledge base on authentic research experiences.

Who is conducting the pilot?

NSF has selected Mathematica Policy Research to conduct this study. Mathematica, a nonpartisan policy research organization, conducts research and surveys, mainly for federal and state governments and private foundations. Mathematica has conducted some of the most important evaluations of education, employment, nutrition, welfare, and early childhood policies and programs in the United States. Mathematica strives to improve public well-being by bringing the highest standards of quality, objectivity, and excellence to bear on information collection and analysis for government agencies and foundations.

Registration (for Biology and Earth Sciences)

How will my REU Site benefit from participating in the pilot?

By testing and providing feedback on this system, you will have an exclusive opportunity to help NSF to decide whether to adopt such a system. For example, you will be able to:

  • Use and comment on whether the system is user friendly
  • Assess the usefulness of the reports generated through the system
  • Suggest enhancements to the system
What does my participation in the pilot study involve?

You will be asked to complete five tasks:

  1. Log into a module designed for principal investigators to enter information about your REU Site, such as the dates you will start and stop accepting applications.
  2. Review the data that will be collected as part of the registration, and consider not collecting that information as part of your application, as you will have access to it through the REU Data System. (A copy of the registration form is available in the frequently asked questions section.)
  3. Direct prospective applicants to the REU website at www.nsfreu.org to complete a short registration form and receive a unique REU ID.
  4. As part of your application procedures, ask applicants to provide you with the unique REU ID they will receive when they register on the REU website (this is essential for the success of the pilot!).
  5. Log back into the principal investigator module and, using the REU IDs provided by applicants, indicate which students applied and were admitted (spring 2019) and which participated in the REU program at your Site (late summer 2019).
What support will I receive to participate in the pilot?

You and your staff will receive ongoing technical support—available by calling 1-800-232-8024 or sending an email to REUpilot@mathematica-mpr.com.

You will also be invited to participate in:

  • An informational webinar (August or September 2018)
  • A live demonstration of the REU Data System (November 2018)
  • A webinar focused on how to record admissions decisions (April 2019)
  • A webinar focused on how to record which students participated in an experience at your Site (August 2019)
What do I have to do for my REU Site to be part of the pilot?

You will have to direct prospective applicants to your REU Site to register at www.nsfreu.org to receive their REU ID. Below is some suggested language you can use on your website and recruitment materials to instruct applicants to register at www.nsfreu.org before completing your REU Site’s application:

Thank you for your interest in [PROGRAM NAME]. As part of the application process, you must register with the NSF program at www.nsfreu.org. The website will ask you to create a user account and assign you a unique REU ID. Be sure to take note of the REU ID assigned to you because you will need to provide it on your application to [PROGRAM NAME]. After you have registered, please complete your application here: [url].

Please modify your application form to request applicants’ REU ID. You are urged not to review an application without the REU ID. Instead, contact the applicant to obtain the REU ID.

Your REU Site will be considered to be participating in the pilot when you create your principal investigator account in the REU Data System and start entering your applicants’ REU IDs.

See additional FAQ for REU Sites in biology and earth sciences

Common Application (for Engineering and Mathematics)

How will my REU Site benefit from participating in the pilot?
  • You will be able to review completed applications online and download them to make admissions decisions as you normally would.
  • By testing and providing feedback on the system, you will have an exclusive opportunity to help NSF decide whether to adopt such a system. For example:
    • You can use and comment on whether the system is user-friendly and facilitates your admissions procedures.
    • You can determine whether the system generates less work for you and your staff than your usual application process.
    • You can suggest enhancements to the system.
What does my participation in the pilot involve?

As part of the pilot, you will be asked to complete three tasks:

  1. Log into a module designed for principal investigators to enter information about your REU Site, such as the dates you will start and stop accepting applications.
  2. Direct students to apply at www.nsfreu.org.
  3. Record admissions decisions (spring 2019) and whether students participated at your Site (late summer 2019).
What support will I receive to participate in the pilot?

You and your staff will receive ongoing technical support—available by calling 1-800-232-8024 or sending an email to REUpilot@mathematica-mpr.com.

You will also be invited to participate in:

  • An informational webinar (August or September 2018)
  • A live demonstration of the REU Data System (November 2019)
  • A webinar focused on how to record admissions decisions (April 2019)
  • A webinar focused on how to record which students participated in an experience at your Site (August 2019)
What do I have to do for my REU Site to be part of the pilot?

To participate in the pilot, you first have to register through the principal investigator module of the REU Data System and enter information about your Site. This is a prerequisite so that applicants can apply to your Site using the common application. You will then have to direct prospective applicants to complete their applications for your REU Site at www.nsfreu.org. Below is some suggested language you can use to instruct applicants to complete their applications:

Thank you for your interest in [PROGRAM NAME]. To apply to our program, please go to www.nsfreu.org. The website will ask you to create a user account. When your account is created, follow the steps provided on the website to complete the common application. Make sure to select [PROGRAM NAME] when selecting the Sites to which you want to apply. The deadline for completing the application to our program is [DATE].

See additional FAQ for REU Sites in engineering and mathematics