Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, or IGERT, is the National Science Foundation’s flagship interdisciplinary training program. Since 1998, the program has made grant awards to research-intensive universities to support graduate education of the nation’s Ph.D. scientists and engineers. The IGERT program builds on the foundations of disciplinary-specific training and knowledge by integrating learning experiences across disciplinary boundaries in a wide range of STEM disciplines.
During the past 15 years, Abt Associates has conducted several studies of the program, examining aspects of implementation as well as early career and comparative outcomes.
Abt’s first study assessed how grantee institutions established and operated their new interdisciplinary training programs. NSF used findings from that study to revise program guidance and structure annual IGERT program meetings, typically attended by principal investigators – the faculty members who oversee the grants at their respective universities – and funded graduate students.
Another study compared the outcomes for IGERT trainees relative to other STEM doctoral students using an online survey of all Ph.D. recipients from IGERT training programs between 1998 and 2006. A quasi-experimental design was used to compare outcomes for a subsample of these IGERT Ph.D. graduates with those from a group of non-IGERT graduates — individuals who had graduated with a doctoral degree from a department that did not have an IGERT training program but which was similar in academic quality. Findings from that study provided NSF with essential data about IGERT trainee outcomes, including time to degree completion, early career status updates, capacity to conduct interdisciplinary research, and types of employing institutions, such as academia, government, or industry.
Most recently, Abt examined how a sample of IGERT principal investigators and trainees described the skills required to become a successful interdisciplinary scientist, using both surveys and interviews. The findings have helped NSF refine the program guidance provided to prospective institutional grant applicants.
Read Abt reports about IGERT:
Evaluation of the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT): Follow-up Study of IGERT Graduates
Evaluation of the Initial Impacts of the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT)
Contractor Annual Report and Summary of Cross-Site Monitoring of the NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT)
Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) Implementation and Early Outcomes: Final Report
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.