Anyone can serve as a reference writer for a GRFP applicant, as long as they are not family members of the applicant. The most effective reference writers are individuals who can provide detailed and specific information about how the applicant demonstrates the NSF's Merit Review Criteria, and potential for success in their graduate education and beyond.
If you have been nominated to submit a reference letter for an applicant, NSF requests that you provide the following information in your letter:
Panelists evaluating applications submitted to the Graduate Research Fellowship Program may consider the following with respect to the Intellectual Merit Criterion: the potential of the applicant to advance knowledge based on the totality of the content in the application, including the strength of the academic record, the proposed plan of research, the description of previous research experience or publication/presentations, and references. Panelists may consider the following with respect to the Broader Impacts Criterion: the personal, professional, and educational experiences, the future plans and prior accomplishments in the integration of research and education, and the potential for future broader impacts.
Please see the video below for a tutorial on the 2020 GRFP Application Reference Writer Process
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Operations Center Administered by: American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
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