Frequently Asked Questions

Program Information

What is Mentor-Connect?

A cost-free service to help two-year college STEM faculty prepare competitive grant proposals for submission to the NSF ATE Program. In addition, Mentor-Connect provides guidance through the NSF funding process and advice about project start-up. Mentor-Connect also engages and prepares those who serve as mentors for prospective grantees.

Whom does Mentor-Connect help?

Two-year colleges that have not received an NSF ATE grant in the past seven years (or ever) participating in an annual cohort of prospective grantees receive the most help. Mentoring and assistance are also available if you are seeking a second ATE project grant or if you are re-working a declined first or second project proposal for re-submission. Mentor-Connect webinars, tutorials, checklists, technical assistance and other resources are freely available to all prospective grantees.

Why apply for Mentor-Connect cohort mentoring?

The funding success rate of those who participate in a Mentor-Connect cohort far exceeds that of those who don’t. Participants learn strategies for success as well as how to avoid mistakes. Participating two-year college faculty and their grant team members benefit from two in-person workshops and nine months of instruction, technical assistance, and one-on-one mentoring to learn the essentials as they prepare their ATE grant proposals.

Why apply for Second-Chance Mentoring?

Working with a highly experienced Mentor from the ATE Program brings a valuable outside perspective and "insider" knowledge to the process of re-working a proposal that was not initially funded. Your Mentor-Connect Mentor will also help you avoid mistakes and missteps that may have contributed to lower ratings for your proposal the first time.

Why apply for Moving-Up Mentoring?

Reviewer expectations are different for ATE Moving-Up Projects than for small grants and the competition for funding is much greater. A highly experienced Mentor from the ATE Program will bring a valuable outside perspective and "insider" knowledge to help you understand reviewer expectations for a larger project. Your Mentor will also help you avoid mistakes and missteps that may reduce the chances of receiving a grant award.

Why apply for Co-Mentoring with an ATE Center?

As a two-year college faculty member who is collaborating with a discipline-focused ATE Center such as MNT-EC (micro nano technologies), InnovATEBIO (biotechnology), or NCAT (autonomous technologies), you are eligible to apply for co-mentoring to help you prepare your first or next NSF ATE grant proposal. Co-mentoring allows a prospective grantee to benefit from the technical and discipline expertise within an ATE Center and grant writing expertise from Mentor-Connect to develop a competitive grant proposal.

Who leads the Mentor-Connect project?

The Principal Investigator for the Mentor-Connect project is Elaine Craft. Co-PIs are Ellen Hause, Dennis Faber, Emery DeWitt, and Rick Roberts. Osa Brand serves as Senior Personnel for the Mentor-Connect project. Mentor-Connect Mentors are integral to the work of the project and serve as project advisors.

"How to's"

How can a new-to-ATE college apply to participate in the next Mentor-Connect cohort for mentoring and technical assistance?

Applications are available year round. Beginning July 1, Mentor-Connect personnel will start reviewing applications to begin the selection process for the following year’s cohort of prospective grantees. The deadline for applying is usually the second Friday of October. For more information, click here.

How do I apply for Second-Chance Mentoring for help in reworking a declined first or second ATE proposal?

Applications for Second-Chance Mentoring may be submitted after January 1 of each year or at the time the college receives a proposal decline notice from NSF. The deadline for mentoring assistance is May 1 for a proposal to be resubmitted to ATE the following October. To apply, click here.

How do I apply for Moving-Up Mentoring for help in crafting an ATE project proposal when my new-to-ATE small grant is completed or nearing completion?

Applications for Moving-Up Mentoring may be submitted after January 1 of each year. The deadline for mentoring assistance is May 1 for proposal resubmission the following October. To apply, click here.

How can I become a Mentor-Connect Mentor?

Mentor-Connect offers the Mentor Fellows training program for future Mentors. Successful applicants for Mentor Fellows have both grant-writing and ATE project implementation experience. Each Mentor Fellow engages in a year-long internship of training with a Mentor-Connect cohort and shadows a current Mentor to become eligible to serve as a Mentor-Connect Mentor. Mentor Fellows receive a stipend and travel support for their participation as is the case for those who serve as Mentors.