Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Defence Scholarship Pilot Program
Sponsored by the United States Department of Defense (DOD)
Introduction and Background
Science, mathematics, and engineering (SME), are vital disciplines to our national defense, therefore a formal Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship has been established by the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. The purpose is to promote the education, recruitment and retention of rising junior and senior undergraduate and graduate students in SME studies. All offers of financial assistance referenced in this announcement are subject to the availability of funds. The DoD will offer these scholarships to individuals who have demonstrated ability and special aptitude for training in SME. SMART Scholarships are awarded to applicants who are pursuing a degree in, or closely related to, one of the following SME disciplines:
- Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences
- Computer and Computational Sciences
- Electrical Engineering
- Materials Science and Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
The DoD is also interested in supporting the education of future scientists and engineers in a number of interdisciplinary areas that overlap the disciplines listed above. Applicants currently studying interdisciplinary areas should apply under one of the disciplines listed above and indicate their specific areas of interest in the application. As an example, an applicant currently studying acoustics may apply under a number of disciplines, such as oceanography, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or physics depending upon the undergraduate/graduate school programs or departments that he or she is enrolled. Applicants should consult their academic or research advisor for the appropriate discipline.
During the summer, students will receive hands-on experience in SME internships within DoD.
Minimum Eligibility for Scholarship and Appointment
The SMART Scholarship Program is open only to citizens of the United States. Persons who hold permanent resident status are not eligible. Proof of citizenship will be required. Students must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible. Be advised, if family members are not U.S. citizens, some agencies may be unable to process the student to the security clearance level required. Every effort will be made to assign eligible student at an agency without such restrictions. Failure to obtain and maintain a security clearance is grounds for dismissal from the SMART Program.
The current web page from the Office of Personnel Management is provided below to help you determine your eligibility for a security clearance. They may not be all inclusive, however, it is highly recommended you review and understand the requirements prior to accepting an offer to participate in the SMART Program.
SMART Scholarships are intended for students near the end of their undergraduate/graduate studies in SME. Applicants must have received or be on track to receive their degree by Fall 2007. Students must have a minimum of a 3.0 average on a 4.0 scale in his or her course of study.
Recipients selected in Spring 2005 must begin their scholarship tenure no later than Fall 2005. Selected students are required to sign a DoD civilian service agreement (See Employment Obligation Section).
All students applying must provide a letter of recommendation from their academic or research advisor and a DoD Mentor. DoD Mentors must have technical expertise in the area of specialization the student is pursuing. They will review academic progress and approve the education plan for each term; coordinate the academic program, progress and research work with the faculty advisor.
Subject to the availability of funds, scholarships awarded will pay: full tuition, required fees, up to $1000 book allowance per year, room and board and other normal educational expenses for the institution involved. An off-campus housing allowance will be based on the standard room and board rate obtained through university housing program.
Upon selection, students must sign a DoD civilian service agreement. The employment obligation to the DoD civilian S&E workforce will be a one-for-one commitment for non-federal employees and a three-for-one commitment for federal employees, in accordance with the law (Title 5 United State Code). Failure to complete the required period of service will require the reimbursement of funds expended by the Government for the individual's education under this program. Graduating students with a SME degree will enter federal service as a DoD civilian employee. Students must be geographically mobile for placement in the Department of Defense within relevant SME career fields following graduation.
Location of Enrollment
Scholarships are tenable only at accredited U.S. institutions of higher education offering degrees in scientific areas specified in this announcement. During part of a student's tenure, he/she may study or engage in research or fieldwork away from his/her academic institution if, in the judgment of the academic or research advisor and DoD Mentor, such arrangements further the student's education and contribute directly to the attainment of a degree. The student must be officially enrolled and earning academic credit while engaging in research or fieldwork away from his/her academic institution.
The tenure of a SMART Scholarship is up to 24 months cumulatively starting Fall 2005. The second year award is contingent upon certification by the SMART Program Manager that the student has made satisfactory academic progress towards a SME degree.
Evaluation and Selection
SMART Scholarships will be awarded based on individual DoD laboratory or organizational needs. The evaluation of applicants will be based on review of their academic records, personal statements, recommendations (recommendation letters from their academic advisor AND DoD mentors), and graduate record examination scores (for graduate students only). Each student will be evaluated by a panel of scientists and engineers approved by the DoD. The evaluation panel will make recommendations to the DoD for final selections.
The application submission target date is 4 March 2005. Subject to the availability of funds, award notification will be in April 2005. Scholarship award winners have one week to accept or reject the offer after official notification.
Conditions of Appointment
Students must be enrolled in full-time accredited programs leading to a degree in a field specified in this announcement. According to the policy of an accredited academic institution, such programs may include a reasonable amount of teaching or similar activities that contribute to the student's academic progress. Students may accept Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant positions, if the activity contributes to his/her academic progress, upon approval by the SMART Program Manager. Once selected and within 60 days of accepting the award, students are required to submit an educational plan with projected completion date, approved by their academic or research advisor and a DoD Mentor with technical expertise in the area of specialization the student is pursuing, to the SMART Program Manager.
A student may not accept simultaneous remuneration from another major scholarship.
Students are required to furnish complete information to the awarding agency regarding any invention first conceived or reduced to practice while in the program and for which a patent application is filed. (Generally, participants have the right to retain title to inventions that arise because of, or in direct relation to, the SMART scholarship. For each resulting invention, the federal government may possess certain rights to the invention.)
Students must be able to obtain and maintain a security clearance from DoD.
Students are required to spend their summer as an intern with a DoD Agency.
A student may be terminated from the SMART Program for cause or adverse suitability/security clearance determinations for any of the following reasons:
- misconduct or negligent behavior;
- criminal or dishonest conduct;
- material, intentional false statement or deception or fraud in examination or appointment;
- alcohol abuse of a nature and duration which suggests the student would be prevented from performing the duties of the position to which appointed, or would constitute a direct threat to the property and safety of others;
- illegal use of narcotics, drugs, or other controlled substances, without evidence of substantial rehabilitation; or
- knowing and willfully engaging in acts or activities designed to overthrow the U.S. Government by force.
Upon termination, a student must reimburse the federal government for any monies expended for their education under this program. If a student fails to reimburse the federal government for the amount owed, the federal government will pursue a sum equal to the amount outstanding from the participant, as debt owed the federal government.
Students not completing or terminated from the program must reimburse the federal government for any monies expended for their education under this program.
Students completing the program will be required to reimburse the federal government in accordance with the Employment Obligation paragraph. However, student completing the program will not be required to reimburse the federal government if:
- a DoD position or alternate federal position is not available due to changes in staff requirements, organizational realignment or staff reductions;
- the participant leaves the agency voluntarily to enter into the service of another federal agency; or
- The Secretary of Defense determines seeking reimbursement is not in the Federal Government's best interests.
Application and Award Dates
All materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 4, 2005. Continuously check AFOSR and ASEE websites for SMART Program updates. Subject to the availability of funds, award notifications will be mailed in April 2005. Application materials will not be returned to applicants.
DoD Pertinent Websites
Descriptions of each participating DoD agency's research areas of interest are available on-line at the following web sites.
Army Research Laboratory
Office of Naval Research
Air Force Research Laboratory