NSF Research Traineeship program
The ASU NRT program’s integrated and interdisciplinary training model includes the following components.
Master’s and doctoral stipend- and non-stipend-supported NRT trainees are required to complete the four NRT core courses listed below and attain a grade of at least a B (with a total of 12 credit hours, counted as electives, in students’ programs of study). Each of the four NRT core courses will be offered once per year in a small class size setting (maximum 20 seats per class, with a few seats open for general enrollment) to provide a better learning experience for NRT trainees.
The NRT core courses establish the foundation of understanding and knowledge that NRT trainees will use as they continue in their degree programs and in their NRT Smart Cities- and Smart Living-related projects. Additionally, NRT core courses are an excellent opportunity for NRT trainees to organically network, build connections, and spark collaborations with other members of the NRT network.
Because of this, Master’s NRT trainees are required to complete all four core courses during their first year of study. PhD NRT trainees are strongly encouraged to complete all four core courses during their first year of study, and PhD NRT trainees are required to enroll in at least one NRT core course per semester, until all four NRT core courses are completed by the end of their second year. Note: Students who join the NRT program a year or later into their degree program must complete all four NRT core courses during the first year of their time in the NRT program.
- TGM 598: Smart & Resilient Communities (Instructor: Pieter Boorsma)
This course, also known as Smart Cities and Urban Innovation, aims to provide students with the opportunity to build a shared framework of concepts, language and definitions in the domain of smart and resilient cities, communities and regions. Students are to familiarize themselves with the history of urban innovation, the history and evolvement of smart city as a concept. Further, the course aims to provide a larger context to community digitalization by framing the notion of smart city within the realm of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Importantly, students are to gain the insights, skills and leadership blueprints that get articulated by means of the 20 Building Blocks of successful Community Digitalization. The course will leverage a curated list of literature and articles, yet will also be practical as it will focus on highly contemporary best (and worst) practices.
- CSE/HSD 598: Smart City Infrastructures and Technology (Instructor: Katina Michael)
Smart city infrastructure and technology is about designing solutions for geographic regions and centers for the 21st century. A variety of ICT frameworks will be used to apply technologies to urban, regional and rural infrastructure challenges. From smart grids to smart buildings and homes, from smart cars to smart people and things, this course will consider the creation of new cities and the retrofitting of existing cities to serve societal needs. Technologies that will be considered include: Internet of Things, sensors, actuators and LIDAR, multi-robot systems, autonomous systems and transportation, artificial intelligence, unmanned aerial vehicles, smart meters and wearables. Students will also be exposed to a variety of networking technologies such as fiber-to-the-home, wireless networks such as 5G, Bluetooth enabled vs ultra-wideband localization techniques, and identification techniques such as facial recognition, radio-frequency identification and near-field communication. Students will gain an appreciation for privacy and security by design principles with respect to cyberphysical systems. They will also learn about infrastructure, big data, application and mobile information platforms that utilize the cloud. Students are expected to participate in team-based course projects using available testbeds in a variety of verticals.
- Smart City Sustainability and the Environment (Instructor: Paul Coseo)
Smart City Sustainability describes a new design and planning approach to manage the impact of smart city urban development by integrating those technological advances with living systems and natural processes to enhance the health, livability, and equity in cities. The course is taught from a social, ecological, and technological systems (SETs) approach with review of supporting literature in the subtopic areas of changing societal values, environmental frameworks, diverse social communities, green and gray infrastructure (e.g. urban forestry, transportation, building, and energy systems), governance, entrepreneurship, privacy, equity, and smart city sustainability indicators. This service-learning course has students participate in a team-based project partnering with local stakeholders to address smart city sustainability challenges.
- The Politics and Ethics of the Smart City (Instructor: Cynthia Selin)
Visions and proposals for the Smart City introduce questions that transcend the technical. Cities are also social and political constructs, deeply wed to values and changing norms. This course will probe ideas about and demonstrations of Smart Cities to inquire about the role of laws, ethics, justice, risk and innovation. Topics include citizen-related legislations and laws; social concerns and ethics of emerging technologies; inclusivity and diversity in the Smart City; hazards management and risk reduction.
About half of the required credits for master’s and doctoral NRT stipend- and non-stipend-supported programs of study are comprised of independent study, research and dissertation credit hours: 12 credit hours for master’s students including up to 6 credit hours of independent study, and 42 credit hours for doctoral students.
- Professional growth
- Annual, full-day workshop on communication skills training, mandatory for both master’s and doctoral NRT stipend- and non-stipend-supported trainees.
- The annual workshop will be organized by the NRT project coordinator and research director with support from NRT faculty.
- The workshop will consist of invited guest lectures on science communication, broad communication, communicating with specific stakeholders and effective use of social media.
- Trainees will have opportunities to apply for internships (optional) with partners.
- Through TA-ships to gain practical experience, although other teaching opportunities may be explored.
- Other forms of applied learning
- Access to smart city testbeds for research.
- Structured, semester-long interactions with a community partner, coinciding with the formation of a student’s research prospectus and comprising 3 credit hours of research toward the student’s program of study.
- Service-learning experiences are a requirement for all NRT trainees, both funded and non-funded.
- For non-local service-learning experiences, NRT faculty will cover travel expenses from their other research and education funds.
- Community, national and international project partners include: City of Tempe, Intel Corporation, Dublin City University, Verizon, CenturyLink, Cisco, Amazon Web Services, adidas, Jalea Technology, Inc., Coplex, SidePorch and The Liminal Collective, Hiroshima University, Maricopa Association of Governments, EnKoat, Misty Robotics, and the Army Distaff Foundation.
- An entrepreneurially-inspired workshop/seminar series schedule will be developed and maintained over the course of the 5-year project.
- These events will be scheduled once every other month, with content planned and delivered by invited guest speakers, including NRT faculty, non-NRT faculty and industry partners.
- Attendance for the entrepreneurially-inspired workshop/seminar series will be mandatory for all NRT trainees, both funded and non-funded.
- Master’s and doctoral NRT stipend- and non-stipend-supported trainees will be brought together once a month in the form of a research and administrative meeting with the entire trainee cohort.
- These meetings will involve round-table research updates, administrative items, scheduled oral presentations by NRT trainees and invited guest speakers organized by the Student Leadership Council.
- Socially conducive/team building activities will be planned by the Student Leadership Council once or twice each semester.
- An annual NRT retreat will be held at ASU at the end of each academic year during which NRT trainees, faculty and partners come together in one setting. Retreat attendance will be mandatory for all NRT trainees.