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Graduate Program

NSF Research Traineeship (NRT)

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is a graduate education initiative focused on data-enabled science and engineering (DESE) research. This interdisciplinary program helps PhD and master’s students learn how to use data science to increase their understanding of the neural foundations of human behavior, and how to apply these skills in industrial and academic settings.

Graduate students from all disciplines at the University are welcome to participate.

Students in this program will receive:

  • Communications training
  • Career development workshops
  • Networking opportunities with leaders from academia and industry
  • Internship assistance

In addition, some PhD students  from the Departments of Computer Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences will receive financial support from the program.

About the Program

The NRT program focuses on understanding the nature of intelligence, both artificial and biological, and provides students with an integrated, multidisciplinary training experience encompassing computer science, brain and cognitive sciences, and related disciplines.

Student will use theories and methods from data science (including machine learning and statistics) to gain a foundation in theory development, computational modeling, and data analysis. This foundation then serves as a conceptual and methodological framework unifying their studies of artificial and biological intelligence.

By emphasizing both practical applications and basic science, our students will be able to design research solutions relevant to today's societal needs, as well as develop research approaches of critical importance to future needs. Through our hands-on projects students will also learn how to conceptualize, design, and implement large-scale research projects from beginning to end.

Each year we host one or more scientists who play leading roles in major research laboratories for three-day visits. In additions to scientific talks, the visits include conversations about types of jobs for PhD graduates, ways to build a social network that supports career development, and advice for job searching and interviewing. Over the course of the NRT program, these immersive encounters will include leading figures from industry and academia.


Any University of Rochester graduate student in a discipline related to computer science, data science, or brain and cognitive sciences is welcome to apply.

To apply, email an application to by July 21, 2017.

BCS/CS NRT Fellowships 

Each year, a group of PhD students from the Departments of Computer Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences to receive a one-year fellowship. The fellowships augment other sources of support for PhD students, such as research assistantships and teaching assistantships, but do not support any one student for the duration of his or her studies.  Fellowships are limited to US citizens and permanent residents.

Fellowship students are normally in the first two years of their PhD program. Nominations for a student to receive a fellowship can be made by faculty members from the two departments, and should be submitted to Professor Henry Kautz and Professor Greg DeAngelis.



Henry Kautz Wentworth
Goergen Institute for Data Science


Greg DeAngelis
Brain and Cognitive Sciences

M. Ehsan Hoque
Assistant Professor
Computer Science

Robert Jacobs
Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Program Administrator
Academic Program Manager
Goergen Institute for Data Science

External Advisory Committee

Jack Gallant
Professor of Psychology
University of California, Berkeley

Joshua Tenenbaum
Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Oren Etzioni
Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Eric Horvitz
Managing Director
Microsoft Research

Program Evaluation

Chelsea BaileyShea
Assistant Professor (clinical) and Co-Director of Program Evaluation (Center for Professional Development & Education Reform)

Other Participating Faculty

James Allen
John H. Dessauer Professor of Computer Science
Computer Science, Linguistics, and Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Daniel Gildea
Associate Professor
Computer Science

T. Florian Jaeger
Associate Professor
Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Linguistics

Jiebo Luo
Computer Science

Rajeev Raizada
Assistant Professor
Brain and Cognitive Sciences