NRT Program Timeline

All trainees, funded by the NRT or by other sources, participate in and benefit from the program. Trainees initially work with NRT Faculty and their research advisor(s) to create an individual training/career development plan. This plan and the network of resources the trainees have access to through the program provide career counseling for academic and non-academic careers, connections and mentoring examples beyond the trainee's research advisor, and critical work experiences outside of academia. Later on, the NRT Program Coordinator facilitates formal connections between trainee and internship host.

Funding Opportunities for Trainees

The NRT program offers competitive fellowships and funding to support travel and conference attendance. NRT-funded trainees receiving the fellowship must be a UMN master's or doctoral-level student enrolled in a research-based STEM degree program or a doctoral program in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs that requires a thesis or dissertation. The fellowship includes a $34,000 annual stipend, tuition coverage, and health insurance. 

Trainees who are not eligible for the NRT-funded fellowships are typically funded by research and/or teaching assistantships through faculty mentors or home graduate programs. Those who do not receive NRT fellowship funding are eligible to receive $2000 towards travel, conference attendance, and stakeholder discovery in addition to $500 for equipment or lab supplies. Eligible master's students can receive NRT funding (fellowship or travel and equipment award) for one year, and PhD students can receive two years of NRT funding. We encourage trainees to contact our Program Coordinator or team of faculty to learn more about other funding opportunities that may be available.

The application for the NRT fellowship is the same as the application to join the training program. All eligible trainees may apply for the annual fellowships, although international students are ineligible for this level of funding. International students are eligible to receive the travel and equipment funds.

Why Participate

  • Take two core classes providing a broad context to circularity problems/solutions and skill building
  • Participate in an internship of three to six months in duration with a partner organization to gain professional work experience. If the student receives NRT funding, the internship can take place during the funding period (likely summer after the first year of an Master's program, and the summer after second or third year of a PhD program). If the student is not receiving NRT funding, the internship host is expected to support the student
  • Gain skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, and cultural competency. Under the guidance of the Artist in Residence, build connections with communities and be a part of an inclusive environment in which multiple perspectives are considered
  • Option to do the internship for credit similar to an undergraduate co-op position
  • Work conducted during the internship aims to complement students' research or academic interests and are set up to not delay degree progress
  • Participate in community/artist conversations
  • A Circularity Certificate is being developed, pending approval
  • Participate in the annual NRT Symposium and other events


  • Prospective or current Master's or PhD students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Students studying engineering, science, public policy, urban planning or other relevant fields
  • Research interests align with the theme of the circular use of water, energy, and materials
  • International students are not eligible for fellowship funding, but they are eligible for travel funds and are strongly encouraged to apply
  • Applicants and their faculty advisor must agree to the program's Memorandum of Understanding (contact [email protected] to receive a copy)

How to Apply

  • Click here to apply. Applications for the Fall 2024 cohort are open now and are due January 15, 2024
  • Most students apply during the first year of graduate studies at UMN. Incoming UMN graduate students who meet eligibility requirements are welcome to apply as long as they have a faculty advisor who agrees to the MOU