Dear Colleague Letter: Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) Opportunity for Graduate Students Supplemental Funding to Link Geosciences and Human Health (GeoHealth INTERN)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

May 22, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

The Earth environment and human health are inextricably linked. Many earth materials, fluids, soil microbes and changes in natural environmental conditions can trigger negative health responses in the human body. We are in an unprecedented era of rapid environmental change due to global warming, anthropogenically driven environmental change, and the need for increased extraction of natural resources to quickly move to the New Green Economy. To better understand and combat the negative impacts of environmental change on human health, the NSF Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) proposes an opportunity for graduate students, supported by NSF awards, to participate in a paid, non-academic, internship. This opportunity provides funding for a graduate student to work on-site with public health or medical professionals for up to 6 months on a project of mutual interest that involves combining knowledge of, and work on, processes in and materials of the natural environment and how they impact human health.

This opportunity is aligned with and conforms with the NSF INTERN opportunity described in the Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity ( In addition, institutions submitting an INTERN supplemental funding request are required to have a policy or code of conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault. For more information, see the NSF policies at and the "Promising Practices" at

Responding to calls for increasing the interaction between geoscientists and public health/medical professionals and aligned with recent reports on this issue by the websites of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Meteorological Society (AMS), and Geological Society of America (GSA), GEO encourages INTERN supplemental funding requests for GEO grantees and their students to apply their knowledge and skills to advance research in medicine and public health. The GeoHealth INTERN opportunity is meant to foster collaboration focused on addressing high-priority challenges in human health caused by our changing natural environment. Challenges include, but are not limited to, air quality; wildfire aerosols and particulates; nano/microplastics; forever chemicals; extreme temperatures; fluvial and groundwater quality; heavy metal transport in natural waters; harmful algal blooms, ocean-borne disease, and downstream impacts from mining and other natural resource extractive industries.

All core programs within the NSF Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) participate in this opportunity.

Supplemental funding requests may be submitted at any time.

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, a graduate student must have completed at least one academic year in their graduate program (master's or doctoral) and be making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degrees.

This opportunity is open to PIs (and co-PIs) who are supporting graduate students on active NSF awards. A PI for an active GRFP fellowship (not the GRFP fellow) should contact the GRFP representative at their university regarding specific GRFP requirements before submitting a supplemental funding request on behalf of a GRFP fellow.

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational