Why NRT?

UHM DESCARTES is a interdisciplinary program at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa, currently funded by a 3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. Students will participate in a research and training model that cuts across traditional departmental boundaries: including engineering, computer science, business, economics, medicine, and more. Concurrently, students will undergo rigorous training in data science and artificial intelligence (AI). Our research thrusts in areas of priority to Hawaii: decarbonization, healthcare and communication, dictate a wealth of convergent, timely opportunities and challenges that modern data science and AI can address. Our trainees will be cognizant of not just technical details of data science and AI, but also address how it can be properly harnessed towards policy and societal goals.

We welcome both Masters and PhD students to be NRT trainees. Trainees will typically be coadvised by multiple faculty (usually different departments), and will address novel interdisciplinary research challenges. At the same time, they will participate in our traineeship model, that includes novel mentoring, collaboration and dissemination opportunities in addition to courses. Trainees can also expect to be matched with our industry partners, both in Hawaii and on the mainland.

A subset of trainees will receive a NRT fellowship (~$34K/year) and have the tuition paid by the program for one or two years, and will then be funded as GAs for the rest of their degree period. Direct fellowships are limited to US persons (citizens/permanent residents). Other trainees will be supported by other funding sources.

For more details of our program, please visit the About page.


Our NRT program hosts trainees funded by direct fellowships as well as other sources. To be a trainee, you need to

  • be in good academic standings;
  • commit to the training and education program designed by the NRT faculty;
  • more importantly, be passionate about data science and AI!

Direct fellowships require U.S. citizenship or permanent residency per NSF regulations. DACA persons, please contact us for your eligibility. Those who are not eligible for direct fellowships may be supported by other means, please **contact the NRT faculty when you apply. Please note that commiting to the training program includes a template for taking courses, including setting time for research and collaboration. Talk with the NRT faculty to find out more details.

How to apply?

  • Step 1. Please fill out the Application Form. In the application form, you will be asked to
    • update your CV;
    • identify research areas of your interests (please see the Research page for more details);
    • indicate whether you are eligible for the direct fellowship;
    • update your undergraduate and graduate (if any) transcripts.
  • Step 2. Please have at least two referees to send the reference letter to uhmnrt@hawaii.edu.
  • Step 3. You need to enroll in a graduate program at UH Manoa to participate in our NRT program. If you are not a graduate student yet, contact any of the NRT faculty to coordinate your application to your department of choice in UH Manoa. Please refer to the Graduate Division Application website for instructions on how to apply to UH Manoa.