Prospective NINE Participants

Program Benefits and Boundaries

NINE participants study in-person at a NRAO United States-based site for 6-9 weeks (unless the Observatory is only offering the program virtually), developing relationships with mentors and peers.

For in-person activities, NRAO facilitates and provides funding for travel, housing, and per diem. Participants are required to provide proof of health and travel insurance, and must obtain an entrance visa. Interim travel to home site is not included.

Application Process

  • Before applying, ensure that your home institution is prepared to serve as a Hub for the NINE program.
  • Meet with Anja Fourie, NINE Program Director ( or Lyndele von Schill, ODI Director (
  • Submit an application by sending an email to

Contact Information

  • Name (First, Middle, Last)
  • E-mail Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Web Page URL (if appropriate)

Background Information

  • US Citizen/Perm Resident Status (Yes/No) If non-US Citizen, will a Visa be required (Yes/No):
  • Educational Information (Please list current trade school, college, or university first)
  • Work Experience (Please list most current experience first)
  • Languages spoken and fluency (NOTE: English fluency is an important success criteria for this program)
  • How did you learn about the NINE Program
  • References will be requested during the initial pre-selection process. Do not include at this time.

Personal Essay

Please include:

  • Your background as it relates to your interest in this program
  • Why you feel you would be a good candidate for this program
  • What you hope to learn from this program
  • How you will use the experience to implement and/or improve the radio astronomy environment in your home location
  • How you anticipate acting in the role of the trainer upon your return home
  • Your vision for how you will implement the NRAO NINE hub at your site upon your return home
  • Anything else that you would like us to consider

Contact information & Letter of Agreement

  • Full name and title of sponsor at your home institution (someone who is authorized to sign the MOU, or can ensure that it is signed by the proper authority)
  • IMPORTANT: A letter of agreement confirming that your home institution is prepared to support your efforts to create a Hub is required for acceptance into the program. While it will not be required unless you are one of the finalists, we strongly recommend that you include this letter -signed by an authorized institutional representative – in your application packet.  Selection to the program is dependent upon your ability to form and sustain a hub at your home institution, so proof of this ability, early in the process, is a plus. The template is below:

Example Letter of Agreement

IMPORTANT:  Letter must be on official institutional letterhead


Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Dear ODI Director,

This letter summarizes the agreement by [your institution] to serve as a NINE Hub, as part of NRAO’s National and International Non-traditional Exchange (NINE) Program.

We understand that our representative, _______________, may be selected as a NINE trainee and, upon return from a two-month training session at NRAO, will be responsible for developing a NINE Hub at [your institution] with the tools and processes provided by the NINE Program.

The [your institution] Hub will be responsible for providing opportunities and training for the [your region] local community using the NINE methods, and to associate with NRAO NINE to provide opportunities for the:
  • exchange of students and postdocs between [your institution] and NRAO,
  • exchange of faculty/instructors and other professionals in line with NRAO’s mission of broadening participation for under-represented populations,
  • collaborating on workshops, professional development and networking, to build the radio astronomy community,
  • continuous distance learning (materials provided by NRAO) associated with Radio Astronomy,
  • fostering of long-term mentoring relationship with NINE program participants.
[Your institution] supports the participant in this endeavor by providing a minor amount of support to the participant. Specifically, [your institution] agrees to provide:
  • a location for the NINE Hub Program (office space and meeting room or location-NOTE this may be existing space already occupied by the NINE Hub Director),
  • computing resources and support for collaboration, mentoring, and continuous distance learning for NINE participants,
  • access to information on housing within walking distance or on campus if feasible for future NINE HUB participants,
  • access to a knowledgeable person to assist with visa/travel/housing/transportation /local information, associated with regional future NINE participants and international visitors.
This agreement enters into force on this date, and will continue indefinitely unless terminated by either [your institution] or the NRAO.  Contact information for both institutions can be found in Attachment I: Points of Contact. [Authorized Signature] [Full Name, Title] [Institution]

Attachment 1: Points of Contact

Primary Point of Contact
Name: Lyndele von Schill
Title: Director of Diversity & Inclusion
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Address: 520 Edgemont Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Phone number: 434-296-244-6896
Email address:


Primary Point of Contact:
Phone number:
Email address: