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NSF CAREER Young Faculty Perspective Steve McIntosh Department of Chemical Engineering.

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Presentation on theme: "NSF CAREER Young Faculty Perspective Steve McIntosh Department of Chemical Engineering."— Presentation transcript:

1 NSF CAREER Young Faculty Perspective Steve McIntosh Department of Chemical Engineering

2 My Experience Awarded NSF CAREER (CBET, Catalysis Program) in 2007. One of two awards that year in the program Since then have served on ~6 regular panels and two CAREER panels.

3 Competitiveness The NSF programs have become extremely oversubscribed. CAREER is extremely competitive but award rates are not as bad as the regular program (smaller pool).

4 Why was I successful? PhD research – Chemical Engineering - focus on catalysis for fuel cells. Postdoc research – Materials Science – novel materials characterization. CAREER award – novel materials characterization of catalysts for fuel cells. I combined my previous work. Stayed quite close to home. Had extensive publications in the area – I could do it. Novel twist/approach to a common problem. Its dangerous to stray too far from your core competence for two reasons: Can you do it? Do you understand the issues? Do the people on the panel know who you are?

5 Why was I successful? Outreach section This has changes a bit since my award. Proposed undergraduate research projects within each section of proposal. Proposed to develop a new energy themed course. Proposed to incorporate energy topics in other courses. That was it! Again, I could feasibly do this. Ive seen many more advanced and detailed proposals since. Nobody gets an award based on the broader outreach (in my experience).

6 My top tips? Serve on panels. As many as possible. Volunteer today. These people will review your proposal. Be creative but dont jump to a new field. You have no track record in the new area. Can you really identify and solve a critical problem? Why should I believe you? Focus on the science. Make sure your outreach seems feasible. School outreach programs are commonly proposed – do you have a better idea? Incorporate broader impacts into the science. Keep it reasonable – the budget is very tight.

7 How are proposals reviewed? Is it well written? Can I read it rapidly? Is it free of critical errors? Panel members can be reviewing 10 proposals. Is this a real problem? Are there other more important issues in the field? Does the PI have the background to succeed at this? Is there a novel/transformative aspect to the science? Will that work? Risk vs reward balance Is outreach reasonable?

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