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How to write successful proposals a personal perspective by Moti Segev.

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1 How to write successful proposals a personal perspective by Moti Segev

2 Logic Excellence Novelty Credibility -------------------------- Are ALL important! The myth that, “if you have a fancy resume, it’s sufficient to send your CV and you get the grant” This is untrue. It is just a myth… Make sure you cover ALL 3 bases.

3 But, BEFORE you start, plan ahead: Main idea: should be novel & significant Do not propose something marginal or incremental Suitability: make sure your proposal addresses the Call

4 perhaps the most important item! Concentrate complementing strengths Do NOT dilute your own strength Do NOT add “political partners” Try to avoid duplication of expertise (desirable but not crucial) If possible: try to assemble an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary team Do NOT expect others to write your proposal for you. Not even your team. Certainly not your students / post-docs / KAMEA YOU, and ONLY YOU, are responsible! Be fair in distributing the budget! (including GIF/BSF), because Your good name is more important than a few dollars ….. Team

5 Excellence Should be reflected not only in the CV, but also in the proposal itself. The question is how to do it? Best way: write intro emphasizing your contribution. But do NOT overdo it: Write a reliable intro Give proper references (these people will be your referees!) Do not play tricks with referencing and credit

6 Novelty Propose a meaningful idea Stay away from marginal or incremental work; referees do not want to fund such things Best combinations: Experiments + theory Fundamentals + applications Inter-disciplinary Multi-disciplinary

7 Credibility Build on your proven strengths, and move forward to new grounds How to gain credibility? BEFORE you write, make sure you have at least SOME preliminary results in (almost) every research topic Make a clear statement, in the abstract, on having prelim results Describe the prelim results in the Detailed Research Plan Remember: credibility is as important as novelty!

8 Credibility - continued Do NOT pretend to be what you are not! Examples: If you are a theorist, do not propose to start an experimental group; if you do want to start experiments, first publish some experimental papers with just your own team, gain credibility, and then go ahead and propose starting experimental effort (there are lots of examples along similar lines) Remember: credibility is as important as novelty!

9 Time Table Write a reliable time-table Make sure that the first 2 years are solid After first 2 years, plan can be more vague.

10 Budget Allocate mostly to stipends of graduate students Much smaller allocation for equipment (unless it’s equipment grant or a starting grant) Explain and justify every item! Unexplained / unjustified items are not funded even in a successful proposal! (Examples: my own DIP and my ERC)

11 Resources: credibility again.. Do not be “HAFIF” Describe all current / existing resources If a critical resource is missing, ASK for it. Do NOT hide it, because the referees will dig it out. Existing Technion resources are VERY helpful: The RBNI / super-computer / microscopy Resources are very helpful in establishing credibility

12 Educational impact Find an excuse to describe somewhere your educational impact: List your former grad students / post-docs, especially those who are now university profs Emphasize undergrads participating in research Highlight youth activities, like visits by high- school students, etc. Highlight international educational impact: HIBUR project, exchange students, etc.

13 Before submission: editing Include figures, if possible photos / simulations Do not use jargon Try to keep some consistent style Make it easy to find items

14 Finally: submission letter Write a submission letter, list: Suggested referees Request not to send to competing referees List at least 10 referees, in Israel and abroad List ONLY senior referees. (senior referees will play less politics, and their good name is more important to them than playing tricks with competing groups). Do not be shy regarding “referees not to send”. But explain that the reasoning has to do with direct competition.

15 Submit, and good luck and … if you do not pass, try again. Remember: only those who never try, do not get negative answers (as in all other areas …)

16 Last but NOT least: Proposals, and research funding, are just a means to do good research. They are NOT a goal by themselves! There is no Nobel for “excellent proposals” and tenure is not given for research money. So do good research. That’s the single most important goal. At Technion.

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