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NSF Research Opportunities For Social Scientists Harold Clarke Ashbel Smith Professor University of Texas at Dallas and University of Essex Former NSF.

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Presentation on theme: "NSF Research Opportunities For Social Scientists Harold Clarke Ashbel Smith Professor University of Texas at Dallas and University of Essex Former NSF."— Presentation transcript:


2 NSF Research Opportunities For Social Scientists Harold Clarke Ashbel Smith Professor University of Texas at Dallas and University of Essex Former NSF Division Director, Social and Economic Sciences

3 NSF in a Nutshell Independent Agency Supports basic research Natural & Social Sciences Uses grant mechanism Discipline-based structure Cross-disciplinary mechanisms Mix of Permanent & Visiting Staff

4 Why You Might Want NSF Funding Funds basic research Funds both theory development & data collection Funds infrastructure development – everything from submarines to software Provides summer salary support Funds doctoral dissertation research Program Development Opportunities

5 Social and Economic Sciences Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Office of the Director Science Resources Statistics Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences

6 Opportunities Unsolicited competitions Special initiatives (e.g., Democratization) Rapid response research (RAPID) Early concept grants for exploratory research (EAGER) CAREER grants Doctoral dissertation improvement grants

7 Social and Economic Sciences FY09 Program Allocations (~millions of dollars) Cross-Directorate Activities$3.8 Decision, Risk, & Management Sciences$7.5 Economics$25.8 Innovation and Organizational Sciences$3.4 Law and Social Science$5.1 Methodology, Measurement & Statistics$4.0 Political Science$9.9 Science and Society$8.9 Sociology$9.5 Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

8 Where to Start? Check awards by program, keyword, etc. Read solicitation carefully (if not unsolicited competition) Download Grant Proposal Guide Contact Program Officer once you have formed and organized your ideas

9 SES Target Dates January 15 & August 15 Law and Social Science Political Science Sociology January 16 & August 16 Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics January 18 & August 18 Decision, Risk, & Management Sciences Economics February 1 & August 1 Science and Society February 2 & September 3 Innovation and Organizational Sciences

10 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Untenured faculty (or comparable) Single scholar award $400,000, 5-years minimum award Three proposals lifetime limit July 1 deadline High expectations

11 Rapid Response Research (RAPID) Research when data are ephemeral, e.g. study impact of stimulus package $200,000 maximum; 1 year 5 page project description Internal review only Contact program officer first

12 Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) Exploratory work on untested, potentially transformative ideas High-risk, high-potential payoff $300,000 maximum; 2 years Eight page description Internal review only Contact program officer first

13 Dear Colleague Letter Example: Integrating HSD Goals into Core SBE Programs Complexity Science Large-scale Interdisciplinary Research Infrastructure

14 Research & Education Communities NSF Proposal Generating Document Program Officer Analysis & Recom- mendation Proposal Process Division Director Concur Organization submits via FastLane Minimum of 3 Reviews Required Ad hoc Panel Both Proposal Processing Unit NSF Program Officer Returned as Inappropriate/Withdrawn Organization Award via DGA Decline 4 months30 days Proposal Preparation Time Proposal received by NSFDiv. Dir. ConcurAward Review of Proposal P.O. Recommend DGA Review & Processing of Award

15 Finding Reviewers Program Officer’s knowledge References listed in the proposal Google & online data bases Reviewer’s recommendations Investigator’s suggestions

16 Human Subjects No award for a project involving human subjects can be made without prior Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of the research activity. IRB approval is not needed at the time of proposal submission.

17 Funding Decision Process Program Officer decision Feedback to PI If Your Proposal is Recommended… Scope of Work & Budget Discussions Division Director Concur (typically yes) Formal notification of Recommendation

18 Two Funding Criteria Intellectual merit Broader impacts Both are Important – intellectual merit is necessary but not sufficient

19 Intellectual Merit NSF funds basic research Intellectual merit means increasing knowledge through developing and testing theories, gathering data relevant to theory testing, developing methods relevant to theory testing Leading-edge science

20 Broader Impacts Promote teaching, training and learning Broaden participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geography) Enhance infrastructure for research and education, e.g., facilities, instrumentation Disseminate results broadly to bolster scientific and technological understanding Benefit society

21 Budget Tips Amounts –Reasonable for work – Realistic – Don’t be greedy! –Well Justified -- Need established (Do You Really Need 9 Trips to Paris?) –In-line with program guidelines Eligible costs –Personnel –Equipment –Travel –Other Direct Costs, Subawards –Facilities & Administrative Costs

22 Some Urban Legends about the NSF Only funds scholars at elite graduate institutions Only funds “famous” academics Once declined, you are likely always to be declined Only funds “normal science” Only funds American topics Panels make funding decisions

23 Reasons for Declinations “Trust-me” proposal (I’m a bright person!) Expertise gaps Too Expensive (Program budgets are small!) Incremental contribution Competition, Competition…. Bad luck Unhappy with Decision? You are not alone!

24 NSF and the ARRA (Stimulus Package) NSF - Total Stimulus Package ~$3 billion SES - Total Stimulus Package ~$41 million Very closely monitored (priorities - CAREERS, 1st time investigators, review very well) ARRA ONE-SHOT! Back to regular business in 2010

25 How SES Spent the ARRA $ SES initially given $27 million Clarke-Scioli Experiment - 8 + 1 shares (DD strategic reserve) Can Small Programs Do More 1st Rate Science? Yes! Additional Competitions as $ became available e.g., Political Science - $4.5 million

26 Advice Study Important Topics Study Interesting Topics (Don't be boring!) Team up with smart people Team up with creative people Being interdisciplinary helps Critically review your own proposal – before you hit the ‘send’ button!

27 Questions?

28 National Science Foundation Inspector General National Science Board Director Deputy Director Staff Offices Computer & Information Science & Engineering Engineering Geosciences Mathematics & Physical Sciences Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences Education & Human Resources Budget, Finance & Award Management Information Resource Management Biological Sciences

29 Restrictions, Monitoring In-House Proposals From Fall 2008 & Spring 2009 Rounds Priorities -> CAREERS First-Time Investigators RAPIDS & EAGERS Dissertations Closely Monitored

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