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Published byKenneth McDaniel Modified over 7 years ago
Preparation/Content of an NSF proposal NSF proposals are uploaded to the Fastlane website prior to submission (NIH uses Grants.gov): 1.Cover sheet (basic information of applicant and institution etc.) 2.Project summary (1 page: Overview/Intellectual Merit/Broader Impacts statements) 3.Table of contents (generated by Fastlane) 4.Project description (15 page limit) 5.References cited (unlimited) 6.Biographical sketches (2 page limit; must use NSF template) 7.Budget & budget justification 8.Current & pending support 9.Facilities, equipment & other resources 10.Supplementary documents (letters of support; postdoctoral mentoring plan; data management plan)
NSF Merit Review Criteria for FY 2015 Intellectual Merit: 1.What is the potential for the proposed activity to advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? 2.To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? 3.Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success? 4.How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities? 5.Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?
NSF Merit Review Criteria for FY 2015 Broader Impacts 1.What is the potential for the proposed activity to benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes? 2.To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? 3.Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success? 4.How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities? 5.Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities? What is the difference between intellectual merit and broader impact?
The following content is based upon my own personal recommendations which have been adapted from the NSF grant preparation guidelines. It is important that you discuss these details with your own advisor to clarify their requirements! - Prof. Rochford
OQE Proposal Merit Review Criteria Take advantage of these guidelines to aid in the preparation of a solid research proposal: 1.What is the potential for the proposed activity to advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? 2.To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? 3.Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? 4.Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success? 5.What is the potential for the proposed activity to benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes?
Project Summary (adapted from NSF guidelines) Not more than one page in length and should be written in the third person. Key elements: informative to other persons working in the same or related fields, and, insofar as possible, understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader. It should not be an abstract of the proposal. (recommend to complete project description first). Consists of 3 distinct sections: Overview A description of the activity that would result if the proposal were funded and a statement of objectives and methods to be employed. Intellectual Merit The statement on intellectual merit should describe the potential of the proposed activity to advance knowledge. Broader Impacts The statement on broader impacts should describe the potential of the proposed activity to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.
Typically 10-12 pages in length (NSF recommends 15 pages including outreach etc; NIH recommends 12 pages) I strongly recommend stating a principal hypothesis of the proposed work, prior to listing your aims & objectives. Provide a clear statement of the work to be undertaken with an itemized list of aims & objectives (3-4 bullet points), expected significance and relation to the present state of knowledge in the field. Outline in detail the experimental design (elaborate upon aims & objectives) and, only where appropriate, provide a clear description of experimental methods and procedures. Authors should address what they want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. The project activities may be based on previously established and/or innovative methods and approaches, but in either case must be well justified. These issues apply to both the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. Include a section labeled “Broader Impacts of the Proposed Work” (1 page max). Project Description (adapted from NSF guidelines)
Pagination All pages must be numbered Proposal Margin and Spacing Requirements Arial 10, Courier New, or Palatino Linotype at a font size of 10 points or larger or Times New Roman at a font size of 11 points or larger or Computer Modern family of fonts at a font size of 11 points or larger A font size of less than 10 points may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, figures, table or diagram captions and when using a Symbol font to insert Greek letters or special characters. The text must still be legible. No more than six lines of text within a vertical space of one inch. While line spacing (single-spaced, double-spaced, etc.) is at the discretion of the author, sufficient attention to detail is expected to warrant a favorable decision by the committee. Margins, in all directions, must be at least an inch. Use only a standard, single-column format for the text. A two-column format should be avoided. Proposal Format (adapted from NSF guidelines)
1.Project summary (1 page max; does not count toward total page count of the research description) 2.Aims & objectives (1 page max) Include a statement of motivation to introduce your hypothesis followed by a list of 3-4 bullet points summarizing your aims & objectives to strategically test this hypothesis. Briefly state key intellectual merit/broader impact of the proposed science 3.Introduction & significance ( 1 page min - 2 pages max) NSF does not explicitly require a section called “introduction”. This is important though to present the present state of knowledge in the field so that the proposal reviewer(s) can evaluate your significance statement. Of course it is critical here to link your significance statement to your aforementioned hypothesis. I recommend a 2 page combined limit on ‘aims & objectives’ + ‘introduction & significance’. Remember, you are not writing a review article but proposing your own research. Proposal Format (my personal recommendations)
4.Experimental design (8 - 10 pages) Use your ‘aims & objectives’ bullet points to develop sub-headings 4a, 4b etc. This is should in no way resemble the experimental section of a research publication. Also, while literature citations are critical here, it should not read like an introduction/literature review. Take full advantage of any prior literature reports and any preliminary data to demonstrate proof of concept. Published/preliminary data should be incorporated into the flow of your presentation with the focus always on your hypothesis and your “unique” experimental approach to testing this hypothesis. A mechanism to assess the success of your experimental design to test your original hypothesis should be included. This may be addressed intermittently or as an independent section. 5.Broader Impacts of the Proposed Work (1 page max) Proposal Format (my personal recommendations)
Differs from NSF in that a ‘broader impacts’ statement is not explicitly required however this is typically incorporated into the ‘significance’ statement. 1.Abstract (1 page; similar to NSF proposal summary but subheadings not required) 2.Project Narrative (2-3 lines; a good place to state your hypothesis and basic approach) 3.Specific Aims (1 page; similar to NSF aims & objectives) 4.Research Strategy (8 - 10 pages) Significance (1 page) Innovation (1 -2 pages) Approach 5.References (unlimited) NIH Proposal Format
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