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(from 2003 workshop presentation on NSF funding mechanisms & proposal strategies)
NSF Grant Awards ~30,000 applications received ~10,000 applications funded Proposals submitted electronically Turnaround within 6 months Of 26 federal agencies judged by OMB, only NSF received commendation for financial management (only 4.5% of budget goes to agency operation )
NSF Grant Awards Fund research & education in: Biology & chemistry Geoscience Mathematics & physical sciences Engineering & technology Computers & information science Social, behavioral, and economic sciences
NSF Grant Awards Collaborative Proposals Equipment Proposals Conferences, Symposia, Workshops International Travel Doctoral Dissertation Research Renewals Traditional Accomplishment-Based
NSF Grant Awards Small Grants for Exploratory Research = SGER (sugar!) Untested concepts, urgent research topics, new technologies 1-2 year grant, <$100K, expedited internal NSF review
NSF Grant Awards Does NOT Fund: Etiology, diagnosis, or treatment of physical or mental disease Animal models (drug testing) Product development Classified research Technical assistance Pilot plant projects
NSF Grant Awards Bioengineering research related to diagnosis or treatment of disease or to aid persons with disabilities is acceptable Proposals to Biological Sciences CANNOT duplicate proposals submitted to other Federal agencies
NSF Grant Awards Contact appropriate NSF Program Staff early & often Match your ideas with their priorities Fine-tune a “good” application into a “competitive” application
Planning Your Proposal Proposal submission dates vary: Open submission Submission windows Target dates Deadlines Upcoming Target Dates & Deadlines available online (sorted by program) http://www.nsf.gov/home/deadline/deadline.htm
Planning Your Proposal NSF Will Return WITHOUT REVIEW Any Application That Does Not Separately Address BOTH Merit Review Criteria: Intellectual Merit & Broader Impact
Planning Your Proposal Intellectual Merit Increase knowledge in field? Well conceived, innovative idea? Clearly defined methods & analysis? Qualified researcher(s)? Access to appropriate resources? Clear plan to evaluate & disseminate? Broader Impact
Planning Your Proposal Promote teaching & training Include researchers from underrepresented groups Enhance institutional resources & partnerships Disseminate results broadly Demonstrate societal benefits
Planning Your Proposal Section A: Project Summary <1 page, written in 3 rd person Description of funded activity Include objectives & methods Specify intellectual merit & broader impact Section B: Table of Contents Generated automatically by FastLane
Planning Your Proposal Section C: Project Description 15 page limit Up to 5 pages for Results from Prior NSF Support 2.5 cm margins, no smaller than 10 pt Recommend 11 or 12 pt for text, 10 pt for tables NO APPENDIX MATERIAL
Planning Your Proposal Section C: Project Description Objectives for funded period Significance of proposed work Relation to long-term research plans Relation to current knowledge & work in progress Work plan Broader impact ( www.nsf.gov/pubs/2002/nsf022/bicexamples.pdf )
Planning Your Proposal Section D: References Cited Section E: Biographical Sketches Section F: Budget Section G: Current & Pending Grants Section H: Facilities, Equipment, Resources
Planning Your Proposal Section J: Supplementary Documentation Section I: Appendices Appendices MAY NOT BE INCLUDED Unless Authorized!!
Planning Your Proposal Plan long-term education/career goals Translate idea into achievable aims Assess needs & available resources Conduct literature search & pilot work Refine aims & present to colleagues
How NOT to Obtain Funding Lack of new or original ideas Diffuse, superficial, or unfocused plan Lack of knowledge or published work Lack of experience in essential methodology Uncertainty concerning future direction Questionable reasoning in experimental approach Absence of acceptable scientific rationale
How NOT to Obtain Funding Unrealistically large amount of work Lack of sufficient detail Uncritical approach Lack of funds Good proposal – just not a competitive proposal
How to Obtain Funding Create list of suggested reviewers who are especially well qualified Identify persons you would prefer not review the proposal, indicating why Other sources: cited references, recent literature, recent conferences
How to Obtain Funding Cannot suggest reviewers who are: Affiliated with your University Family members Business partners Thesis advisor or student Project collaborator (journal article, research project, conference, etc.)
How to Obtain Funding At NSF: 1200 employees, 300 contractors, 100 rotating scientists & engineers from academia From Scientific Community: 50,000 scientists & engineers participate in advisory system for proposal review
How to Obtain Funding Identify the applicable program announcement, solicitation, or program description If none, select “Grant Proposal Guide” plus appropriate NSF Division and Program
How to Obtain Funding READ Grant Proposal Guide! FOLLOW all instructions! Identify & study targeted program area (prior studies funded, current needs & interests, future directions)
How to Obtain Funding Contact NSF Program Officer in planning stages Seek assistance from NSF-funded researchers Seek assistance of NSF grant reviewers
How to Obtain Funding Use short, concise sentences Make points clearly Use diagrams to illustrate models Use tables to summarize data NEVER assume reviewers “know what you mean”
How to Obtain Funding Detailed cookbook instructions for what exactly you will do Anticipate problems & include Plan B Logical sequence & timetable Design must achieve objectives Show how results will lead to future experiments & broader impact
How to Obtain Funding Explain in detail for all anticipated results: Analysis Interpretation Dissemination Evaluation Broader Impact
How to Obtain Funding Proposal receipt acknowledgment includes NSF # and Program Officer Verify status of submitted proposal Contact Program Officer in case of significant development during review period
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