About NSF - writing a compelling proposal

Applying to the National Science
OSP Awareness
Oct 2010
[email protected], osp.syr.edu
NSF’s Mission
To promote the progress of science;
to advance the national health, prosperity,
and welfare;
and to secure the national defense.
Annual budget: $7 billion (FY10 request)
NSF organization..…
Supports all fields of fundamental science & engineering
(except medical (bioengineering okay))
Biosciences; Computer & Information Science &
Engineering; Education & Human Resources; Engineering;
Geosciences; Math & Physical Sciences; Social,
Behavioral & Economic Sciences
Cyberinfrastructure; Integrative Activities; International
Science & Engineering; Polar Programs
Programs & Opportunities
Dear Colleague Letter
Program Description
Program Announcement
Program Solicitation
Types of Submissions
- currently all thru FASTLANE Letter of Intent
Preliminary Proposal
Full Proposal
Variations on the theme:
– Grants for Rapid Response
Research (RAPID)
– EArly-concept Grants for
Exploratory Research
– Facilitation awards for sci. &
eng /c disabilities
– Supplemental requests (REUs,
– Collaborative proposals
– Equipment
– Conferences, Symposia &
– International Travel
– Doctoral Dissertation
Submission “Deadlines”
Target Dates – “soft”
Deadline Dates – “hard” (5:00 p.m. local)
Submission windows – time frame; end date
“hard” (5:00 p.m. local)
NSF Proposals Convey
1) the project’s objectives and significance to
science, engineering or education;
• It’s a great idea that’s important to NSF Project
Description, Summary
2) the suitability of the methods proposed;
• The approach used is the best path to take; work
is feasible and risks are reasonable relative to
benefits. Project Description
NSF Proposals Convey cont’d
3) The qualifications of the investigator, project
team and grantee organization to perform the
proposed work;
• The investigator and the team possess the
necessary expertise to assure project
success. Biosketches
• All necessary resources and facilities are
available to assure project success.
Facilities, Equipment, & Other Resources
NSF Proposals Convey cont’d
4) the impact of the activity on the infrastructure
of science, engineering and education; and
• Broader impacts may include enabling the
next generation of scientists, engineers &
educators. Project Description
5) the cost of the project.
• There’s value for the investment; the cost is
“in line” with similar projects. Budget &
Review Criteria
What is the intellectual merit of the proposed
What are the broader impacts of the proposed
Panel, mail review, combination
Intellectual Merit
Significance & impact - Importance to advancing
knowledge and understanding within and across fields
Significance & innovation - Suggest and explore
creative & original concepts?
Approach – Conception & organization of the activity?
Qualifications – Qualifications of PI/team (prior work)
Capability - Access to resources?
Broader Impacts
Is discovery & understanding advanced while teaching, training,
and learning is promoted?
Broaden the participation of underrepresented groups
Enhance the infrastructure for research and education, e.g.,
facilities, instrumentation, networks and partnerships
Broad dissemination of results to enhance scientific and
technology understanding
How will society benefit?
In addition…
NSF staff consider…
Integration of research and education
– … efforts that infuse education with the excitement
of discovery and enrich research through the
diversity of learning perspectives.
Integrating diversity into NSF programs, projects
& activities
What’s new in 2011?
Data management plan and sharing award
products – Supplemental Doc. May include:
– What’s produced: the types of data, samples,
physical collections, software, curriculum materials,
and other materials;
– Standards to be used for data and metadata
format and content (where existing standards are
absent or deemed inadequate, this should be
documented along with any proposed solutions or
What’s new in 2011? – DMP con’t
– Policies for access and sharing including
provisions for appropriate protection of privacy,
confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other
rights or requirements;
– Policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution,
and the production of derivatives; and
– Plans for archiving data, samples, and other
research products, and for preservation of access to
• Include costs for DMP in budget!
What’s new in 2011? Cont’d
No cost sharing.
– No voluntary committed effort.
Cover page:
– Performing/Research Organization changing to
Project/Performance Site Primary Location
• Why? To comply with FFATA
What’s continuing from 2010
Responsible conduct of research
– All undergraduate, graduate students and postdocs
compensated by NSF must complete:
• CITI RCR training (all groups)
• Face-to-face or other approved training (Graduate
students / postdocs)
Possible Outline (GPG)
NOTE: Program solicitations may specify organization and
content; these guidelines should be followed.
1. Introduction to project and it’s purpose (Introduce
objectives in first page or two)
2. Context in which project fits
a. State of Knowledge – what is known, what’s not
b. Preliminary/foundational data
c. Significance of Project… So what?
3. Project Objectives – brief list of what you will do &
their significance
Possible Outline cont’d
4. Approach/Experimental Design/Methods
a. What will you do, how will you analyze and interpret data
and results?
b. How do you know your methods work? (What does
“success look like? Controls? Evaluation process?)
c. What challenges might you encounter and how will you
work around them?
d. Dissemination plan (including Data Management Plan)
e. Time line/project management
5. Broader Impacts & integration of research & education
6. Prior NSF results
Getting Started
Review Directorate/program’s web site
Review announcement or solicitation carefully
Review what’s been funded in the past
– http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/
Contact Program manager EARLY
– You want to do what… might they be interested?
Would there be other programs interested?
Start early (2 weeks before the deadline not
Write for the reviewers
– Ask program manager how reviewed? Panel, mail,
– Make proposal a delight to read!
– Use meaningful/informative headers
– Don’t use full justification
– White space helps!!
Writing ….
Have others review your narrative
Clear? Are review criteria addressed?
Any obvious holes to be filled?
Broader impacts meaningfully addressed?
Scientific experts and “generalist experts”.
Write project summary last.
– Two separate sections  Int. Merit & Broader Imp.
Fastlane and other issues
– Register…
– OSP can reset passwords if you’ve forgotten yours.
Formatting – Must follow GPG unless solicitation says
– http://www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?gpg
– OSP does get proposals returned for non-compliance
• Biosketches, font too small, publications non-compliance, collaborators not
• Project summary in first person, intellectual merit / broader impacts not
separately presented.
Grants.gov is coming…(yeh – right).
OSP resources…
**NSF proposal checklist (osp.syr.edu / forms)
Amy Deppa (e- apps) [email protected]
Amy Graves (CAS) [email protected]
Meghan MacBlane (iSchool) [email protected]
Caroline McMullin (Maxwell, SoE)
[email protected]
Stuart Taub (LCSmith) [email protected]
Trish Lowney (narratives) [email protected]

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