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Writing a proposal . . . that meets NSF’s review criteria . . .

and may even result in an award
Guy G. Guthridge Antarctic Information Program Office of Polar Programs

NSF support estimate for fiscal 2005 Number of research grants Funding rate (success ratio) Median annualized award size Average duration
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

6,145

23%
$104,150 3 years
23 – 24 August 2004

A Grue of Ice (1962)
“There is only one unexplored continent left,” he said. “That is Antarctica. It was discovered by individualists. It is the one continent left for man’s free spirit to break open. What happens?” He banged the papers again. “Government committees sit ten thousand miles away and decide its future.” “It is not as bad as that,” I interjected.
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

To succeed, follow NSF’s rules
• Proposals missing the deadline are subject to return • Proposals unresponsive to the solicitation go back • Pay attention to section length, content, format, use of appendixes, content of biographical sketches . . . • Deviations must be authorized in advance by NSF

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

23 – 24 August 2004

Read the Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 04-23, on the NSF home page)
• The NSF guide for writing and submitting a proposal • Specifies process for deviations • Describes review process and criteria • Describes process for withdrawals, returns, and declinations • Describes the award process and how to request continued support • States grant administration highlights  Know and love the GPG!

Read Antarctic Research (NSF 04-559)

Use other NSF sources (one or two clicks from the NSF home page) Guide to Programs (NSF 04-009) Grant Policy Manual (NSF 02-151) Funding Opportunities Custom News Service NSF E-Bulletin Polar Programs

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

23 – 24 August 2004

Select a research topic
• Your area of interest • Know the field
Top researchers Research funding sources Recent advance/breakthroughs Key literature Frontiers of knowledge

• Field-specific research agenda

Find the right program
•Read program announcement/NSF web site
Be sure you are eligible Be sure the program exists/has money Do not “force fit” topics into programs Be sure you can meet deadlines Leave time to do a good job

•Call the NSF program director (before the due date) if you have questions “We like to talk to you….we are here to help!”

Consider some questions

1. What do you intend to do? 2. Why is the work important? 3. What has already been done? 4. How are you going to do the work?
23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

Get support in proposal writing
• Workshop reports • Program officers
– Incumbent – Former “rotators”

• • • •

Mentors on campus Serve as reviewer Sponsored research office Successful proposals
23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

Know what makes a good proposal

“… a good proposal is a good idea, well expressed, with a clear indication of methods for pursuing the idea, evaluating the findings, and making them known to all who need to know.”
23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

Fastlane — NSF’s online proposal system
Format:
• Conform to the required format • Write no more than 15 pages of narrative or your proposal will be disqualified • Lines per inch and characters per inch are defined in the guidelines • Do not include appendixes, unless specific instructions in a solicitation say okay Remember: • Provide reviewers with a well organized, clearly defined research proposal - clarity, brevity, completeness • Your proposal may state what you will do, but it shows what you can do.

Your proposed budget
• Amount – Reasonable for work - realistic – Well justified - need established – In line with program guidelines – “Don’t inflate the budget.” • Eligible costs – Personnel – Equipment – Travel (but not deployment airline tickets) – Other direct costs, subawards – Facilities & administrative costs – See Antarctic Research for field costs
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

The review process
• Process is mainly electronic now • Fastlane receives proposals - proposal number is instantly assigned when submitted • Proposal Processing Unit checks for conformance to Grant Proposal Guide • A “jacket” (folder with one copy of the proposal) is sent to the program manager • Program manager “sends proposal out” for review
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

NSF sources of reviewers
• Programs officer’s knowledge • References listed in proposal • Reviewer names on file • Recent technical programs from professional societies • Recent authors in technical journals • Web-based search • Reviewer recommendations • Your suggestions (submitted with the proposal) both positive and negative
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

The review process (cont.)
• Panels are held in ABM, AGG & AG • Program manager reminds panelists that deliberations are confidential; discusses conflicts of interest • Panelists discuss, rate, and rank each proposal and write a panel summary • Panels are advisory to NSF •Program manager ultimately forwards a recommendation for funding or declination to the Section Head (in OPP) •An NSF award can be made only by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA)

What the program manager considers
• Ad hoc (“mail”) reviews • Panel’s recommendations and discussions • Available funds in program (65% rule) • Program balance • Budget negotiation • Shared funding from other NSF programs
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

What makes a proposal competitive?
• • • • • • • • • • Likely high impact New and original ideas Succinct, focused project plan Knowledge of subject area or published, relevant work Experience in essential methodology Clarity concerning future direction Sound scientific rationale Realistic amount of work Sufficient detail Critical approach
23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

Other considerations
• • • • • • • • • PI career point (tenured?/“established”/“young”) Program portfolio Other support the PI has Impact on institution/state Special programmatic considerations Diversity issues Educational impact Broader impacts Feasibility of fieldwork

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

23 – 24 August 2004

Antarctic proposal timetable
2 June 2005 2 June June September October November December January-June 2006 Proposal deadline Operational Requirements Worksheets Ad hoc review begins Panels Operational, safety, and health review Environmental review Negotiation with proposers Awards/declines

October 2006 or +1 Begin deployments

Merit Review Criteria
Intellectual Merit: What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?

Broader Impacts: What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Intellectual Merit
• How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? • How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (Reviewers may comment on the quality of prior work.) • To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? • How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? • Is access to resources sufficient?
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

NSF’s proposal review criteria • What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? (criterion 1) • What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? (criterion 2)
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Developing the review criteria
• July 1997: NSF Important Notice 121
– the new criteria are announced – proposals will be reviewed using them

• September 1999: NSF Important Notice 125
– reminder about broader-impacts criterion – NSF to address both criteria in funding decisions

• July 2002: NSF Important Notice 127
– NSF will return without review proposals that do not address both merit review criteria
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

NSF will return, without review, any proposal that does not discuss broader impacts
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Grant Proposal Guide, NSF 04-23
• Proposals must address both review criteria
– in the one-page Project Summary – in the Project Description

• Full texts of the criteria are in chapter III • Read further discussion of broader impacts at footnote #33, a document originated by the OPP Advisory Committee.
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Broader impacts review criterion
1. promote teaching, training, and learning 2. involve persons in underrepresented groups 3. enhance research/education infrastructure 4. disseminate results broadly 5. benefit society
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

1 Teach, train, learn
• • • • • • • • • Integrate research into teaching Integrate research into guest lectures, etc. Develop educational materials Partner with educators Mentoring students and technicians Graduates and postdocs teach undergraduates Links to programs such as REU Give presentations at museums, libraries, etc. Develop or adopt models and pedagogy
23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

2 Help underrepresented groups
• • • • • • • • Partner at your institution or another Lecture at colleges and universities Partner with RUI and EPSCoR groups Partner with community colleges Mentor first-time NSF proposers Document research in relevant terms Develop connectivity to underserved Participate in diversity activities
23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

3 Enhance infrastructure
• • • • • • Develop next-generation shared platforms Modernize shared tools Upgrade computing infrastructure Develop and upgrade new types of tools Improve use of multi-user facilities Collaborate among disciplines and institutions

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

23 – 24 August 2004

4 Disseminate results
• • • • • • Publish promptly in peer-reviewed literature Share data in databases, other venues Publish in diverse media Present results in formats useful to Congress, etc. Participate in conferences, workshops Integrate research with education

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

23 – 24 August 2004

5 Develop benefits to society
• Give examples of link between discovery and benefit • Partner to integrate research into broader programs • Partner to develop products • Analyze and synthesize results for nonscientists • Inform policy formulation by agencies

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

23 – 24 August 2004

Proposers should: integrate research & education
• at academic and research institutions individuals concurrently can be researchers, educators, and students • joint efforts can enrich
– education with the excitement of discovery – research with diverse learning perspectives
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Commission on National Security, March 2001 “...the inadequacies of our systems of research and education pose a greater threat to U.S. national security over the next quarter century than any potential conventional war we might imagine.”
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Public attitude towards science
• Rate of civic scientific literacy in the US is only now approaching 20 percent • Public believes strongly in value of scientific research for economic prosperity and quality of life. • Public consistently reconciles reservations about pace of change engendered by science, and relationship between science and faith, in favor of science. • Jon D. Miller, Northwestern U., 2004
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

News followed by U.S. public

OPP education/outreach awards 2000-2002
• • • • • • • • • 11 for new courses and training 2 for multimedia education 11 for K-12 outreach 3 for Alaskan outreach 18 for conferences and workshops 3 for doctoral research 7 for undergraduate research 16 for other education topics Get, before you leave, a copy of Office of Polar Programs education support, 2000-2002
23 – 24 August 2004

U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop

Add a teacher to your research team?
• • • • TEA, 1992-2003, ~100 teachers arctic/antarctic TEA winding down; joined Armada project 2004 http://www.armadaproject.org/index.htm (URI) tea.rice.edu web site to continue -- Educational Materials (in Related Links), Meet the Teachers (with field journals), and classroom Activities • To propose adding a teacher - in absence of TEA try Armada or use Research Experiences for Teachers solicitation (NSF 03-554) as a model
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

RISE: Resources for Involving Scientists in Education
• Roles for scientists and engineers in the schools – Working directly with students – Working with teachers – Supporting systemic reform – Helping to develop instructional materials • http://www.nationalacademies.org/rise/
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Proposers should: integrate diversity into projects • Participation of all citizens is essential to the vitality of science and engineering • This principle is central to the activities NSF considers and supports
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

A reason to achieve diversity
• Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, and Hispanics will attain the U.S. majority shortly after the year 2050, according to Census Bureau projections. • They already are a majority in New Mexico, Hawaii, and many large cities. • These minority strongholds are the vanguard of a demographic shift that will transform politics and business over the next 50 years.
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Senior science and engineering faculty in 2000
• 12.5% are women
• women earned 36% of s&e PhDs in 2000

• 94% of full professors are white • 90% of full professors are male • Of the top 50 chemistry departments-• 1,600 top faculty members • of which 43 are minorities • of the 43, 17 are African-American • 0% African-American assistant professors
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

NSF is funding diversity projects that work
• Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
• 163 majority institutions, 257 minority and community institutions, total of 420 U.S. institutions, growing every year • 25,100 bachelor’s degrees in 2003 • $35,000,000 per year of NSF funding, 100% matching • LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate program

• Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program • Tribal Colleges and Universities Program • Lots more at the Division of Human Resource Development: www.ehr.nsf.gov/hrd/
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Budgeting for broader impacts in your proposal
• Intellectual merit and broader impacts are interwoven, and the budget is inseparable • Broader-impacts budget is a fraction of the total • Broader-impacts budget is substantial • Focus of the proposal is education, diversification, or outreach
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Broader-impact ideas in existing NSF grants
• • • • On the NSF home page click “Search” at the top. Select “Fielded search.” You are in the NSF awards database. In “Full Text Search,” type the words broader impact. • Click “Search” at the bottom. • Result: 3,805 award abstracts that include descriptions of their broader-impact activities.
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004

Will your broader-impacts plan influence NSF’s funding decision?
• Committee of Visitors report regarding NSF decisions for BE in 2001, 2002, and 2003: • “no proposal rose to the top without high Intellectual Merit” • “within this group of highly meritorious proposals, the quality of the ‘Broader Impacts’ played a distinct and defining role in making decisions” [emphasis added]
U.S. Antarctic Program, New Investigators workshop 23 – 24 August 2004