Developing Successful Grant
Proposals
Joseph E. Urban
Program Director
Division of Computing and Communication
Foundations (CCF)
[email protected]
Outline
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Vision and Goals
Budget and Proposal Actions
CISE Mission and Organization
Cross-Cutting and Cross-Foundational
Programs
Resources
Merit Review Criteria
Tips and Ingredients
Conclusion
Some Stuff About Me
• Started three year vocational data processing program at
Miami Central High School in 1967
• BS, MS, PhD all in computer science
• Association for Computing Machinery doctoral forum award
• Three years US Army active duty followed by academia with
three years Air Force Studies Board
• Software engineering research and teaching
• Professional society leadership positions and fourteen
conferences as general / program chair
• Met Susan in graduate school – Married 29 years with two
kids and two dogs; Andy 25 and Jill 19, Roxy (black and tan)
and Colby (yellow) - Professor of Computer Science with
research interests in databases has an office three doors down
• Vegetable gardening, fishing, walking, and adventures
Discovery
Foster research that will advance the frontiers of knowledge,
emphasizing areas of greatest opportunity and potential
benefit and establishing the nation as a global leader in
fundamental and transformational science and engineering.
Learning
Cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and
engineering workforce, and expand the scientific literacy of
all citizens.
Research Infrastructure
Build the nation’s research capability through critical
investments in advanced instrumentation, facilities,
cyberinfrastructure and experimental tools.
Stewardship
Support excellence in science and engineering research and
education through a capable and responsive organization.
FY 2008 Budget Request
$6.43 billion
Increase over FY 2007
Request:
$520 million, 8.8%
NSF in a Nutshell
Independent Agency
Primarily Uses Grant Mechanism
Low Administrative Costs
Discipline-based structure
CISE Mission
• CISE has three goals:
– to enable the United States to remain
competitive in computing, communications, and
information science and engineering;
– to promote understanding of the principles and
uses of advanced computing, communications,
and information systems in service to society;
and
– to contribute to universal, transparent, and
affordable participation in an informationbased society.
CISE provides 87%
of all Federal support for
computer science research
Current CISE Organization
Office
of the
Assistant
Director
Computing and
Communication
Foundations
(CCF)
Computer and
Network
Systems
(CNS)
Information and
Intelligent
Systems
(IIS)
Crosscutting Emphasis Areas
CISE Budget
2003-2008
600
550
500
Dollars in Millions
450
400
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
2003
2004
2005
Fiscal Year
2006
2007
2008
F u n d in g R a te fo r C o m p e titive A w a rd s in C IS E
7 ,0 0 0
100%
90%
6 ,0 0 0
80%
5 ,0 0 0
70%
N
u
4 ,0 0 0
m
b
3 ,0 0 0
e
r
2 ,0 0 0
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
1 ,0 0 0
10%
0
0%
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
C o m p e titive P ro p o sa l A ctio n s
2002
2003
2004
C o m p e titive A w a rd s
2005
2006
F u n d in g R a te
P
e
r
c
e
n
t
Computing and
Communication Foundations
Division (CCF)
• Theoretical Foundations
– Computer science theory; numerical computing;
computational algebra and geometry; signal processing
and communication
• Foundations of Computing Processes and Artifacts
– Software engineering; software tools for HPC;
programming languages; compilers; computer architecture;
graphics and visualization
• Emerging Models and Technologies for
Computation
– Computational biology; quantum computing; nano-scale
computing; biologically inspired computing
Computer and Network Systems
Division (CNS)
• Computer Systems
– Distributed systems; embedded and hybrid systems; nextgeneration software; parallel systems
• Network Systems
– Networking research broadly defined plus focus
areas
• Computing Research Infrastructure
– Equipment and infrastructure to advance
computing research
• Education and Workforce
– IT workforce; special projects; cross-directorate
activities (e.g., REU sites, IGERT, ADVANCE)
Information and Intelligent
Systems Division (IIS)
• Systems in Context
– Human computer interaction; educational
technology; robotics; computer-supported
cooperative work; digital government
• Data, Inference & Understanding
– Databases; artificial intelligence; text, image,
speech, and video analysis; information retrieval;
knowledge systems
• Science & Engineering Informatics
– Bioinformatics; geoinformatics; cognitive
neuroscience; …
CISE Cross-Cutting
Emphasis Areas
• Characteristics
– cut across clusters and divisions (and
directorates)
– address scientific or national priority
• FY 2007 Emphasis Areas
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–
–
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Cyber Trust
Science of Design
Broadening Participation
CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate
Computing Education
Cross-Foundational Programs
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IGERT
REU Sites
ADVANCE
GRFP
GK-12
CAREER
RUI
RET
Graduate Research Fellowship
Program
• Ensure vitality of human resource base of science,
technology, engineering, and mathematics in the United
States and to reinforce its diversity by offering
approximately 1,000 graduate fellowships (including 90
Women in Engineering and Computer and Information
Science Awards )
• Provides three years of support for graduate study
leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees
• Intended for students who are at the early stages of their
graduate study
• FY’06 NSF awarded $40,500 to the affiliated institution fellowship stipend $30,000 for a 12-month tenure period
and cost-of-education allowance $10,500 per tenure year
CAREER Program
• Foundation-wide activity that offers the
National Science Foundation’s most
prestigious awards for new faculty
• NSF supports the early career development
activities of those faculty members who are
most likely to become the academic leaders
of the 21st century
• CAREER awards have a 5-year duration
• In FY‘06, the minimum CAREER award
(including indirect costs) was $400,000 for
all NSF directorates
Resources at your Disposal
• “Keeping Aware” of
Resources
• Proposal Preparation
• Grant Management
Resources at your Disposal
Keeping Aware
• All resources at NSF Web Site
– www.nsf.gov
• Funding Opportunities Calendar at NSF
• Guide to Programs/Browsing of Funding
Opportunities at NSF Web site
• Funding Search Engine
• Upcoming Due dates
Proposal Preparation
• Grant Proposal Guide
• Frequently Asked Questions
• Regional Grants Conferences
Award Management
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Grant Policy Manual
Grant General Questions
Cooperative Agreements Conditions
Federal Demonstration Project
NSF Policy Office Website
NSF Merit Review Process
Electronic
Receipt
of Proposal
NSF Program
Officer
Award
Peer Review
• Mail
• Panel
• Combination
Merit Review Criteria
• Intellectual Merit
• Broader Impacts
Higher Level
Review
Decline
Program Officer
Recommendation
(Award/Decline)
NSF Merit Review Criteria
Criteria include:
• What is the intellectual merit and
quality of the proposed activity?
• What are the broader impacts of the
proposed activity?
What is the intellectual merit of
the proposed activity?
Potential Considerations:
• 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? (If appropriate,
reviewers will comment on the quality of prior
work)
• How creative and original are the concepts?
• How well conceived and organized is the
proposed activity?
• Is there sufficient access to resources?
What are the broader impacts of the
proposed activity?
Potential Considerations:
• How well does the activity advance discovery and
understanding while promoting teaching, training and
learning?
• How well does the activity broaden the participation of
underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability,
geographic, etc.)?
• To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for
research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation,
networks and partnerships?
• Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance
scientific and technological understanding?
• What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to
society?
Proposal Preparation Tips
1.
Read solicitation, identify elements of importance to the program
2.
Develop clear goals and work plan
3.
Make key points stand out; focus on highlights and impact
4.
Avoid language that is difficult to read, full of jargon, too long,
too technical; observe page limits and font size guidelines
5.
Avoid misspellings, grammatical errors, and inconsistent formats
6.
Include an integrated plan for education and outreach that is
consistent with the underlying research involved in the project
7.
Conduct mini peer review on your own
8.
Clearly detail Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts in project
summary and narrative; include section headers in bold
Ingredients for a Good Proposal
Educate the reviewers and the Program Director
• What problem(s) does your work address?
• Why is this problem important?
• What will you do to contribute to a solution?
• What unique ideas/approaches do you have? Put in
context
• Why are you the best person to do this work?
• How will you evaluate your results?
– How will we know if you were successful or if you failed?
• How will you assure that the work has an impact?
Conclusion
• NSF’s role is fundamental to all areas of our
society - the most basic future investment
• Computer science and related disciplines
are very important in their own right and
essential to advancement in all areas of S&E
• NSF and our field are facing unprecedented
pressures that can only be overcome by
concerted, cooperative action
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