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Shaking the Money Tree

Module by: Susan Cates. E-mail the author

Summary: April, 2007 presentation in the Rice University NSF Advance Conference entitled "Career Success Workshop for Faculty Women in Engineering and Natural Science". Judy M. Vance from the Engineering Design Program at the National Science Foundation gave this presentation on research proposals and grant applications.

Workshop Author: Judy M. Vance, Engineering Design Program at the National Science Foundation and Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University

Slide 1: Steps to Success

  • Understand the Organization
  • Contact the Program Director
  • Participate on a Review Panel
  • Follow the Solicitation Guidelines
Figure 1:
  (future_present_past.jpg)

Slide 2: NSF Strategic Outcome Goals

  • Discovery - research
    • Advance frontiers of knowledge
  • Learning - education
    • Cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce
    • Expand the scientific literacy of all citizens
  • Research Infrastructure - facilities
    • Build the nation’s research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation
  • Stewardship - accountability
    • Support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization

Slide 3: NSF Budget 2001-2007

Figure 2:
(Dollars in Millions)
(Dollars in Millions)  (budget.jpg)

Slide 4: NSF Organization

Figure 3:
NSF Organization
NSF Organization  (NSF_org.jpg)

Slide 5: NSF Directorates

  • BIO - Biological Sciences
  • CISE - Computing and Information Science and Engineering
  • ENG - Engineering
  • GEO - Geosciences
  • MPS - Mathematics and Physical Sciences
  • EHR - Education and Human Resources

Slide 6: NSF Offices

  • OPP - Office of Polar Programs
  • OIA - Office of Integrative Activities
  • OISE - Office of International Science and Engineering
  • OCI - Office of Cyberinfrastructure

Slide 7: Directorate for Engineering

Figure 4: FY 2007 budget is $628 Million (13% of NSF budget)
Directorate for Engineering
Directorate for Engineering  (directorate_engr.jpg)

Slide 8: Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation

Figure 5:
Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation
Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation  (CMMI.jpg)

Slide 9: Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation

Figure 6:
Personnel
Personnel  (CMMI_people.jpg)

Slide 10: Role of the Program Director

  • Assess proposals
  • Identify reviewers
  • Conduct reviews
  • Make recommendations for funding
  • Identify new research areas
  • Develop Solicitations
Figure 7:
  (NSF_graphic.jpg)

Slide 11: ENG Research and Education Themes FY 2007 – FY 2008

Figure 8:
  (themes.jpg)

Slide 12: What kind of funding is available?

  • Research projects
    • Typically 3 years, $100K per year
  • Workshops
    • To promote discussion about leading edge research opportunities
  • Small Grants for Exploratory Research (SGER)
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
  • Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
Figure 9:
  (projects.jpg)

Slide 13: Engineering Design Program

  • Uncertainty
  • Topology optimization
  • Product Families
  • Negotiation for collaborative design
  • Life cycle / design for obsolescence
  • Kinematics and mechanisms
  • Human input to design
  • Geometric modeling
  • Design of experiments
  • Decision based design
  • Cyber infrastructure
  • Consumer preferences
  • Complex system / enterprise considerations / customer desires
  • Advanced manufacturing
Figure 10:
  (modeling.jpg)

Slide 14: Engineering Design Program

  • Scan-and-Solve: Direct Analysis of Acquired Models
    • V. Shapiro, I. Tsukanov: Univ of Wisc
  • Computational Steering for Trade Space Exploration During Complex Systems Design
    • D. Spencer, T. Simpson, M. Yukish: Penn State
  • Innovations in Product Flexibility
    • K. Wood, C. Seepersad: Univ of Texas at Austin
    • M. Wortman: TAMU
  • A Biomimetic Approach to the Design of Shape-Controlled Systems
    • K. Maute: Univ of Colorado
  • Augmented Lagrangian Coordination for Decomposed Design Problems
    • V. Blouin, G. Fadel, M. Wiecek: Clemson Univ

Slide 15: Proposal

  • Cover Page
  • Project Summary – 1 page
  • Project Description – 15 pages
  • References
  • Biosketch – 2 pages
  • Budget
  • Current and Pending Work
  • Facilities and Equipment
Figure 11:
  (scientist.jpg)

Slide 16: Merit Criteria

  • Intellectual Merit
    • How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding?
    • How well qualified is the investigator?
    • To what extent is the proposed activity creative?
    • How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity?
    • Is there sufficient access to the necessary resources?
  • Broader Impacts
    • How well does the activity advance discovery while promoting teaching, training and learning?
    • How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups?
    • To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education?
    • Will the results be disseminated broadly?
    • What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

Slide 17: Peer Review Process

  • Program director identifies reviewers
  • Reviewers perform 6-9 proposal reviews
  • Panelists come to NSF for 1-2 days to discuss and rank proposals
  • Program director recommends proposals for funding
  • Recommendation goes through the approval process
  • PIs are notified

Slide 18: How do I write a winning proposal?

  • Follow the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG)
  • Follow the solicitation guidelines
  • Have a clear research objective
  • Have a strong research plan
  • Resources should match the plan of work
  • Avoid jargon
  • Make every word mean something
  • Pay attention to broader impacts
  • Align with NSF goals/initiatives

Slide 19: Transformative Research

  • Research driven by ideas that have the potential to radically change our understanding of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or leading to the creation of a new paradigm or field of science or engineering. Such research also is characterized by its challenge to current understanding or its pathway to new frontiers. ---NSB Report, March 2007

Slide 20: How do I find out about new solicitations?

Slide 21: Where to go for Information

  • www.nsf.gov
  • Locate people/programs
  • Current solicitations
  • Directorate priorities
  • Abstracts of current awards
  • Grant Proposal Guide
Figure 12:
  (NSF_final.jpg)

References

  1. Judy M. Vance. (2007, April). Shaking the Money Tree. [http://www.advance.rice.edu/].

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