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Federal Funding for Social Science Research: Trends and Opportunities Robert E' OConnor, Director Pr

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Title: Federal Funding for Social Science Research: Trends and Opportunities Robert E' OConnor, Director Pr


1
Federal Funding for Social Science
ResearchTrends and Opportunities Robert E.
OConnor, DirectorProgram in Decision, Risk and
Management Sciences Division of Social and
Economic SciencesDirectorate for Social,
Behavioral, and Economic SciencesPennsylvania
State University, September 2008
2
Outline
  • Federal funding for social scientists
  • NSF
  • Current realities
  • Trends and opportunities
  • How to get your dreams fulfilled

3
Gross Figures FY07 (in thousands)
  • 1,911,694 psychology
  • 1,215,330 other social science
  • 55,089,189 all research obligations
  • 27,810,551 life sciences
  • 9,487,433 engineering
  • 5,647,627 physical sciences

4
Who is funding the psychologists? (in thousands)
  • 1,755,446 NIH
  • 61,205 DOD
  • 44,904 Veterans Affairs
  • 17,747 Federal Aviation Administration

5
Who is funding other social scientists? (in
thousands)
  • 335,634 DHS (NIH, ACF, AHRQ)
  • 212,661 Education
  • 183,286 NSF
  • 152,132 USDA
  • 54,154 AID

6
Why go to NSF?
  • NSF provide grants (not cooperative agreements or
    contracts)
  • NSF pays full overhead
  • NSF supports curiosity-driven research

7
NSF in a Nutshell
  • Discipline-based structure
  • Cross-disciplinary mechanisms
  • Use of Rotators/IPAs
  • National Science Board
  • Independent Agency
  • Supports basic research education
  • Uses grant mechanism
  • Low overhead highly automated

8
NSFs future?
  • Long-term broad support (doubling authorization
    passed)
  • FY09 budget awaits next administration
  • October 1 government shutdown unlikely
  • Continuing resolution impedes new programs

9
National Science Foundation
Director Deputy Director
National Science Board
Inspector General
Staff Offices
Computer Information Science Engineering
Mathematics Physical Sciences
Biological Sciences
Engineering
Geosciences
Social, Behavioral Economic Sciences
Budget, Finance Award Management
Information Resource Management
Education Human Resources
10
Key Documents
  • FY 2009 NSF Budget Request
  • http//www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2009/index.jsp
  • Grant Proposal Guide (January 2008)
  • http//www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_k
    eygpg
  • Science and Engineering Indicators (2006)
  • http//www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind06/
  • When in doubt
  • http//www.nsf.gov/

11
Sources of Information
  • Web www.nsf.gov
  • National Science Foundation Update (formerly
    MyNSF)
  • Grant Proposal Guide http//www.nsf.gov/publicatio
    ns/pub_summ.jsp?ods_keygpgAwards (on web)
  • Program Officer(s)
  • Colleagues

12
NSF-Wide Investments in FY2009
  • NSFs FY2009 budget request to Congress
    identified several areas for NSF-wide
    investments. Strengthening capabilities in each
    of these areas will enhance the productivity and
    efficiency of the science and engineering
    enterprise while producing concrete economic and
    social benefits for the nation.
  • Examples
  • Adaptive Systems Technology
  • Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation
  • Cyberinfrastructure
  • Networking and Information Technology RD
  • Science and Engineering Beyond Moores Law

13
Trends
  • Increasing inter-directorate cooperation
  • Increasing support for interdisciplinary projects
  • Support for complexity science
  • Support for environmental research

14
Opportunities
  • Dynamics of Coupled Human and Natural Systems
  • Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation
  • Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National
    Security, Conflict, and Cooperation
  • Possible initiative in Energy, Environment, and
    Human Dynamics
  • Possible initiative in complexity

15
Dynamics of Coupled Human and Natural Systems
  • http//www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id13
    681orgBCS
  • First permanent multi-directorate program
  • GEO has joined BIO and SBE
  • 2,000,000 awards

16
Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation
  • November 8 December 8 window for preliminary
    proposals
  • http//www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id5
    03163orgSBEfromhome
  • Computational thinking

17
Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National
Security, Conflict, and Cooperation
  • http//www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id50
    3294orgSBEfromhome
  • Letter of intent deadline September 30
  • NSF grants with DOD money
  • NSF review process

18
Possible EEHF and Complexity Initiatives
  • Energy, Environment, and Human Factors may
    involve BIO, GEO, and SBE
  • National Science Board emphasis
  • Complexity less far along

19
Two Criteria for Funding
  • Intellectual merit
  • Broader impacts

20
Intellectual Merit?
  • NSF funds basic research
  • NSF funds basic research
  • Intellectual merit means increasing knowledge
    through developing and examining basic theories
    or methods

21
Broader Impacts
  • Promote teaching, training and learning
  • Broaden the participation of underrepresented
    groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability,
    geographic, etc.)
  • Enhance the infrastructure for research and
    education, such as facilities, instrumentation,
    networks and partnerships
  • Disseminate results broadly to enhance scientific
    and technological understanding
  • Benefit society

22
Start with http//www.nsf.gov
  • Check previous program awards
  • Award Search http//www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/
  • Read RFA carefully (if not standard competition)
  • Download Grant Proposal Guide

23
Timing of Proposal Submission
  • No deadlines
  • Deadlines
  • Target dates
  • Submission windows
  • Preliminary proposals

24
Sections of an NSF Proposal
  • Cover Sheet
  • Project Summary (one page)
  • Table of Contents
  • Project Description (15 pages max)
  • References Cited
  • Biographical Sketch(es)
  • Budget
  • Current Pending Support
  • Facilities, Equipment Other Resources
  • Special Information Supplementary
    Documentation

25
Put Together the Proposal
  • Identify intellectual merit (theoretical
    contribution)
  • Describe in as much detail as possible exactly
    what you want to do
  • Make sure your research team has appropriate
    capabilities
  • Describe broader impacts
  • Decide where to submit (co-review?)
  • E-mail or call appropriate program officer with
    specific questions

26
Budgetary Guidelines
  • Amounts
  • Reasonable for work - Realistic
  • Well justified - Needs are established
  • In-line with program guidelines
  • Eligible costs
  • Personnel (2 months max)
  • Equipment
  • Travel
  • Participant Support
  • Other Direct Costs (including subawards,
    consultant services, computer services,
    publication costs)

27
Getting Support in Proposal Writing
  • Program Officers
  • Incumbent
  • Former Rotators
  • Mentors on Campus
  • Previous Panelists
  • Serve As Reviewer
  • Sponsored Research Office
  • Examples of Successful Proposals
  • NSF Publications
  • Program Announcements/
  • Solicitations
  • Grant Proposal Guide
  • Web Pages
  • Funded Project Abstracts
  • Reports, Special Publications

28
Faculty Early Career Development Program--CAREER
  • Highly competitive (walk on water)
  • Not the bar exam model
  • Serious education component
  • Not team project
  • 5-year, 400K
  • RFA under review

29
Small Grants for Exploratory Research (SGER)
  • 200,000 maximum, 1-year awards
  • Must be either
  • Urgent as data are ephemeral, or
  • Highly exploratory (high risk, high payoff)
  • Quick turnaround review
  • Contact Program Officer before submitting

30
Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Awards
  • Archaeology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Decision, Risk Management Science
  • Geography Regional Science
  • Law and Social Science
  • Linguistics
  • Physical Anthropology
  • Political Science
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and
    Technology
  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • Human Cognition and Perception
  • Methodology, Measurement, Statistics

31
NSF Sources of Reviewers
  • Program Officers knowledge
  • References listed in the proposal
  • Google
  • Community of Science and other databases
  • Reviewers recommendations
  • Investigators suggestions

32
Funding Decisions
  • Program Officer decision
  • Feedback to PI
  • Informal and formal notification
  • Scope of work and budget discussions

33
Myths about NSF
  • Only funds scholars at elite graduate
    institutions
  • Only funds famous academics
  • Once declined, you are likely always to be
    declined
  • Only funds normal science
  • Advisory committees make funding decisions

34
Reasons for Declinations
  • Trust-me proposal
  • Not feasible
  • Expertise gaps
  • Insufficient funding
  • Too ambitious
  • Incremental contribution
  • Bad luck

35
NSF vs. NIH
  • NSF tends to be smaller
  • NSF is more open to risky, exploratory,
    paradigm-challenging work
  • NSF stresses basic research
  • NSF has no scoring system, percentile system
  • NSF program officers make funding decisions
  • NSF uses revision encouragement loosely

36
Advice
  • Learn to love rejection
  • Team up
  • E-mail or call Program Officer with specific
    questions
  • Encourage dissertation improvement grant
    proposals (check program first)

37
Useful to submit even if declined
  • Revise and resubmit
  • Discover other funding sources
  • Forces thinking
  • Build relationships
  • Receive reviews from experts

38
QUESTIONS??
  • Contact Bob OConnor
  • (703) 292-7263
  • roconnor_at_nsf.gov
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