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How to Get NSF to Fund Your Social Science Research Robert E. O

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Title: How to Get NSF to Fund Your Social Science Research Robert E. O


1
How to Get NSF to Fund Your Social Science
Research Robert E. OConnor, DirectorProgram
in Decision, Risk and Management Sciences
Division of Social and Economic
SciencesDirectorate for Social, Behavioral, and
Economic SciencesNational Science
FoundationPenn State 2015
2
Workshop Outline
  • Background on the National Science Foundation
  • Social Science Research Opportunities
  • Submission Procedures
  • Separating Awards from Declinations

3
NSF in a Nutshell
  • Discipline-based structure
  • Cross-disciplinary mechanisms
  • Use of Rotators/IPAs
  • 2014 budget 7.172 billion
  • Independent Agency
  • Supports basic research
  • Uses grant mechanism
  • Low overhead highly automated

4
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
5
Office of the Director
Directorate for Social, Behavioral Economic
Sciences
Social and Economic Sciences
Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences
Science Resources Statistics
6
Why Do You Want NSF Funding?
  • Funds curiosity-driven research
  • Pays full overhead (no match)
  • Provides summer salary support
  • Uses the grant mechanism

7
Opportunities
  • Unsolicited competitions
  • Special solicitations (e.g., IBIS)
  • Rapid response research (RAPID)
  • Early-concept grants for exploratory research
    (EAGER)
  • CAREER grants
  • Dear Colleague Letter
  • Doctoral dissertation improvement grants
  • Research Coordination Networks

8
Where to Start?
  • www.nsf.gov
  • Check awards by program, keyword, etc.
    (www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/)
  • Read solicitation carefully (if not unsolicited
    competition)
  • Download Grant Proposal Guide
  • (http//www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods
    _keygpg)

9
Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
  • FY 2015 budget approximately 100 million
  • Decision, Risk, Management Sciences
  • Economics (Big Dog)
  • Science of Organizations
  • Law and Social Science
  • Methodology, Measurement Statistics
  • Political Science
  • Science, Technology and Society
  • Sociology

Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic
Sciences
10
SES Target Dates
January 15 August 15 Law and Social
Science Political Science Sociology January 16
August 16 Methods, Measures, and
Statistics January 18 August 18 Decision, Risk,
Management Sciences Economics February 1
August 1 Science and Society February 2
September 3 Science of Organizations
11
Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
  • FY 2015 budget 100 million
  • Archaeology Archaeometry
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Learning Sciences
  • Geography Regional Science
  • Linguistics
  • Perception, Action, Cognition
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Social Psychology

12
BCS Target Dates
  • January 14 July 14
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • January 15 July 15
  • Developmental Learning Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Social Psychology
  • January 15 August 15
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Geography Regional Science
  • January 20 August 20
  • Biological Anthropology
  • February 1 August 1
  • Perception, Cognition and Action
  • July 1 December 1
  • Archaeology

13
Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Awards
  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Decision, Risk, Management Science
  • Economics
  • Geography Regional Science
  • Law and Social Science
  • Linguistics
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Political Science
  • Science and Society
  • Sociology

Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic
Sciences
14
Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER)
Program
  • Untenured faculty (or comparable)
  • Single scholar award
  • 400,000, 5-years minimum award
  • Three proposals lifetime limit
  • July 1 deadline
  • Walk on Water expectation

15
Rapid Response Research (RAPID)
  • Research when data are ephemeral
  • 200,000 maximum 1 year
  • 5-page project description
  • Internal review only
  • Contact program officer first

16
Early-concept grants for exploratory research
(EAGER)
  • Exploratory work on untested, potentially
    transformative ideas
  • High-risk, high-potential payoff
  • 300,000 maximum 2 years
  • 8-page descriptive
  • Internal review only
  • Contact program officer first

17
Dear Colleague Letter Example Stimulating
Research Related to the Science of Broadening
Participation
  • http//www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14038/nsf14038.jsp
  • Submit to relevant SBE program
  • Front office to pay half of award

18
Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Science
Research
  • http//www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12614/nsf12614.htm
  • December 2, 2014 Deadline
  • 1M awards for interdisciplinary SBE science
  • Future uncertain

19
Research Coordination Networks
  • http//www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id11
    691
  • Support groups of scholars focused on a theme
  • Submit to a program
  • Limited to 5-years, 500,000

20
Special Program Dynamics of Coupled Natural
and Human Systems (CNH)
  • Funds quantitative, interdisciplinary analyses of
    relevant human and natural system processes and
    complex interactions at diverse scales
  • First permanent inter-directorate program
  • Now part of the SEES Investment

Program Officer Tom Baerwald
21
Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and
Water
  • New program to replace Water Sustainability and
    Climate
  • FY2016 budget request is 74,960,000
  • FY2015 DCL for supplements and workshops
  • March 30, 2015 deadline
  • http//www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15040/nsf15040.jsp

22
Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure
Systems and Processes
  • Integration of engineering, computer science, and
    social science
  • Three PIs
  • March 20, 2015 deadline
  • http//www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15531/nsf15531.htm
  • Big Future

23
NRT
  • National Science Foundation Research Traineeship
    Program
  • The new IGERT
  • http//www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_k
    eynsf15542
  • December 22, 2015 letters of intent
  • 3M for 5 years in for interdisciplinary graduate
    education

24
STEM Initiatives
  • NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education
     (GK-12)
  • National STEM Education Distributed Learning
     (NSDL)
  • Alliances for Broadening Participation in STEM
    (ABP)
  • As three examples . . . .

Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics
25
NSFs Future?
  • FY2016 budget request is a significant increase
    over 2015 budget
  • The eternal conflict disciplinary v.
    inter-disciplinary priorities
  • Threats to social science

26
Proposal Structure 1
  • Summary (1 page overview, intellectual merit,
    broader impacts)
  • Description (15 pages)
  • References (no limit, but.)
  • Biographical sketches (2 pages each)
  • Budget
  • Budget justification (3 pages)

27
Proposal Structure 2
  • Current and pending support
  • Data Management Plan
  • Post-Doc Mentoring Plan
  • Reviewing Suggestions (optional)

28
Proposal Process
Returned as Inappropriate/Withdrawn
Award via DGA
Proposal Processing Unit
NSF Program Officer
Decline
Organization
Proposal received by NSF
Div. Dir. Concur
Award
4 months
30 days
DGA Review Processing of Award
Proposal Preparation Time
Review of Proposal P.O. Recommend

29
NSF Sources of Reviewers
  • Program Officers knowledge
  • References listed in the proposal
  • Google
  • Community of Science and other databases
  • Reviewers recommendations
  • Investigators suggestions

30
Human Subjects
  • No award for a project involving human subjects
    can be made without prior Institutional Review
    Board (IRB) approval of the research activity.
  • IRB approval is not needed at the time of
    proposal submission.

31
Funding Decisions
  • Program Officer decision
  • Feedback to PI
  • Informal and formal notification
  • Scope of work and budget discussions

32
Two Funding Criteria
  • Intellectual merit
  • Broader impacts

33
Intellectual Merit?
  • NSF funds basic research
  • NSF funds basic research
  • Intellectual merit means increasing knowledge
    through developing and examining basic theories
    or methods

34
Broader Impacts
  • The Project Description must contain, as a
    separate section within the narrative, a
    discussion of the broader impacts of the proposed
    activities. Broader impacts may be accomplished
    through the research itself, through the
    activities that are directly related to specific
    research projects, or through activities that are
    supported by, but are complementary to the
    project. NSF values the advancement of scientific
    knowledge and activities that contribute to the
    achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such
    outcomes include, but are not limited to full
    participation of women, persons with
    disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in
    science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
    (STEM) improved STEM education and educator
    development at any level increased public
    scientific literacy and public engagement with
    science and technology improved well-being of
    individuals in society development of a diverse,
    globally competitive STEM workforce increased
    partnerships between academia, industry, and
    others improved national security increased
    economic competitiveness of the United States
    and enhanced infrastructure for research and
    education.

35
Budget Tips
  • Amounts
  • Reasonable for work -- Realistic
  • Well justified -- Need established
  • In-line with program guidelines
  • Eligible costs
  • Personnel
  • Equipment
  • Travel
  • Other Direct Costs, Subawards
  • Facilities Administrative Costs

36
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

37
Reasons for Declinations
  • Trust-me proposal
  • Not feasible
  • Expertise gaps
  • Insufficient funding
  • Too ambitious
  • Incremental contribution
  • Bad luck

38
How to Put Together an Interdisciplinary Team
  • Commit for the long haul
  • Be wary if untenured
  • Expect a long development period
  • Find a wise and strong leader
  • Proposals need coherence
  • Leaders need to listen and then decide
  • Meet for intellectual as well as task-related
    purposes

39
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

40
Advice
  • Learn to love rejection
  • Team up
  • E-mail or call Program Officer with specific
    questions
  • Encourage dissertation improvement grant
    proposals (check program first)

41
Useful to submit even if declined
  • Revise and resubmit
  • Discover other funding sources
  • Forces thinking
  • Build relationships
  • Receive reviews from experts

42
QUESTIONS??
  • Contact Bob OConnor
  • (703) 292-7263
  • roconnor_at_nsf.gov
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