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NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop. Mark E. Lewis November 13, 2004. Know your audience. Mostly senior faculty Various backgrounds (not necessarily in your particular field) Some will read closely…some may not Knowing your work a priori helps. Take advantage of your resources.

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nsf career proposal writing workshop

NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop

Mark E. Lewis

November 13, 2004

know your audience
Know your audience
  • Mostly senior faculty
  • Various backgrounds (not necessarily in your particular field)
  • Some will read closely…some may not
  • Knowing your work a priori helps
take advantage of your resources
Take advantage of your resources
  • Use senior faculty in your department (do you have a mentor?)
  • Talk to people at conferences…maybe even use them
  • Know your program officer
  • Talk to your advisor if possible
technical component
Technical Component
  • If you are not in the top 3 or 4, it is waste of time
  • Explain your objectives, maybe even list the tasks you want to complete
  • Be ambitious (it is a 5 year plan!)
  • Show that you have already had some success
  • This is not to come from your thesis
education component
Education Component
  • Assume you are already in the top 3-4
  • You can set yourself apart with the education component
  • Everybody includes “introduce a new class”
  • Find where your passion is
add ons
  • Can you get cost sharing from your university?
  • Use the writing centers at your university
  • The feedback you get may be harsh…buck-up
  • It is not the end of the world if you do not get it
my story
My Story
  • Original proposal considered different problems – same methodology
  • Discussed joint work with senior faculty
  • Had all the standard bells and whistles – class development, collabos with industry, some minority service stuff
the result
The Result
  • Disappointment!
  • No clearly defined objective
  • Dependent on others to pull me along
  • Education plan was really nothing to write home about
  • Completely reasonable reviews
second career
Second Career
  • Took one problem area from Career 1 and expanded
  • Nixed problems with senior faculty (although I did pursue one of them)
  • Took my work and expanded it considerably
  • Shortened course development and increased Minority service component
what s the difference
What’s the difference?
  • It is my CAREER, so senior faculty may be involved, but not significantly
  • Focusing on one problem area allowed for a more cohesive proposal
  • Used solo-authored paper to show (independent) potential
  • Minority service component set apart my education plan
pre preparation
  • Asked Senior faculty to read my proposal – including a former program director
  • Got help on the intro from writing center
  • Had a layperson read the intro
  • All had harsh feedback – all were very helpful
  • I won, but more importantly…
  • A more precise plan was implemented – research plan for the next 5+ years
  • Minority service resulted in increase in number of doctoral students in IOE
  • PECASE positions my tenure case well
if you do not get the award
If you do not get the award
  • You have a nice start toward a solo grant
  • You might be able to peal away parts for interesting collabos
  • Most importantly, you have a cohesive career plan that can lead you toward P&T
  • Use all of the resources at your disposal – period.
  • Shameless plug: We’re hiring – send us your best!
  • Thanks!
  • Contact info: melewis@engin.umich.edu