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NSF Research Opportunities For Social Scientists. Harold Clarke Ashbel Smith Professor University of Texas at Dallas and University of Essex Former NSF Division Director, Social and Economic Sciences. Independent Agency Supports basic research Natural & Social Sciences

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nsf research opportunities for social scientists

NSF Research OpportunitiesFor Social Scientists

Harold Clarke

Ashbel Smith Professor

University of Texas at Dallas and

University of Essex

Former NSF Division Director,

Social and Economic Sciences

nsf in a nutshell
Independent Agency

Supports basic research

Natural & Social Sciences

Uses grant mechanism

Discipline-based structure

Cross-disciplinary mechanisms

Mix of Permanent & Visiting Staff

NSF in a Nutshell
why you might want nsf funding
Why You Might Want NSF Funding
  • Funds basic research
  • Funds both theory development & data collection
  • Funds infrastructure development – everything from submarines to software
  • Provides summer salary support
  • Funds doctoral dissertation research
  • Program Development Opportunities
slide4

Office of the Director

Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences

Social and Economic Sciences

Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences

Science Resources Statistics

opportunities
Opportunities
  • Unsolicited competitions
  • Special initiatives (e.g., Democratization)
  • Rapid response research (RAPID)
  • Early concept grants for exploratory research (EAGER)
  • CAREER grants
  • Doctoral dissertation improvement grants
social and economic sciences
Social and Economic Sciences

FY09 Program Allocations (~millions of dollars)

  • Cross-Directorate Activities $3.8
  • Decision, Risk, & Management Sciences $7.5
  • Economics $25.8
  • Innovation and Organizational Sciences $3.4
  • Law and Social Science $5.1
  • Methodology, Measurement & Statistics $4.0
  • Political Science $9.9
  • Science and Society $8.9
  • Sociology $9.5

Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

where to start
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
  • Contact Program Officer once you have formed and organized your ideas
slide8

SES Target Dates

January 15 & August 15

Law and Social Science

Political Science

Sociology

January 16 & August 16

Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics

January 18 & August 18

Decision, Risk, & Management Sciences

Economics

February 1 & August 1

Science and Society

February 2 & September 3

Innovation and Organizational Sciences

faculty early career development career program
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
  • High expectations
rapid response research rapid
Rapid Response Research (RAPID)
  • Research when data are ephemeral, e.g. study impact of stimulus package
  • $200,000 maximum; 1 year
  • 5 page project description
  • Internal review only
  • Contact program officer first
early concept grants for exploratory research eager
Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER)
  • Exploratory work on untested, potentially transformative ideas
  • High-risk, high-potential payoff
  • $300,000 maximum; 2 years
  • Eight page description
  • Internal review only
  • Contact program officer first
dear colleague letter example integrating hsd goals into core sbe programs
Dear Colleague Letter Example: Integrating HSD Goals into Core SBE Programs
  • Complexity Science
  • Large-scale Interdisciplinary Research
  • Infrastructure
slide13

NSF

Proposal

Generating

Document

Minimum

of 3

Reviews

Required

Organization

submits

via

FastLane

Program

Officer

Analysis

&

Recom-

mendation

Ad hoc

Division

Director

Concur

Panel

Both

Research &

Education

Communities

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

finding reviewers
Finding Reviewers
  • Program Officer’s knowledge
  • References listed in the proposal
  • Google & online data bases
  • Reviewer’s recommendations
  • Investigator’s suggestions
human subjects
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.
funding decision process
Funding Decision Process
  • Program Officer decision
  • Feedback to PI
  • If Your Proposal is Recommended…
  • Scope of Work & Budget Discussions
  • Division Director Concur (typically yes)
  • Formal notification of Recommendation
two funding criteria
Two Funding Criteria
  • Intellectual merit
  • Broader impacts
  • Both are Important – intellectual merit is necessary but not sufficient
intellectual merit
Intellectual Merit
  • NSF funds basic research
  • NSF funds basic research
  • Intellectual merit means increasing knowledge through developing and testing theories, gathering data relevant to theory testing, developing methods relevant to theory testing
  • Leading-edge science
broader impacts
Broader Impacts
  • Promote teaching, training and learning
  • Broaden participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geography)
  • Enhance infrastructure for research and education, e.g., facilities, instrumentation
  • Disseminate results broadly to bolster scientific and technological understanding
  • Benefit society
slide20

Budget Tips

  • Amounts
    • Reasonable for work – Realistic – Don’t be greedy!
    • Well Justified -- Need established (Do You Really Need 9 Trips to Paris?)
    • In-line with program guidelines
  • Eligible costs
    • Personnel
    • Equipment
    • Travel
    • Other Direct Costs, Subawards
    • Facilities & Administrative Costs
some urban legends about the nsf
Some Urban Legends about the 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”
  • Only funds American topics
  • Panels make funding decisions
reasons for declinations
Reasons for Declinations
  • “Trust-me” proposal (I’m a bright person!)
  • Expertise gaps
  • Too Expensive (Program budgets are small!)
  • Incremental contribution
  • Competition, Competition….
  • Bad luck
  • Unhappy with Decision? You are not alone!
nsf and the arra stimulus package
NSF and the ARRA (Stimulus Package)
  • NSF - Total Stimulus Package ~$3 billion
  • SES - Total Stimulus Package ~$41 million
  • Very closely monitored (priorities - CAREERS, 1st time investigators, review very well)
  • ARRA ONE-SHOT!
  • Back to regular business in 2010
how ses spent the arra
How SES Spent the ARRA$
  • SES initially given $27 million
  • Clarke-Scioli Experiment - 8 + 1 shares (DD strategic reserve)
  • Can Small Programs Do More 1st Rate Science?
  • Yes!
  • Additional Competitions as $ became available
  • e.g., Political Science - $4.5 million
advice
Advice
  • Study Important Topics
  • Study Interesting Topics (Don't be boring!)
  • Team up with smart people
  • Team up with creative people
  • Being interdisciplinary helps
  • Critically review your own proposal – before you hit the ‘send’ button!
slide27

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

restrictions monitoring
Restrictions, Monitoring
  • In-House Proposals From Fall 2008 & Spring 2009 Rounds
  • Priorities ->
  • CAREERS
  • First-Time Investigators
  • RAPIDS & EAGERS
  • Dissertations
  • Closely Monitored