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DEVELOPING YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM WITH NSF Prepared for the 2002 NSF Design, Service & Manufacturing Grantees & Research Conference San Juan, Puerto Rico 7-10 January 2002 NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference NSF Initiatives

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developing your research program with nsf


Prepared for the

2002 NSF Design, Service & Manufacturing Grantees & Research Conference

San Juan, Puerto Rico

7-10 January 2002

NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference

nsf initiatives
NSF Initiatives

Nano Science and Engineering (NSE)

Haris Doumanidis,

Information Technology Research (ITR)

Ron Rardin,

Bio-complexity and Environment (BE)

Delcie Durham,

dmii program clusters
Industrial Innovation Programs

Innovation and Organizational Change (IOC)

Donald Senich

Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI)

Donald Senich

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Joseph E. Hennessey and his team:

Cheryl Albus * Jean Bonney

Ritchie Coryell * Michael Crowley

Sara Nerlove * James Rudd

Om Sahai * Winslow Sargeant

George Vermont * Rosemarie Wesson

Engineering Decision Systems

Engineering Design

George A. Hazelrigg

Manufacturing Enterprise Systems

Janet M. Twomey

Service Enterprise Engineering

Ronald L. Rardin

Operations Research

Ronald L. Rardin

Manufacturing Processes & Equipment Systems

Manufacturing Machines & Equipment

Kamlakar P. Rajurkar

Materials Processing and Manufacturing

Delcie R. Durham


Charalabos (Haris) Doumanidis

DMII Program Clusters


  • Introduction Kesh Narayanan
  • Meeting Your PO Charalabos Doumanidis
  • Getting Started Janet M. Twomey
  • Proposal Submission Delcie R. Durham
  • Proposal Processing K. P. Rajurkar
  • What Comes After Ronald L. Rardin
  • Being a Reviewer George A. Hazelrigg
meeting your program officer


NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference

preparing for the meeting
Preparing for The Meeting…
  • When and where can I meet with my Program Officer?
    • * At the annual NSF DMII Grantees Conference:
    • - various workshops - at your poster - PO office hours
    • - PO’s breakout sessions - special panels - banquet socials…
    • * At various society meetings and conferences
    • * At NSF during scheduled visits,
    • panel meetings etc.
    • * At your institution during
    • a scheduled visit by your PO.
        • What Program is for me?
        • * Depends on your research objectives
  • * Look at our web site (
  • What if I am not able to meet in person with my PO?
    • * Feel free to email or call to introduce yourself
meeting your po before submitting a proposal
Meeting your PO(before submitting a proposal)
  • What can you learn from it?
    • * Program scope, focus and objectives
    • * Program data (budgets, award rates etc.)
    • * Relationship with other programs, divisions, directorates
    • * New funding opportunities: initiatives, solicitations
    • * Special and cross-cutting programs:
  • What do you want to get out of the meeting?
    • * Introduce yourself
    • * Find out how your research objectives match NSF programs
    • * Get feedback on your ideas
at the meeting do s
At the Meeting … (Do’s)
  • * Ask for related NSF brochures,
  • announcements, and contacts
  • * Volunteer to serve as a panelist
  • for NSF proposal review panels
  • * Leave a short biography and
  • your business card with the PO…
  • What should I do?
    • * Bebrief and to the point
    • * Listen to your PO
    • * Be ready to state,
    • “The objective of my research is…”
at the meeting dont s
At the Meeting … (Dont’s)
  • * Push your PO for a SGER
  • when there is no SGER idea
  • * Push your PO for emergency
  • funding before a crisis…
  • * Repeat how great your past work
  • or upcoming proposal is –
  • - remember, your audience is the
  • reviewer panel, NOT just your PO.
  • What should I NOT do?
    • * Wait for the PO to end the meeting
    • * Talk to yourself about yourself
    • from your own perspective
    • * Start a 40-minute presentation on your laptop
    • * Overwhelm your PO with papers etc.
    • * Explain to your PO what NSF does
    • * Force-fit your interests to the Program objectives and vice versa
meeting your po after a grant or declination
Meeting your PO(after a grant or declination)
  • Why also meet with my Program Officer?
    • * Provide your PO with feedback and suggestions
    • to improve the Program performance
    • * Participate in Program activities and opportunities
    • * Arm the PO to get public leverage for your funding
    • (articles, web pages, samples, media clips etc.)
    • * Support new NSF initiatives and programs
    • Why meet with my Program Officer?
  • * Get constructive feedback from proposal reviews
  • and advice on how to improve your project
  • * Get information on other funding sources
  • * Keep the PO informed of your progress
  • * Explore long-term planning and support strategies
after the meeting
After The Meeting…
  • How should I proceed?
    • * Make best use of the PO’s information and advice
    • - learn more on NSF from brochures and the web (
    • - implement your PO’s suggestions in your proposals and grants
    • * Let your PO know how your meeting has served you
    • * Prepare for your next meeting with your Program Officer…
    • (meet not too often, not too seldom…)

Your NSF Program Officers

are looking forward to meeting you…

getting started a both sides of the brain exercise

GETTING STARTED(a both-sides-of-the-brain exercise)

NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference

the research proposal
The Research Proposal

There is no “FORMULA” for a successful proposal,


  • there is a format you must follow (NSF 02-2)
    • pay attention to margins and font size
  • the scope MUST be research, not development
  • nothing excites reviewers more than a new idea
    • clearly explained, NOVEL ideas can win!
  • get it in on time
    • solicitations have deadlines - read the program announcement
    • unsolicited proposals to DMII may be submitted
      • 1 September thru 1 October (deadline)
      • 1 January thru 1 February (deadline)
criteria 1 2
Criteria 1 & 2
  • Criterion 1 - What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
    • This criterion addresses the overall quality of the proposed activity to advance science and engineering through research and education.
  • Criterion 2 - What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
    • This criterion addresses the overall impact of the proposed activity.
what some thoughts
What? Some thoughts-


  • what should you propose? Your area of interest?
  • FOCUS on your strengths – not just the current trend of the day (“Nano”, “9-11”, or something interesting you saw on the Discovery Channel)

Establish a plan for yourself based upon your expertise:

  • Where are the frontiers of knowledge/how can your approach be innovative?/what contribution will you make?
  • Who else is tackling these issues?
  • What recent awards have been made/what funding sources are available?
  • Have there been recent advances/breakthroughs?
  • What has been published - globally?
  • Is there industry interest?
is there a home for your idea actions for you to take
Is there a home for your idea?Actions for you to take
  • Subscribe to the NSF Custom News Service
  • Read NSF Program Announcements and the Division websites
    • Do NOT “force fit” topics into programs
    • Are you eligible? What is the deadline?
    • Check that the program exists - just because there was an announcement in 1997 doesn’t mean you should prepare a new proposal now
  • Identify what program you think the proposal topic fits into, then e-mail or call the NSF program director (BEFORE the due date) if you have questions
only 15 pages what to do
Only 15 pages! What to do?

Use the space wisely - clarity of thought and brevity of word - more is not always better

On Page 1 - state what you are going to do and why - don’t make reviewers wait until page 7, it shouldn’t be a mystery.

Make at least the introduction understandable to any technically educated person. Not all members of the panel will be expert in your sub-discipline.

Page limits/fonts/margins ARE important - don’t use small fonts - don’t disqualify your proposal ! ! !

only 15 pages what to do18
Only 15 pages! What to do?

Pages 2-15


  • Acknowledge the work of others
  • Demonstrate your prior work


  • Lay out your research plan (an idea is not enough)
  • Method of validating results
  • How you handle obstacles
  • Broader impacts including education (possibilities include lifelong learning, K-12 outreach, industry as well as undergraduate and graduate), environment, energy, economics
the project summary the most important page
The Project SummaryThe Most Important Page
  • What: Clearly state the research objectives first
  • Why: Is this research needed? Justification!
  • How: Describe the major research tasks and how this meets Criteria 2 in terms of broader impacts
  • Who: Provide information on you and your team and why you are the ones to do this research
  • Collaboration: If this involves more than one Principle Investigator, demonstrate the strengths and synergy of the team

Criteria 2 MUST be explicitly addressed in the ProjectSummary and the Project Description or your proposal will be disqualified and returned as inappropriate

how to submit


NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference

fastlane required


  • First box - put in UP-to-DATE announcement #
  • NSF Organization: Identify the right NSF program(s) / unit(s) - Question? Check!
  • GOALI proposal - GOALI must be first word of title, and have industry co-PI on coversheet
  • Title: Keep it short, informative, and don’t use acronyms or buzz words
  • Identify if proposal is being sent to another agency - NOTIFY NSF if funded by another agency

DO NOT submit duplicate proposals to multiple programs, regardless!

fastlane required22

Format: Make sure that what you see is what we get! Don’t have your proposal returned as disqualified:

  • CONFORMANCE to formatting is REQUIRED!
  • Project Description CANNOT be more than 15 pages
  • DO NOT compress- lines/in, chars/in, figures
  • DO NOT include appendices, unless specifically instructed in a solicitation
  • YOU MUST include titles of papers in references

A, B, C's:

accuracy, brevity, conformance

the budget nsf form 1030
The Budget NSF Form 1030
  • Budget Explanation
    • Explain line items of budget on separate budget justification/explanation page(s)
    • maximum 3 pages
  • NSF-Funded Person-Months
    • CAL: Use column for 12 month employees ONLY
      • this column is NOT for adding up academic & summer months
the budget nsf form 103024
The Budget NSF Form 1030
  • Graduate Students/Undergraduate Students
    • DO: Place salaries on lines B.3 and B.4.
    • DO: Place tuition costs on line G.6, “Other”, and explain on budget justification page.
      • UNLESS institution/organization has negotiated these costs as “fringe benefits”
  • All listed budget categories are specific; for any unspecified categories use OTHER (i.e. B.6, F.4)
the budget nsf form 103025
The Budget NSF Form 1030
  • Travel
    • Domestic
      • Itemize travel on budget explanation page
      • Include attendance at annual NSF Design, Service & Manufacturing Grantees & Research Conference
    • Foreign
      • Provide details of travel on budget explanation page
      • Include the foreign location and reason for travel- don’t forget that you can request a supplement after an award!
the budget nsf form 103026
The Budget NSF Form 1030
  • Consultant Services
    • Justify services and furnish information on consultant’s:
      • expertise
      • primary organizational affiliation
      • normal daily compensation
      • expected number of days of service
      • travel expenses including subsistence
    • Include a letter of agreement signed by consultant stating their daily rate
    • Maximum rate for consultant is currently $482/day (
the budget nsf form 103027
The Budget NSF Form 1030
  • Subawards - another institution? Look at Collaborative Research opportunities first!
    • Minimum Requirements
      • Description of work to be performed
      • Basis for selection of subawardee
        • except for collaborative/joint arrangements
      • Separate budget (NSF Form 1030) for each subaward
        • signed by subcontracted PI and Institutional authorized representative
        • forwarded to proposing organization
  • Cost Sharing
    • If required by a specific solicitation, or proposing institution commits to amount in excess of 1% minimum, amount must be entered on Line M
collaborative research proposals a win win
Collaborative ResearchProposals - a Win-Win
  • Submit separate proposals from each institution
  • All proposals MUST be submitted to SAME PROGRAM
  • All proposals MUST have SAME TITLE
  • Start title with “Collaborative Research:”
  • Lead proposal has the Project Summary, Description and References
  • Each proposal has its own budget, bios, current/pending support
proposal processing at nsf


NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference

what happens when your proposal gets to nsf
What happens when your proposal gets to NSF
  • A stack the equivalent of 2-4 stories high is printed daily by PPU and sent to the divisions/programs
  • FastLane receives electronic proposals - proposal number is instantly assigned when submitted
  • Proposal Processing Unit (PPU) checks for conformance to Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and prints the proposals for the Division
  • If the PI identifies a Specific Announcement/ Solicitation No./... AND the Dir/Div/Prog, the proposal will reach the proper program/division within NSF
    • Otherwise, the proposal may be sent around NSF, based on the title of the proposed project, until a home is found causing a considerable delay (missing the deadline)
what do we spend all that time doing
What do we spend all that time doing
  • Program Assistant places a hard copy of the proposal into a file, a jacket in NSF jargon, and electronically assigns division and program codes to the proposal
    • At this point proposal is recognized within NSF as pending
    • The jackets are delivered to the Program Directors

Elapsed time: approximately 3 weeks

  • Program Directors then review the proposals and
    • Find a home or accept proposals for a “better fit”
    • Handle uncommon or problem proposals

Elapsed time: approximately 6 weeks

how do we select a review process panelists
How do we select a review process/panelists
  • Program Directors
    • Classify proposals into sub-panels requiring same (or nearly same) technical expertise
    • Size the sub-panel and pick a date
    • Recruit panelists who have no conflicts of interest and:
      • Have expertise/contribute to the balance of the panel
      • Have time to read proposals, write reviews, and come to NSF

Elapsed time: approximately 7 weeks

  • Program Assistants:
    • set up panel for electronic review in FastLane
    • Contact panelists with FastLane ID, password, and review assignments (matrix)
    • Handle contingencies

Elapsed time: approximately 8 weeks

NOTE: We no longer send out hard copies of proposals unless specifically requested

what happens at a panel meeting
What happens at a panel meeting
  • DMII Runs One Day Panels With 5-12 People
  • Typical Agenda:
    • Sign In and Welcome
    • Conflict of Interest Briefing and Panel Procedures
    • Program Directors remind panelists that deliberations are confidential
    • Sub-Panels discuss, rate (PC/SC/DNC) and rank each proposal, and prepare a written panel summary
  • Review package after the panel meeting consists of:
    • 3 or more FastLane submitted individual reviews
    • Word-processed panel summary (with signed original)
    • Signed matrix with COIs, rating and ranking annotated

Elapsed time: approximately 12 weeks

what happens after the panel review
What happens after the panel review
  • Program Director actions after ALL panels are completed
    • Review content of individual reviews
    • Decide on declinations and tentative funding priorities considering funds available/panel recommendations and discussions/program balance
    • Prepare a review analysis making recommendation to Division Director
    • Negotiate budgets as needed
    • Obtain abstracts for award recommendations
  • Declinations are official when the Division Director concurs

NOTE: Declinations are now done electronically – you will receive an email and 24 hours later you can access the reviews and panel summary via FastLane

Elapsed time: approximately 16 weeks

when do you get an award notice
When do you get an award notice?
  • Proposals recommended for award must be approved at the divisional level then forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for final award action and notification


(they usually follow our recommendation, but bear in mind that they process about 20,000 award actions per year)

Elapsed time: approximately 22-24 weeks

what comes after grants postmortems


NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference

you have an award who will you be working with
You Have an AwardWho Will You Be Working With?

Research Developments

Informal Policy Guidance


Program Director

Project Team

Administrative Inquiries





Campus Office of

Sponsored Programs

NSF Division of Grants

and Agreements (DGA)

DMII Program


you have an award progress reports
You Have an AwardProgress Reports
  • Your award may be
    • Standard = basic grant funded in one increment
    • Continuing = funding by annual increments
  • For all grants over 1 year duration, annual reports are due 90 days prior to the anniversary date of the grant, but no later than May 1
  • Final reports are due within 90 days after grant expiration
  • Failure to file reports can delay increments for continuing grants and new awards on which you are the PI or Co-PI
  • All reports must be submitted through FastLane
    • Use designated sections - you are REQUIRED to fill in the sections - not just write “see attached”
    • Submit title, authors, citation and abstract on papers
    • Document industrial involvement (especially GOALI)
    • Document REU involvement if you have received REU supplement
you have an award grantees conferences and nuggets
You Have an AwardGrantees Conferences and Nuggets
  • Annual DMIIGrantees Conferences provide an opportunity for all PIs to interact with your peers
    • Attendance MUST be budgeted in your grant
    • Can submit a paper for the Proceedings
    • Poster presentation required (plans & results)
  • Nuggets are significant research achievements
    • Are documented by DMII to justify our budgets
    • Submit by email to your Program Director as they occur
    • Include in your annual and final reports
    • Include in your poster at the Grantees conference
you have an award supplements
You Have an AwardSupplements
  • Supplemental funding to assure completion of original scope of work is generally rare
  • International Travel Supplements
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): supplements of $6K-$12K to involve 1-2 undergraduates in research
  • Research Experiences for Teachers (RET): supplements of $10K to involve K-12 teachers in research
  • Contact your Program Director prior to submitting because budget constraints are a factor
  • Must be submitted formally via FastLane (use “Supplemental Funding Request” module)
    • Submit request early in fiscal year while funds are available
    • Brief justification/explanation, budget, staff description
you have an award no cost extensions
You Have an AwardNo Cost Extensions
  • Grantees who need extra time may seek no cost extensions (NCEs)
    • The first NCE is granted by the campus Office of Sponsored Programs (no NSF review)
    • A subsequent NCE requires NSF approval via FastLane
    • Ask for 12 months (even if you think you won’t need them all)
    • Submit at least 45 days before grant expiration to assure that grant is not closed out by NSF
    • Keep sending in Annual Reports
  • Request should include
    • Justification of the need and a plan to complete the work (not new work or just to “spend what’s left”)
    • Amount of unobligated funds remaining and a plan for how they will be spent
you have an award other grant changes
You Have an AwardOther Grant Changes
  • Keep in mind that the grant is to your institution/ organization, not to you personally
  • Grant changes usually require NSF approval and are submitted via FastLane with suitable justification
  • Examples:
    • Movement of funds between some categories within the budget
      • Request may be made through email to the PD
    • Permanent change of PI (usually due to PI leaving)
      • Not available on CAREER grants
    • Acting PI (usually due to extended PI absence)
    • Transfer of grant to another university (due to PI move)
      • Need new budget and approval of both universities
      • Submit via FastLane
you have been declined how to gain from the experience
You Have Been DeclinedHow to Gain from the Experience
  • Keep in mind that you are almost certainly in the majority
    • Never enough budget to fund all the good proposals
    • Consider the experience a chance to learn
  • You will be provided with all written Reviews and a Summary of the Panel Discussion
    • What guidance was provided for shaping the research and future proposals?
    • Did reviewers misunderstand your intentions?
    • Were reviewers from outside your field confused?
    • Was proposal submitted to the wrong NSF program?
    • Remember reviews were tempered by panel discussion
    • Your Program Director or faculty mentors can help you interpret the reviews
  • There is an official process for appeal
    • It begins by contacting your Program Director
being a reviewer


NSF Design, Service and Manufacturing Grantees and Research Conference

be a reviewer
  • Proposal review is an important service to your community
  • There’s no better way to see how the system works
  • There’s no better way to understand what makes a winning proposal
  • If you think the system is unfair, try being part of it
how to volunteer
  • Contact your program director
  • E-mail a brief (1-page) bio to your program director
  • Be sure to include your contact information
  • Indicate your areas of expertise
panelist selection criteria
  • Panelists are selected based upon their areas of expertise to cover the submitted proposals
  • We do our best to avoid conflicts of interest
    • You generally will not be selected if there is a proposal from your institution in the group
    • You generally will not be selected if there are other obvious conflicts
  • We try to obtain a mix of experienced and new panelists from academe, industry and Federal labs
  • We try to obtain demographic diversity, gender balance, representation from underrepresented groups
proposal assignment
  • Each panelist will be assigned to review about 10 proposals
  • Each proposal will be assigned 4-6 panelists
  • We do our best to match proposals to panelists’ expertise
  • We do our best to avoid conflicts of interest
  • We will allow you to trade proposals with other panelists as appropriate
panelist responsibilities
  • You have committed yourself to the task, you now have the responsibility to do a good job
  • Get prepared for the panel meeting
    • Make travel reservations via FastLane
    • Make/confirm hotel reservation
    • Read the assigned proposals
    • Write comprehensive reviews (do the best you can with all the proposals to which you have been assigned)
    • Submit your reviews via FastLane at least two days BEFORE coming to the panel meeting (you can change scores and resubmit your reviews at the meeting)
    • Come to the panel meeting prepared (be absent only for extreme causes, failure to submit reviews on time disrupts the progress of the panel)
  • Take an active part in the panel discussions
how to review a proposal a good proposal has certain qualities look for them
HOW TO REVIEW A PROPOSALA good proposal has certain qualities-look for them:
  • Is there a clearly stated research objective?
  • Is the objective really research (not development, not computer programming)?
  • Is the research well motivated?
  • Is the research properly placed in context of extant knowledge and literature?
  • Is there a viable plan to accomplish stated research objective?
  • Is the proposed method self-consistent, is the math correct?
  • Are the PIs capable of accomplishing the research plan?
  • Is the institutional infrastructure adequate?
  • What is the broader impact of the research?
  • What is the contribution to education?
  • Is the budget reasonable?
  • Are the PIs available to perform the research?
the written review
  • You can start with: “This proposal is about...”
  • Be sure to add:
    • Your analysis of the merits of the proposal
    • Strengths of the proposal
    • Weaknesses, errors, bad concepts, contradictions in proposal
    • Justify your rating (do not judge fundability)
  • Do not put inflammatory comments in your review
    • Be hard on the proposal content, be gentle on the PI(s)
  • Be sure to address both NSF proposal review criteria
    • Technical Merit and Broader Impact (now MANDATORY)
  • Your written comments are the principal form of feedback
    • They are forwarded to the PI(s) verbatim
    • Your comments should help the PI(s) write better proposals and perform better research
at the panel meeting

8:00-8:30 - Meet others, coffee and pastries

8:30-9:00 - Welcome/mandatory conflict-of-interest briefing

9:00 - Adjourn to sub-panels:

  • Each proposal will be discussed individually
  • Everyone gets a chance to speak
  • Minutes of this discussion must be taken
    • Minutes go verbatim to the PI
  • The proposals, as a group, will then be placed in Primary Consideration, Secondary Consideration, or Do-Not-Consider categories
    • Those in PC and SC categories will be ranked
confidentiality and anonymity

Remember, this is a confidential process and NSF strives to protect your anonymity and you are required to do the same

  • NSF compensates panelists for certain transportation expenses and provides an honorarium
  • Current reimbursement, including honorarium, is:
    • $280 per travel day
    • $480 per meeting day
    • Train or airline tickets are provided in addition to these amounts
  • No accounting of specific expenses is required (keep track of expenses for your records – you will receive a 1099 for all amounts over $600)
  • Be sure to make government travel reservations ONLY as instructed
Questions ???
  • It’s always better to ask
  • Visit our website for updates