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					           Grant Writing Tips
               Kim Sullivan
           Utah State University
        Former NSF Program Officer

Based on a workshop held at the 2006 ABS meeting by Godfrey
Bourne, Jerry Wolfe and Jerry Wilkinson
          NSF-Doctoral Dissertation
         Improvement Grant (DDIG)
• Advice applies to other grant programs as well.

• Eligibility- Ph.D. candidates (passed comprehensive
  exam) at a US institution.
• Research in area supported by Division of
   Environmental Biology (33% funding rate)
  -- Ecological Biology
  -- Ecosystem Science
  -- Population and Evolutionary Processes
  -- Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Initiatives
 AND Animal Behavior Program in the Integrative
  Organismal Biology Division (25% funding rate)
   Co-funding with International Programs and
   Engineering is possible
• Due 3rd Friday in November 5 pm
  local time. $12,000 budget
• “Improvement grant” don’t fund whole
• Follow the Grant Proposal Guidelines
  on website
• Contact the program director!
            What gets funded?
• Likely to have high impact, new and original ideas, must
  have importance beyond your particular system- don’t be
• Project plan focused and clear – 2-3 main objectives, lay
  out hypotheses with alternatives and predictions,
  expected outcomes, sound scientific rationale
• Knowledge of subject area and methods, current
• Realistic amount of work (not too ambitious) and realistic
• Clarity about future directions
• Broader impacts – will be returned without review if
NSF Criterion I Intellectual Merit

•   Potential for advancing knowledge
•   Well qualified to carry out the project
•   Creative and original
•   Conceptualization and organization
•   Access to resources
 NSF Criterion II Broader Impact

Advance discovery and understanding while promotion
teaching training and learning

Broaden the participation of underrepresented groups

Enhance infrastructure for research and education

Broad dissemination to enhance technological and
scientific understanding

Benefits to society
               Tips and Traps
• Know your audience, what are they looking to fund?
• Sell yourself and the project. Excite the reviewer in
  the first page. Original, wow factor, impact, use
  active voice
• Clearly id problem, theoretical basis, good model
  system for testing hypotheses
• Preliminary data
• Follow all of the rules (Grant Proposal Guidelines)
• Allow enough time to fix errors and have informal
            Style is important
• Make the proposal a “pleasure to read”
• Follow the rules on font size, line spacing,
  margins 12 point Times New Roman, don’t
  skimp on white space
• Use headings, bold, indents, figures, flowcharts,
• Cite references accurately
• Spell and grammar check
• Get letters of support if collaborators involved
• “Your proposal may state what you will do, but it
  shows what you can do”
• Talk to program officer if possible
• Determine the funding objectives of the
• Read successful proposals (abstracts may
  be posted online at agency website)
• Read directions and guidelines carefully
• Allow enough time for informal reviews
• If declined, consider resubmitting
Good luck!

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