NSF Grant Writing Strategy - National Science Foundation

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NSF Grant Writing Strategy - National Science Foundation Powered By Docstoc
					NSF Grant Writing Strategy

      John R. Regalbuto

    Dept. of Chemical Engineering
    University of Illinois at Chicago
                   and


       Former Director (2006-09)
   Catalysis and Biocatalysis Program
                  NSF
In Remembrance of

        James M. Lee

           Professor
 School of Chemical Engineering
      and Bioengineering
  Washington State University
A Tough Row to Hoe…
Outline

How to make yourself known
How to gauge the competition
How to pick a program
How to survive proposal review
The SECRET to writing a
successful proposal
Program
Directors

Initial contact (Option #1):
   Volunteer for a review panel

   Part of NSF’s YFF on Wednesday

   Great teaching and learning
    mechanism for young faculty

   A big help for CAREER submissions
NSF Sources of
Reviewers or Panelists

Current or past NSF awardees
PIs who submit competitive
proposals
Technical meeting programs
Computer Search
Young professors who volunteer
Most successful awardees
are active reviewers.

How can you be an active
reviewer when you are not
an awardee?
   Submit proposals
   Volunteer
   Be a good reviewer or panelist
Program Directors

Initial contact (Option #2):
   Send in a project summary requesting
    an evaluation of the fit to the
    program

   (Do the homework first to determine
    in fact that you’ve found the right
    program.)
Program Directors

Need your help post-award:
   Research accomplishments/highlights/
    nuggets/soundbites

   Remember NSF when you become rich
    and famous
How to find about
your competitors

Visit NSF web site.
    Current grant search
     • PIs:       Who are they?
     • Title:     What are hot areas?
     • Abstracts: How to focus your research?
     • Budget:    Guide for your budget.

    Visit current grantees’ web sites for
     more details of their research progress.
Competitive Proposals

 New ideas in cutting-edge areas
 with sound scientific rationale
 Focused project plan – sufficient
 details
 Critical approach
 Realistic amount of work
 Adequate budget
Try to do a perfect job
without being a perfectionist

                Follow guidelines
                Good writing
                Good looking
                No typos
                Start early
Try to do a perfect job
without being a perfectionist

              Follow guidelines
              Good writing
              Good looking
              No typos
              Start early
NSF Merit Review Criteria

 What is the intellectual
 merit and quality of the
 proposed activity?

 What are the broader
 impacts of the proposed
 activity?
       If your proposal is declined,
       do not take it too personally.


It is the reviewer’s job to criticize.
Even top researchers get criticized,
get low ratings, and get declined.
If the criticisms are wrong, ignore
them.
Resubmit your proposal after
thorough revision.
Competitive Proposals

Cover page
Summary
                           real meat
Project description
Budget and justification
2 page resume
Letters of support
Competitive Proposals
                                                     Project
Demonstrate knowledge of field
                                                     description
    ≥ 75 literature citations
Demonstrate competence                               Intro and
    Prior work                                      prior work
    Letters of support where appropriate
Postulate a clear, well defined
hypothesis                                           Hypothesis
    Be as specific as possible
                                                     & objective
Propose a well thought out plan of work
    Judicious calculations or experiments to test   Proposed
     your hypothesis
    Compelling preliminary data
                                                     work
    Reasonable scope and budget
The SECRET to
NSF Proposal success:

The Scientific Method plays well at the
National Science Foundation


A tractable hypothesis is key
   Demonstrates forethought and understanding
   Helps reviewers understand the research
Competitive Proposals
                                                     Project
Demonstrate knowledge of field
                                                     description
    ≥ 75 literature citations
Demonstrate competence                               Intro and
    Prior work                                      prior work
    Letters of support where appropriate
Postulate a clear, well defined hypothesis           Hypothesis
    Be as specific as possible                      & objective
Propose a well thought out plan of work
    Judicious calculations or experiments to test
     your hypothesis                                 Proposed
    Compelling preliminary data                     work
    Reasonable scope and budget
Competitive Proposals
Pay attention to broader impacts
    Technical impact
    Educational/outreach activities             Broader
      • Involvement of underrepresented groups   impacts
      • K-12 education programs
      • Broad dissemination of results

Work hard on the summary
    Explicit statement of scientific merit
                                                 Project
     Explicit statement of broader impact
 
                                                 summary
    Don’t overcrowd or undercrowd
Pop Quiz: Reviewing Exercise!

   Critique of Project Summaries
      Is it all in there?
        • Background
        • PI competence
        • Hypothesis
        • Proposed work
        • Compelling data
        • High impact
        • Outreach/education
Pop Quiz: Reviewing Exercise!



   “model” summary:
      Project Summary
      Simple, Scientific Syntheses of Bimetallic and Mixed Oxide Catalysts
      Intellectual Merit        background                                                   competence
       Through the past dozen years of studying the fundamental phenomena that occur during noble metal
catalyst impregnation, my research group has striven to “transform the art of catalyst preparation into a science.”
With past support from NSF we have been able to describe the uptake of noble metal coordination complexes over
many oxides and carbons during impregnation in terms of a simple electrostatic mechanism; our work has been
the first to show that there is an optimal pH at which the precursor-surface interaction is strongest, and we have
hypothesis
further demonstrated that in many cases the high dispersion of the monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained
during reduction and yields highly dispersed metals. We have termed the method of adsorbing a metal complex at
                                                                                        proposed work
the optimal pH, and reducing to retain high dispersion “strong electrostatic adsorption” (SEA).
       Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be
achieved at the nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The SEA method can be extended to
provide a simple, scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted
catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve
preliminary results
selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized
by adsorbing a second metal complex selectively onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing
                                                                                      scientific impact
the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented and a comprehensive demonstration
is planned for both cases.

      Broad Impact
      Our efforts have always been directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by
understanding them better. It is hoped that successful demonstrations of the proposed work will lead to great
                                                                                                  outreach
leaps forward in the understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential
scientific impact is extremely broad, affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and
oxide promoted catalysts.
      On educational and diversity impact, I have firmly integrated the REU programs into the operation of our
laboratory. The third research thrust of the proposed work has been formulated specifically for REU students; this
work will be relatively easy to undertake, exciting to do, and will get noticed in peer reviewed publications and
conference presentations. Of the 10 REU students who have worked with me so far, 100% are from
underrepresented groups (8 are women of which one is African-American, and the other two are Hispanic). The
diversity of Chicago is amply reflected in our student body, and this has become a feature of our research program.
Through an REU supplement we will be able to continue this fine tradition.
      Project Summary
      Simple, Scientific Syntheses of Bimetallic and Mixed Oxide Catalysts
      Intellectual Merit
       Through the past dozen years of studying the fundamental phenomena that occur during noble metal
catalyst impregnation, my research group has striven to “transform the art of catalyst preparation into a science.”
With past support from NSF we have been able to describe the uptake of noble metal coordination complexes over
many oxides and carbons during impregnation in terms of a simple electrostatic mechanism; our work has been
the first to show that there is an optimal pH at which the precursor-surface interaction is strongest, and we have
further demonstrated that in many cases the high dispersion of the monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained
during reduction and yields highly dispersed metals. We have termed the method of adsorbing a metal complex at
the optimal pH, and reducing to retain high dispersion “strong electrostatic adsorption” (SEA).
       Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be
achieved at the nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The SEA method can be extended to
provide a simple, scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted
catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve
selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized
by adsorbing a second metal complex selectively onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing
the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented and a comprehensive demonstration
is planned for both cases.

      Broad Impact
      Our efforts have always been directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by
understanding them better. It is hoped that successful demonstrations of the proposed work will lead to great
leaps forward in the understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential
scientific impact is extremely broad, affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and
oxide promoted catalysts.
      On educational and diversity impact, I have firmly integrated the REU programs into the operation of our
laboratory. The third research thrust of the proposed work has been formulated specifically for REU students; this
work will be relatively easy to undertake, exciting to do, and will get noticed in peer reviewed publications and
conference presentations. Of the 10 REU students who have worked with me so far, 100% are from
underrepresented groups (8 are women of which one is African-American, and the other two are Hispanic). The
diversity of Chicago is amply reflected in our student body, and this has become a feature of our research program.
Through an REU supplement we will be able to continue this fine tradition.
Pop Quiz: Reviewing Exercise!



 What’s wrong with this picture?
           Project Summary: Simple, Scientific Syntheses of Bimetallic and Mixed Oxide Catalysts
           Intellectual Merit Through the past dozen years of studying the fundamental phenomena that occur during noble metal catalyst impregnation, my research group has striven to
“transform the art of catalyst preparation into a science.” With past support from NSF we have been able to describe the uptake of noble metal coordination complexes over many oxides and
carbons during impregnation in terms of a simple electrostatic mechanism; our work has been the first to show that there is an optimal pH at which the precursor-surface interaction is
strongest, and we have further demonstrated that in many cases the high dispersion of the monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained during reduction and yields highly dispersed metals. We
have termed the method of adsorbing a metal complex at the optimal pH, and reducing to retain high dispersion “strong electrostatic adsorption” (SEA).
               Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be achieved at the nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The
SEA method can be extended to provide a simple, scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over
promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by adsorbing a
second metal complex selectively onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented and a
comprehensive demonstration is planned for both cases.
           Through the past dozen years of studying the fundamental phenomena that occur during noble metal catalyst impregnation, my research group has striven to “transform the art of
catalyst preparation into a science.” With past support from NSF we have been able to describe the uptake of noble metal coordination complexes over many oxides and carbons during
impregnation in terms of a simple electrostatic mechanism; our work has been the first to show that there is an optimal pH at which the precursor-surface interaction is strongest, and we have
further demonstrated that in many cases the high dispersion of the monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained during reduction and yields highly dispersed metals. We have termed the
method of adsorbing a metal complex at the optimal pH, and reducing to retain high dispersion “strong electrostatic adsorption” (SEA).
               Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be achieved at the nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The
SEA method can be extended to provide a simple, scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over
promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by adsorbing a
second metal complex selectively onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented and a
comprehensive demonstration is planned for both cases.
           Broad Impact Our efforts have always been directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by understanding them better. It is hoped that successful
demonstrations of the proposed work will lead to great leaps forward in the understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential scientific impact is
extremely broad, affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and oxide promoted catalysts.
               On educational and diversity impact, I have firmly integrated the REU programs into the operation of our laboratory. The third research thrust of the proposed work has been
formulated specifically for REU students; this work will be relatively easy to undertake, exciting to do, and will get noticed in peer reviewed publications and conference presentations. Of the
10 REU students who have worked with me so far, 100% are from underrepresented groups (8 are women of which one is African-American, and the other two are Hispanic). The diversity
of Chicago is amply reflected in our student body, and this has become a feature of our research program. Through an REU supplement we will be able to continue this fine tradition.
               Our efforts have always been directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by understanding them better. It is hoped that successful demonstrations
of the proposed work will lead to great leaps forward in the understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential scientific impact is extremely broad,
affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and oxide promoted catalysts.
           On educational and diversity impact, I have firmly integrated the REU programs into the operation of our laboratory. The third research thrust of the proposed work has been
formulated specifically for REU students; this work will be relatively easy to undertake, exciting to do, and will get noticed in peer reviewed publications and conference presentations. Of the
10 REU students who have worked with me so far, 100% are from underrepresented groups (8 are women of which one is African-American, and the other two are Hispanic). The diversity
of Chicago is amply reflected in our student body, and this has become a feature of our research program. Through an REU supplement we will be able to continue this fine tradition.
               Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be achieved at the nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The
SEA method can be extended to provide a simple, scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over
promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by adsorbing a
second metal complex selectively onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented and a
comprehensive method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to
achieve s method can be extended to provide a simple, scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors.
Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by
adsorbing a second metal complex selectively onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented
and a comprehensive method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled
to achieve selective elective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synth Thorough prelim Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be
controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synth Thorough preliminary inary results are presented and a
comprehensive method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to
achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by adsorbing a second metal complex selectively onto a precursor
oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented and a comprehensive demonstration is planned for both cases.
      Project Summary
      Simple, Scientific Syntheses of Bimetallic and Mixed Oxide Catalysts
      Intellectual Merit
      Through the past dozen years of studying the fundamental phenomena that occur during noble metal catalyst impregnation,
my research group has striven to “transform the art of catalyst preparation into a science.” With past support from NSF we have
been able to describe the uptake of noble metal coordination complexes over many oxides and carbons during impregnation in
terms of a simple electrostatic mechanism; our work has been the first to show that there is an optimal pH at which the
precursor-surface interaction is strongest, and we have further demonstrated that in many cases the high dispersion of the
monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained during reduction and yields highly dispersed metals. We have termed the method of
adsorbing a metal complex at the optimal pH, and reducing to retain high dispersion “strong electrostatic adsorption” (SEA).

      Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be achieved at the
nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The SEA method can be extended to provide a simple, scientific, effective
method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common precursors. Over
promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex onto the promoter and not
the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by adsorbing a second metal complex selectively onto a precursor oxide phase of the
first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary results are presented and a
comprehensive demonstration is planned for both cases.

      Broad Impact
      Our efforts have always been directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by understanding
them better. It is hoped that successful demonstrations of the proposed work will lead to great leaps forward in the
understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential scientific impact is extremely
broad, affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and oxide promoted catalysts.

        On educational and diversity impact, I have firmly integrated the REU programs into the operation of our laboratory. The
third research thrust of the proposed work has been formulated specifically for REU students; this work will be relatively easy to
undertake, exciting to do, and will get noticed in peer reviewed publications and conference presentations. Of the 10 REU
students who have worked with me so far, 100% are from underrepresented groups (8 are women of which one is
African-American, and the other two are Hispanic). The diversity of Chicago is amply reflected in our student body, and this has
become a feature of our research program. Through an REU supplement we will be able to continue this fine tradition.
Pop Quiz: Reviewing Exercise!



   What’s missing?
      Project Summary
      Simple, Scientific Syntheses of Bimetallic and Mixed Oxide Catalysts

      Intellectual Merit
       Through the past dozen years of studying the fundamental phenomena that occur during noble metal catalyst
impregnation, my research group has striven to “transform the art of catalyst preparation into a science.” With past
support from NSF we have been able to describe the uptake of noble metal coordination complexes over many oxides and
carbons during impregnation in terms of a simple electrostatic mechanism; our work has been the first to show that there
is an optimal pH at which the precursor-surface interaction is strongest, and we have further demonstrated that in many
cases the high dispersion of the monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained during reduction and yields highly dispersed
metals. We have termed the method of adsorbing a metal complex at the optimal pH, and reducing to retain high
dispersion “strong electrostatic adsorption” (SEA).

       In the current work our approach will be extended to the preparation of bimetallic catalysts. In past studies we
have learned that ionic strength, pH, and the oxide point of zero charge are the most important impregnation parameters.
We will systematically vary these parameters to optimize the preparation of bimetallic catalysts. Thorough preliminary
results are presented and a comprehensive demonstration is planned for both cases.

      Broad Impact
       Our efforts have always been directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by
understanding them better. It is hoped that successful demonstrations of the proposed work will lead to great leaps
forward in the understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential scientific impact
is extremely broad, affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and oxide promoted catalysts.

       On educational and diversity impact, I have firmly integrated the REU programs into the operation of our laboratory.
The third research thrust of the proposed work has been formulated specifically for REU students; this work will be
relatively easy to undertake, exciting to do, and will get noticed in peer reviewed publications and conference
presentations. Of the 10 REU students who have worked with me so far, 100% are from underrepresented groups (8 are
women of which one is African-American, and the other two are Hispanic). The diversity of Chicago is amply reflected in
our student body, and this has become a feature of our research program. Through an REU supplement we will be able to
continue this fine tradition.
      Project Summary
      Simple, Scientific Syntheses of Bimetallic and Mixed Oxide Catalysts

      Intellectual Merit
       With the advent of nanoscience, there have been many attempts in the field of catalysis to “transform the art of
catalyst preparation into a science.” A number of researchers have proposed a simple electrostatic mechanism in which
there is an optimal pH at which the precursor-surface interaction is strongest, and in many cases the high dispersion of
the monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained during reduction and yields highly dispersed metals. While this appears to
be a promising avenue of preparing catalysts, the work published in the literature today has numerous and critical
shortcomings and can be vastly improved with the proper and most modern nanoscientific approaches.

       Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be achieved at
the nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The SEA method can be extended to provide a simple,
scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common
precursors. Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex
onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by adsorbing a second metal complex selectively
onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. A comprehensive
demonstration is planned for both cases.

      Broad Impact
       Our efforts will be directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by understanding them
better. It is hoped that successful demonstrations of the proposed work will lead to great leaps forward in the
understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential scientific impact is extremely
broad, affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and oxide promoted catalysts.

       On educational and diversity impact, I will firmly integrated the REU programs into the operation of our laboratory.
The third research thrust of the proposed work has been formulated specifically for REU students; this work will be
relatively easy to undertake, exciting to do, and will get noticed in peer reviewed publications and conference
presentations. I will seek from underrepresented. The diversity of Chicago is amply reflected in our student body, and
this will become a feature of our research program.
      Project Summary
      Simple, Scientific Syntheses of Bimetallic and Mixed Oxide Catalysts

      Intellectual Merit
       Through the past dozen years of studying the fundamental phenomena that occur during noble metal catalyst
impregnation, my research group has striven to “transform the art of catalyst preparation into a science.” With past
support from NSF we have been able to describe the uptake of noble metal coordination complexes over many oxides and
carbons during impregnation in terms of a simple electrostatic mechanism; our work has been the first to show that there
is an optimal pH at which the precursor-surface interaction is strongest, and we have further demonstrated that in many
cases the high dispersion of the monolayer-adsorbed complexes is retained during reduction and yields highly dispersed
metals. We have termed the method of adsorbing a metal complex at the optimal pH, and reducing to retain high
dispersion “strong electrostatic adsorption” (SEA).

       Our working hypothesis in the current proposal is that electrostatic control of metal adsorption can be achieved at
the nanoscale over surfaces containing two oxide fractions. The SEA method can be extended to provide a simple,
scientific, effective method to prepare a wide range of bimetallic catalysts and promoted catalysts using cheap, common
precursors. Over promoter/support surfaces, pH will be controlled to achieve selective adsorption of the metal complex
onto the promoter and not the support. Bimetallics will be synthesized by adsorbing a second metal complex selectively
onto a precursor oxide phase of the first metal and then reducing the intimately contacted metals. Thorough preliminary
results are presented and a comprehensive demonstration is planned for both cases.

      Broad Impact
       Our efforts have always been directed toward getting the most out of common precursors and methods by
understanding them better. It is hoped that successful demonstrations of the proposed work will lead to great leaps
forward in the understanding and practice of bimetallic and promoted catalyst preparation. The potential scientific impact
is extremely broad, affecting all facets of the chemical industry which employ bimetallic and oxide promoted catalysts.

       These studies will provide the means to mentor a graduate student through their Ph. D. research. Not only will the
student learn in the lab, he or she will present talks at national and international meetings and publish in peer reviewed
journals. The results of the research will be brought into the graduate and undergraduate courses I teach in catalysis and
will be featured on our website.
Competitive Proposals


   The next window for
   unsolicited proposals is
   February 1 - March 1, 2011

   Good Luck!

				
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