Q&A With The Authors of Having Success with NSF: A Practical Guide
Q. What inspired you to write Having Success with NSF?
A. Reflecting on our work as program officers, we realized that we had valuable tools to help both new and experienced grant writers. We both were seasoned grantees when we went to work at NSF and both learned a great deal during our time there. We enjoy helping other researchers develop strong proposals and understand the importance of high quality proposals; we hope the book will help researcher effectively develop high quality proposals.
Q. Did you learn anything new as you researched and collaborated on this book?
A. We learned about the differences between the programs we worked in when we were at NSF; differences in the way the review processes were carried out and the way programs were administered. NSF, though one organization, has many subcultures. This point also shows that NSF allows for flexibility in managing the review and funding process from program to program, recognizing that the needs and priorities in different disciplines may be different. This level of flexibility ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.
Q. As a NSF program director, what are some of the first "red flags" you might encounter when reading a proposal?
A. Proposals that are very poorly prepared can be detected right away, from the overall layout of the text on each page, to the appropriate use or non-use of proper headings, tables and figures, to the presence or absence of typos, jargons, and page numbers.
Q. Can Having Success with NSF be used as a guide to applying for other types of grant funding besides just the National Science Foundation?
A. Yes, by learning the 'ins and outs' of how one agency approaches funding, the general principles apply to other funding agencies, both public and private.
Q. If you could give three important pointers to someone writing a grant proposal, what would these be?
A. Start early and get feedback often. Revise and persist. Know how to convey good ideas to the general experts in your field.