The Research Office hosted presentations and workshops on April 13, 2011, for faculty and staff to learn about the National Science Foundation. NSF representatives shared information that is specific about NSF, yet much of it is applicable in seeking sponsorship from other organizations.
Mark Leid, Associate Dean for Scholarship of OSU’s College of Pharmacy, said, “The event was really helpful, especially in learning how to tailor grants for NSF – which is very different than what I usually do for NIH. I learned that the ‘broader impact’ piece for NSF is on equal footing with the science. I realized we have to learn more about broader impact, and we need to gather the information about how much of that we already do. The Directorate session I went to was lead by someone who is temporarily an NSF Program Officer, but primarily a university professor himself, so his perspective was helpful. ”
Some other take-home messages heard by OSU attendees are summarized below:
- NSF returns many proposals unread – because of avoidable errors
When developing a proposal, read and heed the instructions for submission
- This year’s instructions may be new – don’t go by old information
- Carefully follow those instructions
- “The best way to learn to write proposals for NSF is to review proposals for NSF”
Consider becoming a reviewer. NSF needs thousands of them each year.
- Consider reviews as mentoring – Persistence is important
Only 15% of proposals to NSF are accepted their first time.
Many more are successful upon resubmission – after the first review, and the suggestions are heeded.
- Think big
In its merit review process, NSF values “creativity, originality, and transformative potential” – projects that change the fundamental way we think.
- Think broader impact.
One of NSF’s two merit review criteria: ” What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?”
Proposals must address this separately within the Project Summary and Project Description.
[Note: one OSU resource about opportunities broader impact is available from Pre-College Programs [download pdf]– an upcoming entry in this Blog will address this issue more fully]
from OSU ( numbers of participants by College or other)
BUS 2 CAS 28 COS 35 COAS 7 COF 16 COE 18 CLA 14 PHARM 3 CoED 4 HHS 7
Centers 7 Library/IS 2 Admin 15
from Other Institutions
UO 8 PSU 11 WOU 6 OIT 5 EOU 1 OUS 1
Willamette 4 Lewis & Clark 3 U Portland 1 Linfield 2
Princeton 1 NCSU 1 UNev-Reno 1 USDA – ARS 1
Live streaming was accessed remotely by 53 computers, and several people submitted questions via the on-line chat.
Access to Information and Resources
Edited recordings of some of the sessions are available at
The Research Office continues to be a resource for assistance and consultation on proposal development and submission.
Thanks to Media Services for audio and visual support, and to Donna Williams of CH2MHill Alumni Center for event coordination