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Proposal elements

Budget — know deadlines in your institution! Get help, if needed!

  • Carefully crafted to align with anticipated funding from target
  • Must be approved by department, dean, institution
  • Can sometimes be sent through institutional process before the full grant
  • Get feedback from experienced grant writers!

Budget elements

  • Salaries (PI, students, technical help) + Fringe benefits
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Travel
  • Other (e.g., publication expenses)
  • Subcontracts
  • Indirect costs – F&A costs (facilities and administration, negotiated by institution)
  • Fringe benefits and F&A costs set by institution

Proposal elements

  • Research plan (usually in a specified order) — other items may be requested
    • Hypotheses/specific goals
    • Significance
    • Background
    • Prior results of relevance/preliminary data
    • Include collaborators if you need their expertise
    • Experimental plan
    • Timeline
  • No types, clear headers, some white space, use figures/tables
  • Clear flow from hypotheses to experiments to concluding section
  • Follow agency format precisely
  • Include, where permissible, preliminary data/figures

Other documents

  • Different agencies require different types of documentation
  • Read instructions very, very carefully and produce proposal accordingly
    • How to organize proposal
    • How to submit
    • What is allowed, not allowed
    • Criteria for review

Reviewer issues

  • Don’t assume reviewer will be an expert in your specific area
    • Give appropriate background, with proper referencing for the experts
    • Create a cohesive, interesting “story”
  • If you are responding to a review (e.g., NIH, NSF and others allow resubmission), formulate your response in affirming and polite tones, even if the reviewer was wrong

Research plan

  • Carefully present the importance of what you propose
  • Leave no question that you can accomplish what you propose
    • Be sure to indicate alternate routes in case what you propose does not work
  • Be very thorough in your citations (someone in the area will review it!)

Proposal elements

  • “Broader impacts”
    • NSF specifically requires that a proposal include activities that address the engagement of society with science
    • Proposed activities vary widely
    • Discuss with your institution what others have done that has been successful
  • Other agencies are beginning to request information on activities beyond the research plan (e.g., NIH and postdoctoral training)

How much is too much?

Think carefully about what you can reasonably do in the time frame of the grant

  • Don’t assume everything will work the first time (or even that it will work)
  • Don’t try to do more than you honestly feel is possible
  • Be aware that reviewers will probably know better about timing than you - get advice!

Good advice*

  • Calm down
  • Understand the situation
  • Communicate clearly

“This set of advice is good to repeat to yourself at intervals, and it is sometimes hard to do any, much less all, of these!”
*From We Were Soldiers

What “voice”?

  • Using first person can seem arrogant when read, but if you use it, be sure to use “we” unless you did all the work yourself
  • Write a few paragraphs in the first person and then read them; try them in a different voice and read them
  • Choose what fits you

Criteria for review

  • Criteria vary with agency, so need to read instructions carefully
  • Examples of criteria (not exhaustive):
    • Intellectual merit / quality of proposed work
    • Innovation
    • Creativity of original concepts
    • Well-conceived and organized activities
    • Investigator qualifications
    • Institutional context/access to resources
    • Broader impacts
  • Criteria used can vary depending on the type of grant
    • Research
    • Training
    • Small business innovation (e.g., SBIR)
  • Always read the instructions, which almost always provide information on criteria for review


Assess how collaborative funding is viewed in your department and your institution

  • Can be viewed positively
  • Can be viewed negatively
  • But remember you must have independent funding as a junior investigator for the P&T process

Ways to prepare

  • Find publications on grant writing
  • Ask to see successful proposal submitted by your colleagues
  • Find out if your institution offers any grant-writing or grant draft-feedback activities (e.g., a mock review panel for your proposal)


  • Proposal processes are highly idiosyncratic, so you have to know the requirements - quite individual
  • Foundations
    • National examples – sometimes nominations are by institution
      • Packard, Searle, Keck, Pew
    • Often have local foundations that should be explored
    • Funding very economy-dependent


  • Contracts negotiated through institutional research office
  • Elements often negotiated (institutions normally try to charge F&A costs at some level)
  • Terms and amounts vary significantly
  • Ask about industry support at your institution or institution-of-interest if this type of support is important in your area

When you are funded

  • Be aware that the funds go to the institution for your use
  • Be fiscally responsible and keep up with your funding (learn how to read the budget monthly)
  • Be sure your students and staff are aware of costs and exercise good judgment in ordering

Don’t let funding consume you

  • Publish!!!
  • Collaborate when possible
    • Shared techniques/approaches/new ideas
  • Discuss your ideas
  • Read
  • Be brave
  • Be prepared to fail!
  • And then write the next grant…..

Enjoy the process!

  • You can do the research that you love and choose the students and collaborators with whom you will work!
  • Be sure that you include relaxation in your planning and put thought into how to balance your work/life along the way! It can be great fun!

Questions & Answers

who was the first nanotechnologist
Lizzy Reply
technologist's thinker father is Richard Feynman but the literature first user scientist Nario Tagunichi.
Norio Taniguchi
I need help
anyone have book of Abdel Salam Hamdy Makhlouf book in pdf Fundamentals of Nanoparticles: Classifications, Synthesis
Naeem Reply
what happen with The nano material on The deep space.?
pedro Reply
It could change the whole space science.
the characteristics of nano materials can be studied by solving which equation?
sibaram Reply
plz answer fast
synthesis of nano materials by chemical reaction taking place in aqueous solvents under high temperature and pressure is call?
hydrothermal synthesis
how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
is this allso about nanoscale material
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where is the latest information on a no technology how can I find it
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
STM - Scanning Tunneling Microscope.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Rice university’s nsf advance program’s negotiating the ideal faculty position workshop master collection of presentations. OpenStax CNX. Mar 08, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11413/1.1
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