Week 4: Funding Sources


Below I've given you a list of funding sources. Your assignment next week is to find a URL address or pdf that has instructions for an upcoming funding opportunity. This “Call for Proposals” will include information about the deadline and funding levels (how many years, how many dollars). Please complete this assignment by sending me an email before the next research seminar. Use the following format for your email:

“Dear Prof., I found this call for proposals that could be of interest to the department: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10614/nsf10614.htm. The funding level is about $2,000,000 over four years. Proposals are due on Jan 17th, 2011.”


  • National Science Foundation
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Defense (Navy, Army, Airforce, DARPA)
  • Private foundations (eg. Petroleum Research Fund, Research Corporation)
  • National Institute of Health
Info for discussion

Typical budget items for a proposal

  1. Overhead
  2. Grad student salary/tuition/benefits
  3. Prof. summer salary
  4. New equipment
  5. Supplies for running a lab
  6. Travel and conference fees

Proposal review takes 6 months or more. Reviewed by fellow scientists (peer review). Consider many factors:

  1. intellectual merit
  2. broader impact
  3. is it realistic? (with given resources and time)
  4. does the faculty investigator have sufficient background in the field and a track record of achieving what they promised?

Most agencies will fund at level of one grad student per proposal per faculty investigator.

Students help faculty get funding in many ways

  1. Preliminary data
  2. Publishing timely papers that strength the track record of the group
  3. Participating in the proposal writing process (great book for proposal writing: Writing Successful Science Proposals $8 from Amazon)

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