NSF Program Director Workshop

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Raj Mutharasan
Program Director, Nanobiosensing
National Science Foundation

This workshop was presented by the Faculty Mentor Program and Office of Research and Economic Development. One workshop was held, and Dr. Rajakkannu Mutharasan presented. 51 faculty members attended the workshop.

The presenter provided both general and specific information on funding opportunities at the National Science Foundation. The discussion included navigating through opportunities at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Mutharasan also explained how a proposal is reviewed and how decisions are made, as well as common errors found in applications, and strategies for preparation of research proposals. There was also an open forum for faculty to have their questions answered at the end of the presentation

Overall, faculty found that the workshop "revealed a lot on how mechanisms of NSF funding work". The faculty also mentioned that "the speaker was very knowledgeable". There was also a suggestion made that there should be more of these workshops to update researchers on NSF funding programs.

Detailed Evaluation Results for NSF Program Director Workshop

38 faculty (13 women, 20 men, 5 unknown) completed evaluations out of 51 total participants.

Questions & Responses

I am better informed as to funding opportunities available at NSF.
N=38 Mean=4.58 SD=0.86 (strongly disagree)- 5 (strongly agree)

I am better prepared to submit applications that are more responsive to NSF funding priorities.
N=38 Mean=4.26 SD=0.95 (strongly disagree)- 5 (strongly agree)

I learned strategies that will increase the likelihood of securing funding from the NSF.
N=36 Mean=4.33 SD=0.93 (strongly disagree)- 5 (strongly agree)

Questions & Answers:

Please give an example of things you learned from this workshop and will use in the future to apply for funding from NSF.

  • Specific funding opportunities related to my fields. Very good speaker.
  • Search workshops to DCL's.
  • Subscribe to DCL.
  • Emerging research areas NSF interested. The proposal submission procedure.
  • Advice about becoming involved in workshops as an entrance to new areas of interest to NSF.
  • Eager vs. Des Proposal.
  • Detailed understanding of organization NSF and disciplining groups.
  • Importance of NSF workshops and getting to network through such workshops.
  • Funding process NSF infrastructure. Funding priorities. Approaches to application
  • NSF structure and how business is done.
  • Importance of putting in societal impact.
  • 1 page communication to program officer.
  • I learned about the bigger picture items that NSF considers when making funding decisions. This will help me assist investigators with their submissions.
  • I've learned how NSF structure functions.
  • Difference divisions and new lines for funding.
  • Other funding mechanism/opportunities that exist that faculty typically do not apply for. The mechanism of starting conversations with program directors.
  • Grant writing criteria.
  • Workshops examples and emerging programs were very helpful, as was the emphasis on society.

Is there anything that could have been improved about this session?

  • More general-neutral language. All refer to "he"; not “they” or "he or she".
  • It was very specific to engineering area. More broad discussion of other areas. More guidance on how to identify evaluative criteria.
  • More specific examples and research areas NSF is/will be funding.
  • I would have liked to see examples of funded grants.
  • Examples of applications.
  • More info on related infrastructure programs, like training and instrumentation grants.
  • Maybe streaming the next presentation.
  • Go over examples rather than general overview.
  • Just have separate workshops for different programs.
  • Networking opportunities with others no time available or a break out session.
  • More people from different division should be invited to widen the program understandingly.

General Comments about this workshop?

  • Speaker did not clearly answer a question. Funding issues/disparities for women not articulated clearly. Speaker focused on women's representation in the sciences rather than disparity in funding, which was a question from the audience.
  • It was very informative.
  • The advertisement for the workshop made it seem as if it were going to be very general advice across disciplines. As a non-engineer, I felt a lot of the focus on now NSF is structured focused too much on Engineering and wasn't helpful for other fields.
  • Excellent presenter!
  • Great to learn of the biological component of NSF funding opportunities!
  • Well thought through and aligned with the program objectives as showed.
  • The speaker was very knowledgeable and pleasant- it was a joy to attend!
  • Well done, need more of these.
  • Revealed a lot on how mechanisms of NSF funding works.
  • Very informative.
  • Very useful.
  • Should be done on regular basis to update researcher on NSF funding program.