NSF grant proposal guide for beginners

A good grant proposal is a well-prepared, thoroughly planned and professionally written paper. If you are aware of all requirements and details regarding your potential proposal, if you take it seriously and ready to work hard and to spend a great amount of efforts and time for not only writing the proposal, but also for preparing to writing, then you probably have a chance to make success of this uneasy deal. However, it is definitely worth all the resources it requires. This is a rare opportunity to get money for doing what you want to do. The decision in regard to applying for a research grant may become the most significant decision in your life because it may open the door to a brilliant career. Therefore, take it seriously and learn as much useful information about writing grant proposal as possible: read blogs, related web-sites, etc.

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If you decided to write a proposal, you need to learn basic information about the NSF itself. The National Science Foundation gives money for researchers in the majority of areas of science and engineering. Also, the NSF funds education for those who really need it. The Foundation is a government agency of the United States which has a great budget and funds near twenty percent of all research projects that is supported by the government of the United States. Moreover, there are some areas of science, such as mathematics, computer science, economics and the social sciences, which are funded by the NSF in most cases.

The National Science Foundation is structured and organized just like the universities are, with the exception that it doesn't have departments and colleges, and instead, there are divisions and directorates in it.

Once you learned about the Foundation, you need to get acquainted with the programs they offer. Then, it is necessary to look for the program that supports exactly your idea. Pay attention that there are many cases, when it is not really obvious which program is acceptable for your research idea. After you have chosen the proper program, you need to read its announcements and form direct questions that you would like to ask the program director. This is quite acceptable to send an email to him. At the same time, remember making your letter clear and coherent, identifying all the key points in your research. You may ask everything you want if it lies within the area of the program, unless it is not mentioned in the announcements.

Once you have clarified everything, it is time to write the grant proposal. The best way to do it is to follow a good-written sample.

In order to write a grant proposal, you need to organize it appropriately and follow its structure. Look at the NSF grant proposal guide below.

Writing a project summary. It usually takes one page and provides the overview of the proposal. Note that it is not an abstract, as long as it is a third-person description of the goals, methodology and the significance of your research project. This part of your proposal is self-contained and in case you win the competition, it will go into The National Science Foundation's Summary of Awards publication and additionally, it will be published on the web-site of the Foundation.

Writing a project description. This part of your proposal should take no more than fifteen pages. Be very careful and attentive when dealing with this issue because if your projects description is longer than fifteen pages, it will be returned without even a review. When writing this part, you need to describe the objectives and the potential significance of your research. Explain, why you think it is so important and what is so interesting (challenging) about it. Make your explanation clear and coherent so that the reader could comprehend why your research has to be funded. Also, you need to provide information about the background and technical need of the research. Here, you need to include the long-term objectives that the results of your research will search for. Additionally, you need to write the project description itself. In other words, provide a detailed technical description of the plan of your research, what methodology, information, activities and theories you are going to use during the work on your project. Remember that there are going to be another research projects written by other candidates, so you need to show why your research is better and worth funding. The last part of this section has to include your precise plan of working on the project. By this, we mean the ways of solving the problem in your research and the expected date of its total completion.

Writing the results of the previous NSF support (funding). If you have already succeeded in getting a grant from the National Science Foundation, you need to write about it and provide all the appropriate data (the name of award, the period, summary of results, etc.).

The references. This is a separate part of your research proposal that provides a list of the literature that you used when citing and referencing.

The budget section. Here, you need to provide all the costs that you will need for doing your research, including computer services, travel, supplies and so on. There is a possibility that the NSF will cut your budget. However, they are never going to give you more money than you asked them to give.

These are the basic guidelines, which are essential to read for everyone, who is going to write a proposal. Make sure you understand all this information. Anyway, if there is something you are uncertain about, please contact us for further guidelines.

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