Cordilleran Section - 97th Annual Meeting, and Pacific Section, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (April 9-11, 2001)

Paper No. 0
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


HALL-WALLACE, Michelle, Univ of Arizona, 1040 E 4th St, Tucson, AZ 85721-0077,

It is no secret that improving science education from kindergarten through graduate school is a high priority at NSF. It is also no secret that the percentage of grants funded in educational programs at NSF is ~25-30%, a level comparable to programs in basic science research. The BIG secret is that the program announcements, which are freely available on NSF's website, contain insider information that can help you beat the odds! Further, after reading the announcement and refining your ideas, the NSF program officer will discuss your ideas without prejudice and provide critical insight in how to strengthen them.

Education initiatives at NSF are developed to target specific and well identified educational needs. The program announcements contain extremely valuable information on both the philosophical and educational basis of the program. They also include a plethora of ideas and suggestions on how to write a successful proposal. A careful reading of the program announcement will reveal a clear list of the essential elements of a good proposal. The more of these elements that are meaningfully incorporated into the project, the higher your chances are of obtaining funding. If you are not successful the first time around, study the reviewer comments carefully and try to implement the suggested changes.

If reading and following the program announcement guidelines does not work, the next insider tip is to volunteer to serve on a review panel. These panels are hard work, lots of fun, extremely educational, and critical to the success of the programs. Service on panels requires reading anywhere from 18-100 proposals depending on the program. It doesn't take long to figure out through empirical evidence what makes a good proposal. I have been fortunate to serve on panels for several programs. Each time I gained incredible insight into what makes a good proposal and where the community is headed in educational reform. It is the best education I have ever had.