Prepare Now! Don’t Panic Later. [Updated x2]

Questions and Reminders about DEB’s Prepropsoal Deadline

We’re starting to get calls in noticeable volume relating to the upcoming preproposal deadline, and a few common questions are sticking out. So, to make sure everyone has access to these answers, we’re posting them for all to see, below. If your question isn’t addressed here, please leave a comment or send us an email and we’ll respond to you and post the response here if it’s sufficiently generalizable.

Continue reading

Panel Summaries: Panelist Guidance and PI Expectations

We’ve previously posted about what we are looking for in strong individual reviews of proposals. After receiving individual reviews, most proposals handled by DEB are brought to a panel meeting. After discussing a proposal, the panel prepares a document called the Panel Summary. In this post, we describe Panel Summaries, our goals in what we want them to communicate, and the steps DEB has recently taken to improve them.

What are Panel Summaries? (short version)

Continue reading

The Who’s Who of Grants: Addressing myths about cover pages, status, and credit

A lot of ink has been spilled (bits transferred? attention drained? bandwidth clogged? liquids imbibed? anachronistic metaphors tortured?) with various arguments about the hierarchical nature of science and the race to better position oneself versus one’s colleagues. Whether it’s questions of appropriate authorship, proper acknowledgement, or implicit vs explicit signals for the valuation of individual contributions, it seems like there’s a new discussion every week. Many of these arguments seem to break down around the point where it’s realized that field A, sub-field 1 and field B, sub-field 6 have strikingly different cultures surrounding these issues and the present lessons/problems/solutions from A1 may run counter to the lessons/problems/solutions in B6 even though both use the same short-hand: postdoc problems, authorship problems, tenure credit.

These ongoing cultural dialogues spill over and often get mixed into the proposal and merit review process leading to a proliferation of different beliefs, local customs, and inherited “understandings” of how the system ought to work in your favor if only you had the “right sort” of partner, reviewer, history, etc. In DEB, this is manifest in questions about professional titles, proposal cover pages, biographical sketches and project responsibility.

In this post, we address some of the most frequently encountered myths in this area, with explanations of DEB processes and the supporting NSF policies. Continue reading

Myths and FAQs about Project Reporting

The purpose of this post is to help you shorten the learning curve of Research.gov reporting, answer some of the common questions we hear from you, and debunk the persistent myths and old habits that no longer fit with current practice. Continue reading

Are small grants doing well in review?

In contrast to the trend of decreasing numbers of preliminary proposals, we have seen a rapid increase in the category of Small Grant preliminary proposals (these are also included in the total counts in our previous post). Continue reading