“Fund Your ‘Risky’ Research: How to Win an NSF EAGER Award

The EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research — commonly known as EAGER — is a funding mechanism through the National Science Foundation (NSF) that’s not for most projects. In fact, EAGER awards are for certain exploratory projects that are not likely to pass the regular NSF review process.

EAGER grants are specifically for exploratory research in its earliest stages — work that is “high-risk / high-payoff.” The award is best-suited for potentially “transformative” ideas or approaches that are yet untested.

EAGER supports high-risk / high-reward work that involves:

  • Radically different approaches;
  • Applying new expertise; and/or
  • Engaging novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.

“We’re looking for things that could potentially have a high chance of failure, but still have the potential for a payoff that is high,”says Sam Scheiner, PhD, program director in the Division of Environmental Biology at NSF.

Other unique features of the EAGER grant include allowing PIs to submit proposals directly to an NSF program and the mandate of contacting program officers (POs) prior to submitting an EAGER proposal.

EAGER is not for run-of-the-mill projects that you could seek funding through other NSF grant awards. EAGER really exemplifies the overall NSF philosophy — NSF tends to be more open to risky, exploratory and paradigm-challenging work than the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NSF also stresses basic research, even though the organization is smaller than the NIH.

Inside this 50-pg. executive reportyou will find expert guidance on:

  • Are You Eligible for EAGER?
  • Is Your Proposed Research Transformative?
  • How to Prepare a Winning EAGER Proposal
  • Avoid the Top 3 Mistakes of Contacting POs
  • Take a Critical Look at the Review Criteria
  • How to Navigate Merit Review — EAGER-Style
  • EAGER Application Nuts & Bolts
  • And much more!

Click here to view the table of contents.

Meet Your Co-Author:

Michael Lesiecki, PhD, is the principal investigator for a large grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program. He has 27 peer-reviewed journal publications and one patent. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from Oregon State University. He was a Research Professor at the University of Utah and an Associate Professor at the University of Puerto Rico. At Exxon Research and Engineering, Dr. Lesiecki worked as a Senior Scientist and at Candela Laser Corporation he was the Director of the Bioscience Division. He authored successful NIH Small Business Innovation Research proposals at Candela. Dr. Lesiecki currently serves on proposal review committees for the NSF, Department of Education and Department of Labor.

Limited-Time Offer Until Sept. 17th:

For a limited time, purchase this 50-pg. Special Report in digital (PDF) format at the special rate of $129 (reg. price $199).

The informational products above are brought to you as training tools by the Principal Investigators Association, which is an independent organization. The products presented and their contents are not connected with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF), nor are they endorsed by these agencies. All views expressed are those personally held by the author and are not official government policies or opinions.