Principal Investigators Association

Your NSF Grant Application Webcast Library Includes:
(available in CD-Rom or MP4)

Webcast 1: Starting the Grant Application Process: Identifying Your Topic, Crafting Your Objectives and Making a Plan

First you must determine whether your idea belongs at NSF and whether you qualify as an applicant. If so, then you can launch the application process, which includes several crucial steps. No matter how good or important your project may seem to you and your colleagues, it won’t even be reviewed if it fails to meet NSF funding requirements.

Inside this 35-minute Webcast, you will find expert guidance for:

  • Starting the Grant Application Process: Things to Consider Before You Do Anything Else
  • Qualifying for an NSF Grant: Make Sure You Meet All These
  • Making a Plan: How a Strong Plan Can Keep You from Drifting
  • Choosing and Defining the Project: Why Critical Analysis from Trusted Advisors is Key
  • Establish a Writing Schedule: How Long Will It Take to Craft a Solid Proposal?

Webcast 2: Merit Review Criteria: Understanding Your Audience and Reviewers

Consider these comments by one NSF program director: “Know your audience and communicate with them effectively. Write your proposal so that it gives the reviewers what they need to understand, not what you want to say.” “Know your audience.” That is important advice for anyone writing anything, but it is especially critical when writing a grant proposal. Your proposal is not being written for your friends or colleagues, for your department chair or tenure committee, or for the government or taxpayers. It is being written for a program director and some reviewers. That is your audience. That is your only audience.

During this 40-minute Webcast, your expert presenter will also explore the criteria by which this audience will judge your proposal. These criteria are unique to NSF, and they amount to far more than just “write clearly and have a hypothesis.”

Webcast 3: Presenting Your Project and Your Individual Qualifications: Writing the Project Summary and Preparing Biographical Sketches

This section of your NSF application is important for at least two reasons. First, it sets the tone of your proposal; ideally, it attracts the attention and piques the interest of reviewers. Second, it directly addresses the most important criteria used in merit review at NSF: intellectual merit and broader impacts.

If your Project Summary fails to specifically and separately address those two criteria, NSF will return your proposal without review. That’s how important those criteria are, and that’s how important the Project Summary is.

So, in this 38-minute Webcast,your expert presenter looks at what makes a good Project Summary. You will also examine biographical sketches and look at some ways to use them creatively to enhance your proposal.

Webcast 4: Successfully Documenting Your Resources and Commitment to the Research Community

A major component of the intellectual merit criterion concerns access to resources. Together with your biographical sketch and other evidence of your team’s qualifications, documenting the resources of your institution establishes your suitability to tackle the project you have proposed. In addition, these descriptions can portray your institution as one worthy of an NSF investment, especially if you are considering an equipment grant. This section of the proposal, therefore, should not be taken lightly.

Inside this 28-minute Webcast, you will find expert guidance for:

  • Detailing Your Facilities and Resources Successfully
  • Another Important Resource: Your Collaborators
  • Developing and Writing Your Data Management Plan

Webcast 5: Demonstrating the Significance of Your Research Topic: Preparing the Project description

The meat of your proposal, where you describe in detail the activities you aim to undertake, is the Project Description. When you talk about writing a grant, it is almost certainly the Project Description you have in mind. It is the main attraction. It is the place where you make the case for your ideas and your plan.

There are some specific things you need to know as you tackle the Project Description, and we will discuss them in this Webcast. But the main tools you will need are tools we have already emphasized in previous Webcasts in this Library. You will need to write clearly and succinctly; you will need to think like a reviewer and remain reviewer-focused; and you will need to specifically highlight the broader impacts of your work. This is why the Webcast on the building of the main attraction is the fifth of seven — those tools are central to your success.

Inside this 33-minute Webcast, you will find expert guidance for:

  • The Project Description: Basic Strategic Themes
  • Formatting and the Page Limit
  • Content Expectations
  • Including Results from Prior NSF Support
  • What About Renewals?
  • What About Resubmissions?

Webcast 6: Budgeting and Special Considerations: Preparing Your Budget & Dealing with Special Circumstances

If the Project Description is the “main event,” then the budget and the preparation of supplementary materials must seem like sideshows or petty annoyances. But in fact, these elements are fundamental components of your application. Putting together a clear and well-justified budget requires careful thought — the same kind that is necessary to generate a strong and compelling research proposal.

Inside this 30-minute Webcast, you will find expert guidance for:

  • Preparing Your Budget: Basic Considerations and Guidelines
  • Budget Categoris Overview
  • Salaries for PIs and Support Staff
  • Budgeting for Equipment and Travel
  • Covering Costs for Participants
  • Unallowablw Costs
  • Writing the Budget Justification: Strategies
  • Some Special Considerations to Think About

Webcast 7: Submission and Review of Your Proposal: Submitting Your Proposal Using the NSF Fastlane System and What Comes After That

In the previous six Webcasts, we have walked through the process of preparing the key aspects of an NSF proposal. If you have completed all of those steps, then you are quite close to the end. Really, all you need to do is upload those files to a website — it takes about ten minutes.

Just kidding. Submitting your proposal is a bit more complicated than that, and it is likely that you have a few tasks to complete before you have all the parts of your application assembled. In this final chapter, we will look at the tasks that constitute the end game in this process.

Inside this 22-minute Webcast, you will find expert guidance for:

  • The Endgame: Submission and Review
  • Preparing a Checklist of Submission-Related Tasks
  • Creating the Checklist: Tasks Unique to Your Proposal
  • Using the NSF FastLane System: Brief Overview
  • What About
  • Strategies for a Successful Submission
  • Review of Your Proposal: A Brief Outline
  • The Verdict: What to Expect and When

Limited-Time Offer Until Oct. 17th!
Purchase the NSF Grant Application Webcast Library in CD-Rom or MP4 format at the introductory rate of ONLY $199 $179 (a $999 value).

CDs are mailed within 48 hours via US Mail, MP4s are emailed from
[email protected] within 48 hours.



As an added bonus, purchase your NSF Webcast Library today and you will receive a FREE PDF copy of the best-selling executive report entitled How to Write a Winning NSF Proposal(a $129 value, yours free!).

This executive report has been designed to help you better understand — and more successfully complete — the Project Summary, Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact portions of your NSF grant proposal.

Gain how-to advice and insider tactics on:

  • Drive Home Your Project’s Importance and Scope With Your Project Summary — Here’s How (pg. 9)
  • Keep Intellectual Merit Front-and-Center (pg. 11)
  • Describe ‘Broader Impact’ Artfully — And Make It Your Theme (pg. 15)
  • Understand the NSF Review Process to Get a Leg Up (pg. 19)
  • Top 6 Tips for NSF Proposal Success (pg. 21)
  • FAQs: NSF Proposals and Merit Review (pg. 23)


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This Webcast Library is brought to you as a training tool by the Principal Investigators Association, which is an independent organization. The presented information is not connected with the National Science Foundation (NSF), nor is it endorsed by this agency. All views expressed are those personally held by the authors and are not official government policies or opinions.