NSF CAREER Bootcamp Key Dates:

Applications to the Bootcamp Intensive


January 3, 2017, 5:00 p.m. – First-time Submissions
January 9, 2017, 5:00 p.m. – Resubmissions


Fridays, beginning February, 2018 (registration opens mid-January)

NSF CAREER Bootcamp Intensives

TBD, beginning February, 2018 (by competitive application only)

nsf career bootcamp header image

Announcing the Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY (ASRC) CAREER Bootcamp designed to help eligible CUNY assistant professors develop competitive NSF CAREER proposals


Fridays, Bi-Weekly, February – June 2018

A bi-weekly lecture series of 8-12 presentations, with time for Q & A that will provide CAREER applicants with detailed information and strategies for writing a competitive NSF CAREER proposal. Presentations are open to all CAREER award eligible CUNY assistant professors and will be required of Bootcamp Intensive participants. A social networking hour (with refreshments) will follow each meeting. Streaming of the presentations may be available, by advance registration.

NSF CAREER Bootcamp Intensives

TBD, February – Early July 2018
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.

Writing-intensive groups of six participants each. Most likely there will be one (1) first-time submission group and two (2) resubmission groups. Eligible faculty must submit the required application; these will be judged by a panel of four (4) experts. Once accepted into a group, attendance is mandatory. The work load will be intense with regular writing assignments and both giving and receiving regular feedback.

The 2017-18 Bootcamp program is sponsored by the CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center, in association with CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering. The NSF CAREER Bootcamp program is led by Linda Vigdor, MFA, PhD; Associate Director of Proposal Development at the ASRC. The CAREER Primer and Hackathon will be co-led by Naresh Devenini, PhD; Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering and a current DOE Early Career Awardee. Program contact: linda.vigdor@asrc.cuny.edu


Sessions are on Fridays and will feature presentations from 2-4 pm, with a social/networking hour from 4-5; except March 30 we will meet 10am – 1pm (due to Passover that evening and the start of Spring break).

Registration is requested (to order refreshments).

Presentations will be streamed for those unable to attend in person.


Topics to be covered

Tentative Guest Speaker(s)


  • Close reading of CAREER RFP
  • The introduction / overview of the proposal
  • Time management for proposal writing
  • Deconstruction of sample proposal


  • The NSF review process
  • Writing to reviewers (NSF vs. NIH)
  • A sales pitch / story

Vinod Menon
Professor of Physics, CCNY & Graduate Center


  • Researching what’s been funded
  • Key components of the research plan / strategies
  • Finding a home at NSF / Talking to POs

Rosemarie Wessen
Associate Dean for Research, Grove School of Engineering, CCNY & Former Program Officer at NSF


  • More on the research plan
  • Significance / Justification / Background
  • Preliminary data
  • Key elements of an education plan

Prior NSF CAREER award winners

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

  • Budget basics
  • Budget & project scope
  • Education plan
  • Integration of research & education

Melissa Lazo
ASRC, Associate Director of Sponsored Programs


  • More on NSF merit review (e.g., research – education – BIs: balance)
  • Project Summary
    • Overview
    • Intellectual Merit
    • (Broader Impacts – details next session)
  • The department letter

Josh Brumberg
Dean for the Sciences, Graduate Center, CUNY

John Tsapogas
Director, Office of Award Pre-Proposal Support at RF


  • Broader Impacts (open up to all of CUNY)

Dan McCloskey
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor and University Vice Provost for Research, CUNY


  • Evaluation plans
    • Logic Models
    • Course assessment vs. project evaluation


11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

  • Graphics – designing content & readability


  • Editing tips
    • Clarity – reducing jargon
    • Story & logic
    • Getting / using feedback from outside reviewers
  • Other required docs: facilities, data management, letters of collaboration, postdoc mentoring


Q 1: How do I know if I am eligible to apply for the CAREER Award?

A 1: To be eligible to apply for the NSF CAREER Award, the following conditions must be met, according to NSF. The applicant must:

  • Hold a doctoral degree in a field supported by NSF by the cognizant Directorate’s deadline for submission of CAREER proposals;
  • Be engaged in research in an area of science [including some social sciences], engineering, or education supported by NSF;
  • Be employed in a tenure-track (or tenure-track-equivalent) position as an assistant professor (or equivalent title) as of October 1 after the proposal submission;
  • Be untenured as of October 1 following the proposal submission; and
  • Have not previously received a CAREER award. (Prior or concurrent Federal support for other types of awards for non-duplicative research does not preclude eligibility.)

Q 2: Is registration required for one or more of the CAREER bootcamp programs?

A 2:  Yes, registration is required. We will be providing lunch for Primer and Hackathon participants and light refreshments at the Core social hour. Registering will also ensure we have the appropriate space as well as contact information if the need arises.

Q 3: May I sign up for only parts of the CAREER Bootcamp Program?

A 3: While it is not required that PIs sign up for all four parts of the CAREER Bootcamp, each segment offers something different and is meant to prepare PIs for subsequent segments. CAREER Intensive (writing group) participants will be required to attend all CAREER Core sessions, unless they attended last year.

Q 4: Is participating in the Nov 3 or 17th bootcamp sessions required to apply to the CAREER Intensive?

A 4: The writing group portion will require an application, and the two November events are meant, in part, to help PIs prepare their Bootcamp Intensive applications. This will also help PIs start to think in depth about essential aspects of their CAREER proposal. That said, attending the Primer or Hackathon is not specifically required to apply to the CAREER Intensive.

Q 5: Will attendance at the CAREER Core sessions be required?

A 5: It is highly recommended that faculty submitting a CAREER proposal for the first time attend all Primer, Hackathon, and Core sessions. CUNY faculty who participated in the 2017 ASRC NSF CAREER Bootcamps may attend these 3 events as well. The Primer will provide in depth information about the CAREER award and application process as well as useful perspectives on the ASRC CAREER Bootcamp program. The Hackathon will make it easier to apply for the CAREER Intensive writing groups as well as jump start the PI’s thinking about the core ideas that would drive your proposal.

Attendance at the CAREER Core presentations will be expected of all CAREER Intensive (writing group) participants. Those who fully participated in the 2017 CAREER bootcamps will not be required to attend all Core sessions. Writing group meetings will reference information presented at the Core meetings but will not repeat the presentations.

Q 6: What will be required to apply for the CAREER Intensive?

A 6: The details of the CAREER Intensive application are still under development. It will be a formal application submitted online.  For first-time submissions, a key requirement will be a 2-3 page overview of your plans for both the research and education component. For resubmissions, the submitted proposal and reviews will be required. In addition, applicants will be asked to indicate whether they have preliminary data and any relevant publications.

Q 7: Which parts of the CAREER program would best fit my needs?

A 7: Answering this requires some thoughtful self-reflection; however, attending the CAREER Primer and Hackathon would likely help you decide what path to take.

Q 8: Would I be expected to attend all CAREER Intensive meetings?

A 8: Yes. Everyone will get the greatest benefit from the CAREER Intensive with full attendance. The groups will be kept small to allow for regular, in depth discussion of drafts in progress. The groups also function as a writing support group and are best suited for PIs who would benefit from both receiving and giving feedback, on a regular basis. PIs stand to gain a great deal by participating in a CAREER Intensive, but it is a commitment of time (both to one’s own writing and to the group).

Q 9: Would streaming be a possibility?

A 9: Only the CAREER Core will be live-streamed. However, PIs are encouraged to attend in person, for the lively Q&A portion as well as the social networking hour that will follow each Core session. Because the writing groups involve a high degree of discussion and feedback among the group, streaming is not an option for the Core Intensive.

Q 10: Do I need to know what NSF program my research fits with before attending the bootcamp sessions?

A 10: No, it is not necessary to have identified the best fit within NSF prior to the bootcamp. The Bootcamp will help prepare you to do this.

Q 11: How will meeting times for the CAREER Core be scheduled?

A 11: The meeting times for the writing groups will not be scheduled until after the participants are selected, as scheduling will be done through a Doodle poll so that a time can be agreed upon. The groups will most likely meet at the ASRC.