2019 NSF CAREER Bootcamp Program
The NSF CAREER Bootcamp program is led by Linda Vigdor, MFA, PhD; Associate Director of Proposal Development at the ASRC. Program contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participation in the NSF CAREER Bootcamp is by application only.
December 18, 2018, 9:00 a.m. – First-time application submissions due
January 11, 2019, 4:00 p.m. – Resubmission applications due*
Mid-January – selection committee meets and notifications of acceptance are distributed
* For PIs intending to work on a resubmission and who have not yet received a decision from NSF, please check the Tentative resubmission box and submit a partial application. If your 2018 proposal is declined and you want to activate your bootcamp application, please contact Linda Vigdor ASAP after hearing from NSF. Please include your 2018 proposal and reviews.
For those PIs working on a 3rd CAREER submission and who participated in a previous CAREER bootcamp, we may organize a more focused and shorter duration group for this cohort.
These sessions will include a short overview of the NSF CAREER program and the ASRC Bootcamps as well as provide opportunities for interested PIs to ask questions about the Bootcamp program. Sessions will be conducted on-site at the ASRC and online via Zoom.
Bootcamps meet weekly and will most likely run from the week of February 4, 2019 through the week of July 15, when the proposals are due at NSF.
Final scheduling of the Bootcamp groups will begin once PIs are notified of their acceptance into the program. Every effort will be made to accommodate everyone’s availability as well as to arrange groups around disciplinary compatibilities.
Bootcamps will feature a flipped lecture approach. On alternating weeks, materials (primarily PowerPoints) will be emailed ~1 week in advance; during the group meeting we will discuss the materials and specific grant writing strategies or techniques. The remaining part of the session will allow time for people to do some focused writing on the section discussed. The in-between weeks will be primarily devoted to reading and discussing drafts. Participants should expect to allot a minimum of 5 hours per week to their proposal development or writing activities.
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 an NSF CAREER award or previously applied to the program 3 times. (Prior or concurrent Federal support for other types of awards for non-duplicative research does not preclude eligibility.)
Q2: Why are the applications for 1st time submissions and resubmissions different?
A2: PIs who plan to do a resubmission are awaiting a decision from NSF on their prior submission. In past years, most PIs were notified by mid-January. By staggering the application deadlines, the Bootcamp selection committee will have more time to review each type of application.
Q 3: What will be required to apply for the CAREER Bootcamps?
A 3: The Bootcamp application is to be submitted online. Materials that applicants will need to prepare include, in outline format (for each topic, no more than ½ page is expected):
- Rationale: Provide a rationale of why you think this year is a good year for you to apply for an NSF CAREER award, given that NSF allows 3 opportunities to apply, all prior to receiving tenure. (no more than ½ page, single spaced, 12-point font)
- Research Plan: State your expected research problem, hypothesis, or overarching question. Include a statement of how this research is distinguished from your PhD or postdoc advisor(s).
- Intellectual Merit: The expected significance for your field
- Passion for the topic: Why you are passionate about this area of research or why you are drawn to it
- Preliminary Data: A description of your existing preliminary data relevant to the proposed project. If not yet available, provide a detailed plan of how you will get the needed data by (approximately) the end of March.
- Publications: State (up to 4) of your most relevant publications related to the proposed project; identify your contribution to the article and your academic position at the time of writing it (e.g., PhD student, postdoc, assistant professor).
- Education Plan: Outline any ideas you have for your education-focused activities. Provide a list of education related activities you have been involved in.
- Department Chair Support: A brief letter of support signed by your department chair, using a provided template:
For resubmissions, the following 3 documents must be included:
- Your prior proposal (project summary and project description only
- Peer/panel reviews of that proposal
- One paragraph that describes at least one strategy that you believe would improve your proposal in 2019. Please make sure your name is on each of these documents.
Q 4: What are some benefits of participating in the CAREER Bootcamps?
A 4: Along with getting support for writing a competitive proposal, PIs have the opportunity to gain advanced grant writing skills, a greater understanding of the relationship between grants/sponsors and one’s research, develop and strengthen their research ideas within a supportive community of peers, and network with research focused faculty across CUNY.
Q 5: Would I be expected to attend all CAREER Bootcamp meetings?
A 5: Yes. Everyone will get the greatest benefit from the Bootcamps 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, but it is a commitment of time (both to one’s own writing and to the group).
Q 6: Do I need to know what NSF program my research fits with before attending the bootcamp sessions?
A 6: 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 7: How will meeting times for the CAREER Core be scheduled?
Q 7: The meeting times for the writing groups will not be scheduled until after the participants are selected. Scheduling will be done through a Doodle poll so that a time can be agreed upon. Most groups will likely meet at the ASRC, although other venues may be possible, depending on where participants are located. Weekly meetings last ~ 2 ½ hours.
Q 8: Why will groups meet every week?
Q 8: Based on feedback and empirical observations from the 2017 and 2018 Bootcamps, weekly meetings seem to be the better strategy to help PIs towards the goal of submitting proposals. Notably, PIs were less successful when the groups met every other week rather than weekly.