Panelicious thoughts

It's been a long 48 hours and a lot of science has been discussed. A few observations so far

- You can not get funded if you don't excite someone on the panel enough to push your proposal. The ad hoc reviews are read, but it really comes down to the panel members.

- You NEED to keep improving your proposal. Even if you got an "outstading" rating and didn't get funded, every panel is different. It is scary as hell to tweak something that scored high in a previous round, but I have watch proposals go backwards this week because they thought they could just send it in based on the previous ranking and everything would be fine.

- What ends up in the top 20% is extremely biased by who is on the panel. What gets funded is up to the POs.

- One person can kill or champion your proposal.

- Scientists love to hear themselves talk.

- Being a PO is a tough job.

- Write for a broad audience, because most of the people reading your proposal work on something very different than you.

- Add a financial commitment to your broader impacts section. Trust me.

- Despite the work, being on a panel is a really interesting perspective on how to get things funded.

-I can't wait to get home.

12 responses so far

  • Rebecca says:

    Add a financial commitment to your broader impacts section. Trust me.

    Not sure what you mean by this--including it in the budget?

  • Jessica Light says:

    I'm on my first NSF panel in 2 weeks (I have been previously funded by NSF). I am just about done with my first pass through all my proposals, but need to go back through them all again before the panel meets. Thanks for the insight about how your panel went. I bet mine will be similar.

  • GMP says:

    🙂 You hit the nail on the head, PlS. In my experience, each one of your points rings very true.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Yes. Many people promised to do things in their BI section that would require money (eg. a workshop) without budgeting for it or indicating how it would get paid for. The panel viewed these as false promises, because nothing gets done for free. If someone else is paying for it, you should indicate that.

  • Odyssey says:

    Enlightening, isn't it. Hopefully also some fun.

    We had a couple of "talkers" on our panel. It was hell when they were reviewer on the same proposals...

  • Jen says:

    As I have said before, I'v enjoyed reading your posts about your NSF panel experience - thank you very much for sharing!

  • drugmonkey says:

    Scientists love to hear themselves talk.

    and this is why the Good Lord made smartphones.

  • Girlpostdoc says:

    Thanks for sharing. I find all this informative and I am keeping notes for the day I write my first grant.

  • Ink says:

    LOL! Academics in general love to hear themselves talk...

  • antipodean says:

    Oooh. Good advice.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I've gotten a couple of questions about budgeting broader impacts, which I have previously discussed in a post on BI.

  • [...] I have no problem providing advice for proposal writers based on my experience from both being on an NSF panel and through making (and theoretically, learning from) many mistakes along my path of [...]

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