Open thread on preproposal grumblings

Aug 23 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I'm working on a post discussing the letter that is being circulated for signatures about the NSF preproposal process, but I'm in the field this week so it'll take a day or two. The letter appears to have sprung out of the recent Ecology Society of America meeting and makes some valid points. In the mean time, now that we have gone through the preproposals and the full submission deadline, I'll leave this thread open for people's thoughts on the new NSF Bio proposal process. What worked? What didn't? Let it all out.

5 responses so far

  • Odyssey says:

    "Pure" proposals? Huh, your field really is very different to mine...

  • Joshua King says:

    I'm an ecologist/entomologist and I've had one proposal funded from the "old" system and I've gone through preproposal and now invited full proposal for the "new" system. My opinion is that they both have problems (the old version allows more submissions but seems to breed excessive submissions which puts a huge burden on the review process, the new system is slower and may be biased against junior folks) but a hybrid system may improve things enormously. For example, I like the idea of retaining the 2 submission windows (from the old version), but trimming proposal lengths significantly to reduce review burden. Anyhow, without drastically changing the whole manner of funding allocation, it seems likely that none of the current changes will increase the extremely low funding rates, so the goal should at least be to make life easier for PI's and reviewers.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I'm still working out the autocorrect on this thing.

  • pyrope says:

    Do you have a link to the current letter? I found one from last year (

    I liked that the preproposal reviews served to remind me that I don't think and speak ecology as fluently as I would like, and thus saved me the effort of what presumably would have been a failed full proposal. Generally, I like the idea of a preproposal stage.

    Other agencies have annual calls and the disciplines that depend on them seem to get along just fine (NASA is a good example). But, having a call every six months sure is nice, so I'm sorry to see it go.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The "burden" of a reviewer is not linearly related to proposal length, IMO. So cutting the page limit in half, say, doesn't cut the amount of time needed for proper review in half.

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