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SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants

Research on the Science and Technology Enterprise: Statistics and Surveys
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES)
Nirmala Kannankutty, Program Director

Target Date: January 15th annually

Due Date Clarification: NCSES has released a new solicitation with an upcoming deadline date of June 6, 2012. Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) proposals can be submitted this year directly to this new solicitation and will be accepted through that date. For future years, DDRIG proposals should be submitted to the SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants Solicitation for the January 15 target date and regular proposals to the Research on the Science and Technology Enterprise: Statistics and Surveys Solicitation for the January 15 deadline date.

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics funds doctoral dissertation research on science, engineering, technology, and innovation (S&T) issues and policies that affect the U.S. in its international setting. It supports high quality doctoral research that may lead to (1) improved survey methodologies to generate S&T data, (2) creation or improvement of S&T indicators reflecting science, research and development, innovation activities, engineering, technology, or the science and engineering workforce, (3) strengthening of methodologies to analyze statistical S&T data, or (4) development of novel means to convey the information in these data to a variety of audiences. NCSES encourages proposals that analyze NCSES S&T data or NCSES data in conjunction with relevant data from other sources, but also accepts proposals to analyze data from non-NCSES sources alone, including international data.

NCSES Dissertation Improvement Grants help to defray direct costs associated with conducting research, including dataset acquisition, original data collection, additional statistical or methodological training, meeting with scholars associated with original datasets, and fieldwork away from the student's home campus.

Proposals for Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants submitted to NCSES must comply with and have the following information:

  • Target Date - January 15: Decisions about support are made within six months of the target date.
  • Project Duration : 12 months with possibility of renewal (with additional funding) based on progress toward completion.
  • Project Budget : Dissertation grants are generally for $12,000 or less although higher levels of funding are possible with justification. Funds are for expenses associated with conducting the dissertation research (e.g., data collection, field work, payment to subjects, survey expenses, software, microfilm, data transcription, file creation and data merging, courses on specialized skills, travel, and expenses incurred at sites away from the student’s home institution). The grant does not support stipend, salary and tuition reimbursement.
  • Proposal Title should begin with, "Doctoral Dissertation Research:...”
  • P.I.: The dissertation advisor should be listed as the Principal Investigator. The dissertation student may be listed as the Co-Principal Investigator.
  • Project Summary: Students must clearly address, in separate, labeled, sections within the one-page limitation, both of the NSF merit review criteria in the Project Summary. The intellectual merit portion should include, minimally, background information on the research (theory, prior research), research hypotheses and/or questions, and a description of methods and expected findings. The broader impacts portion might address such questions as: How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training or learning? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society? (see the Grant Proposal Guide for more detail).
  • Project Description must not exceed 10 single pages. Do not send transcripts and letters of recommendation but include any questionnaires or survey guides for original data collection.
  • Font and Spacing: Proposals must have 2.5 cm margins at the top, bottom and on each side. The type size must be clear and readily legible, and conform to the following three requirements: 1) the height of the letters must not be smaller than 10 point; 2) type density must be no more than 15 characters per 2.5 cm; (for proportional spacing, the average for any representative section of text must not exceed 15 characters per 2.5 cm); and, 3) no more than 6 lines must be within a vertical space of 2.5 cm. The type size used throughout the proposal must conform to all three requirements. While line spacing (single-spaced, double-spaced, etc.) is at the discretion of the student, established page limits must be followed. The guidelines specified above establish the minimum type size requirements, PIs, however, are advised that readability is of paramount importance and should take precedence in selection of an appropriate font for use in the proposal.
  • IRB: For proposals involving human subjects, please be sure to email or fax (703-292-9195) the Human Subjects Certification form from the submitting institution. If the certification is pending, please include information to that effect on the cover sheet. The institutional form certifying that the project has been approved should be scanned and incorporated in a file in the supplementary documents section of the proposal. PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED OF FUNDING TO START THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS.
  • Proposals that violate these regulations in an attempt to squeeze in more information antagonize reviewers and may be returned without consideration.
  • All proposals must be submitted electronically via Fastlane or Grants.gov.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Nirmala Kannankutty, nkannank@nsf.gov

Dissertation Advice to Students

More information about the nature of dissertation grants, applicant eligibility, and proposal and grant processing is given in the announcement, SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants.

As a general rule, proposals that review well are those that clearly state a central research question, make an argument that engages and/or debates relevant literatures, specifies the data the student will gather and the analytic procedures the student will apply to those data. Additionally, strong proposals state what the researcher expects to find or show through the research.

When preparing the proposal, write clearly and concisely. Reviewers will be selected from a variety of specialty areas so it is possible that one or more reviewers will not specialize in your particular area of research. Defining key terms and keeping your proposal free of jargon will ensure that all reviewers will be able to understand your proposal and evaluate it fairly.

NCSES interacts with other programs in the Directorate of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) and many of these also accept doctoral dissertation improvement grant proposals. Items such as budget limitations, target dates and /or deadlines, page length restrictions, and review procedures vary widely across programs. Please consult other SBE program web pages for specific information and contact the program director as needed.

* Note: Students doing international research, having a formal affiliation with a foreign research institution, may be eligible for additional funding. Please contact the appropriate program in NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE).



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