The attached resolution (and its associated report) makes recommendations to the NSFSG application and evaluation procedures. In its first cycle, the NSFSG committee found out that the faculty was given very little guidance on preparing the proposals, and there was essentially no detailed process for evaluating the proposals. As a result, the NSFSG committee received 68 proposals, many over 30 pages (some well over 50 pages) in length, in what appeared to be 68 different formats. Furthermore, lacking a specific review process, all six committee members had to review all 68 proposals, most of which were outside their area of interest / expertise, even for many proposals that came from their own college.
The research committee was therefore charged separately by the senate as well as the provost to prepare a set of guidelines to streamline the application as well as the evaluation process. The attached document provides such a process in detail. Please note that the level of detail provided in the document is for the benefit of the faculty, so that they can follow a very specific set of guidelines on what should the proposal include, how long it should be, what budget items are allowable, and how the evaluation process be conducted. For the senators, I would like to provide the following executive summary of the document.
Preparation: The proposal consists of a cover page, an extended summary written for general audience (1 page), main project description written for colleagues / experts in the same topical area (6 pages), references (2 pages), a budget and its brief justification (2 pages) and a CV (2 pages). All page counts are upper limits, with 1 inch margins and 10 point font or higher. Any faculty whose project scope does not require that many pages may — and in fact encouraged to — use fewer pages with a larger font, if they so desire. The recommended content of these sections are provided in detail (in the attached guidelines), and in general designed to guide the faculty member to make a strong case for his/her proposal. The guidelines, again in general, represent the minimum set of requirements that are typically asked by most funding agencies; hence preparing the proposal according to these guidelines would help faculty improve their proposal writing skills, should they decide to apply for future funding from external sources.
Evaluation: The research committee went to great lengths in discussing the evaluation process so that this process provides as accurate, fair, transparent, unbiased and least taxing review as possible. Our primary concern was to have the proposals reviewed by qualified people, not just some random faculty within a college. Therefore, we recommend the following four step process:
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