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John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis

Proposal Tips and Examples

Powell Center Working GroupTo help Working Groups develop successful proposals, the Powell Center Science Advisory Board has adopted the following NCEAS rules of thumb to guide proposal preparation:

  • Proposals are evaluated primarily on the significance and novelty of the idea(s) under consideration and should be question-driven (i.e., not purely descriptive).
  • Provide a clear rationale for why the proposed activities should be, or can only be, done at the Powell Center with or without potential NSF co-funding.
  • Be clear and concise. Provide brief examples of major points being made or approaches being used. “Trust me” proposals are not effective.
  • Your reviewers are not always subject matter experts. Minimize technical jargon and unidentified acronyms.
  • Include a diverse array of participants who are committed to the project. Pay attention to gender balance and ethnic diversity, and include individuals at all stages of their career. Your team should reflect depth and breadth in expertise, career stage, gender and ethnicity, and your diversity statement should not be a count of under-represented populations. 
  • For each participant, specify the expertise brought to the project and whether he/she has agreed to participate. 
  • Indicate sources and attributes of data used in the project and their availability.
  • If the results are designed or imagined to be useful to resource managers, make clear, valid statements about why and how that is so.

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