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VP-NSF Cohort Pilot Program

VP-NSF Cohort Pilot Program
Deadline: 11:59pm on Monday, June 20th, 2022
Click here to learn more or apply!

Program Description
The VP-NSF Cohort Program (henceforth, “Cohort”) is a university-wide resource that provides up to 20 faculty with NSF-specific mentoring, skill development, and support. Faculty selected to participate in the one-year program will craft an entire NSF proposal with the objective of submitting the following year (and/or next cycle). The program is designed for both new faculty and those who are new to pursuing NSF funding. This is a pilot launch of the VP-NSF Cohort Program.

The Cohort program will build a strong foundation for NSF-engaged faculty, providing Cohort members with critical feedback, resources, and grant-writing/development skills specific to NSF criteria and expectations. Cohort is the first in a series of grant writing resources that will be developed by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) to target major federal funders including the NEH, NEA, DOD, DOE, etc. Cohort will work to foster a sense of belonging for faculty engaging in federally funded research and encourage consistent and long-term interdisciplinary collaboration.

Faculty who complete the Cohort program will finish with a complete NSF grant proposal that is ready for submission. Other potential benefit to participating faculty include:

  • Specific skills/feedback required to pursue and obtain future NSF funding
  • Increased interdisciplinary connections with peers
  • A transferrable research summary designed to kickstart proposals for other grant opportunities (within and outside of the NSF)
  • Enhanced grant-writing skills and confidence
  • Development of faculty mentorship skills 

Cohort Structure
Cohort will represent faculty from across the University of Utah. In line with goals to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) scientific environment, Cohort applications will be assessed based on scientific potential, fit with NSF funding priorities, and contributions to DEI. To facilitate diverse intellectual engagement, Cohort limits participation from each College to 3 faculty members per cycle. 

Eligibility Requirements
The Cohort program is open to all University of Utah faculty who have not received NSF funding as the principal investigator.  All tenure track and career line faculty are eligible, regardless of rank. Faculty who have served as CO-I, senior personnel, etc. on NSF Grants are still eligible for program. Faculty are eligible to apply to the program once they have signed a formal contract of employment with the university. This allows incoming faculty to apply for the program for their first year of employment. Faculty are required to complete the REd NSF Foundation Course before beginning Cohort and are strongly encouraged to complete the course prior to applying for Cohort. The REd NSF Foundation Course is an asynchronous online educational module.

Timeline of Events
The Cohort begins in late August with an introductory social dinner and ends in late April. Beginning in September, each month of the program has the following schedule:

Week 1: Asynchronous training where faculty learn to write a section of an NSF grant.
Week 2: 2-hour cohort meeting led by VP-NSF Program Director.
Week 3: Meeting with mentor to discuss writing progress.
Week 4: 2-hour cohort meeting led by VP-NSF Program Director.

After the introductory social dinner, the Cohort will meet six times in the Fall (September, October, November) and six times in the Spring (February, March, April). Thus, the entire program consists of one introductory dinner, twelve cohort gatherings, six asynchronous training sessions, and six faculty mentor meetings.

Application Process and Evaluation Criteria
Applications for the pilot launch of Cohort are due by 11:59pm on Monday, June 20th, 2022. The application process consists of a short answer online form and the applicant’s vita. After submission, all applicants from a college/unit will be priority ranked by the Dean/Head of that unit. Applications will be reviewed by the faculty mentors based on three criteria: (1) strength of the proposed research program, (2) fit with NSF funding priorities, and (3) diversity, equity, and inclusion

Required Application Materials
Part 1: Applicant Information
Applicants will provide background and contact information in the InfoReady portal. 

Part 2: Application Form
Applicants will be asked to respond to the following questions in approximately 1-2 paragraphs (no more than 400-600 words, depending on the question). 

  1. Please list up to 10 keywords that help identify key objectives, disciplines, research types, etc. that effectively communicate your primary research interests. These keywords help us to identify your research in the university database when we are seeking applications for other opportunities. Example: DEI, global, air quality, interview research.
  2. Have you previously applied for NSF funding? If yes, please identify the opportunity you applied to and a brief description of your experience.
  3. Please select the NSF Directorate your research field/idea is the best fit for.
    • Biological Sciences (BIO)
    • Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)
    • Engineering (ENG)
    • Geosciences (GEO)
    • Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)
    • Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
    • Education and Human Resources (HER)
    • Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP)
  1. Please list all/any NSF funding opportunities you have identified as a potential fit for your research idea.
  2. Please identify your primary research questions.
  3. Please identify the methodological approach you will utilize to address each question.
  4. How would your project achieve broad societal goals and/or transform frontiers of knowledge?
  5. What do you hope to get out of the VP-NSF Cohort Program, if selected?
  6. Anything else you’d like to share with review and selection team?

 Part 3: CV
Applicants will be required to upload their current, full CV.  

Submit an Application
Applications for the pilot launch of Cohort are due by 11:59pm on Monday, June 20th, 2022. Late applications will not be accepted. Applicant must apply via InfoReady to be considered. 

Contact Information 
Questions about the above program guidelines, eligibility criteria, application materials, etc. should be directed to Tyler Matsamas in the VPR Office. 

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Last Updated: 5/9/22