"Tips for a Winning Research Proposal," from Tomorrow's Professor

Kate Stuart
November 26, 2014

"Experts suggest ways to gain favor with funding agencies. The numbers look scary. Of the 48,999 research proposals it received in fiscal year 2013, the National Science Foundation funded just 10,829, or 22 percent. At the National Institutes of Health, the "success rate" was less than 17 percent. For new faculty members making their first try as a principal investigator (PI), things were more intimidating. At NSF, 17 percent of these proposals got funded; at NIH, fewer than 10 percent. The rates are unlikely to improve much in the near future, with government research funding essentially flat. But strip away the one-third of proposals rejected because they don't meet basic requirements like deadlines and add to that the ones so badly composed as to insult reviewers, and the picture starts to look brighter."