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Dedicated to those doing their NSF proposals today

Helsinki complaints choir


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I didn't pay that much attention to the mini-controversy over the NSF's proposed revision of its grant evaluation criteria when they were first released, because I was working on the book. I was asked to say something about it yesterday, though, and having gone to the trouble, I might as well say…
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I have no Flash on my desktop, so I haven't seen what you linked to, but... NSF proposal is submitted already. Hours before the deadline! Am I head of the game or what?


As the text says, it is the "Helsinki Complaints Choir" - it is brilliant.

So you were the one who crashed the NSF servers this morning?
I made it with 38 minutes to spare, at the expense of arguably the shortest reference section ever.

If anyone out there is on the panel - I didn't mean to dis anyone by omission, I just ran out of time typing f'ing bibtex entries.
I know I should have done that bit earlier, but I was in Sweden, I mean, come on!

38 minutes to spare? I thought you had until midnight EST tonight; perhaps I was even closer to the wire than I thought.

Anyway, I stopped uploading stuff to the servers about midnight last night, and early this afternoon got SRO to push the button. I wasn't aware of any crashed servers, so....

Doing references got a lot nicer for me once I *finally* started using BibTeX. I didn't start that in grad school, or as a post-doc, but now I'm building my .bib file. It's nice to have the "right" reference list generated fairly automatically.

I populate my .bib file almost entirely by cut-and-paste from adsabs


I thought it was 5 pm EST. Maybe that is our local deadline, not a lot of finance people like to stay in the office till midnight.
NSF servers were down this morning I'm told. Figured it was because of a flood of east coast auxillary documents as everyone loaded their minor sections first and the set to work on the bulk text.

I am using bibtex but don't have a master file, worse I needed a lot of new, recently published entries for this one, and I ended up having to just grab the obvious ones I could think of off the top of my head, not very comprehensive. Should have been 50 or so additional references, but what can you do?

It probably depends on who reads it. Some people won't care much, but if you happen to get the person who wrote one of the papers you should have cited....

It's a peril-laden process.

Every year I tell myself I will plan ahead more the next year, but somehow it never happens.

I suppose if I listened to myself I'd get working on my HST proposal right now.



Yup, the primary reason to load up on cites in the proposals is to cover your bets on who
is going to be on the panel.
There are definitely people who will be insulted if you don't cite their critically important and brilliant work, and they will take it out on your proposal - since clearly you're not familiar with the literature and current state of the art, since you didn't cite them. QED.
Some people don't. But normally one does not take chances, just cite everything.
Be annoying if after all this the proposal sinks on this weakness... as opposed to other more valid weaknesses.
Other reason to cite lots, is that you can, no page limits on references.
Ah well, fingers crossed, could be a rough year for funding.

Ah well, fingers crossed, could be a rough year for funding.

Almost certainly will be.

Do you apply to Extragalacitc? Last year, after my NSF proposal was turned down, Nigel Sharp told me that only 1 in 5 proposals was funded... and that he expected the pressure to be even more this year. Opportunities at NASA are drying up, and the burden is shifting even more to the NSF.


"Last year, after my NSF proposal was turned down, Nigel Sharp told me that only 1 in 5 proposals was funded."

Quit complaining. NIH paylines are going to be 1-in-10 or worse in some institutes.

By PhysioProf (not verified) on 19 Nov 2006 #permalink

I did send one to extragalactic, made the classic error of sending in a new proposal linked a completely different direction for research based on something I talked to a student about. I can see at least three different complaints the review panel could choose to come up with, but, dammit, it is potentially interesting and fun to do.

You NIH folks need to stop complaining, most NASA PI lines look to have success rates of no better than 1:12 and maybe lower than 1:14 in some cases this year. NSF is getting flooded with proposals because 1:5 odds look good this year to a lot of astronomers.
That sucks.

There was a study in Europe which suggested that at success rates of about 1:15 you hit diminishing returns, the researcher time spent on preparing proposals then exceeds the amount of time awarded - of course one could argue that trading off PI time to bring in fresh blood is a good trade, or not.