Preparing For The NSF GRFP

Steps To Help Individuals Get Prepared For The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

1. Watch the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Video when the 2021 video comes out. In the meantime please watch the two videos provided on NSF’s website concerning eligibility and the application portal located at the bottom of this page, I will provide the new video here once it becomes available. The next application period will be this upcoming October (deadline is usually in October of every year).

2. Read the NSF GRFP solicitation in its entirety. Click here to read the solicitation.

3. Go through and review the NSF GRFP website. The link to this website is provided here,

4. Since BI seems to be generate a lot of questions, I have provided some information (e.g. Power-Points) to help navigate through BI in the GRFP. BI is one of the two NSF criterion that must be considered in order to submit a competitive GRFP application packet. After looking at the PowerPoint slides provided through the links below, it will be easier to contextualize how BI should be thought about, written, developed, and implemented for a NSF proposal.

Keep in mind that the NSF GRFP proposal and its BI requirements are different from full faculty research proposals. However having a basic understanding about BI is critical for any proposal submitted to NSF. This is why two different sets of Power-Points have been provided – one for BI in general (includes three different Power-Points) and the other for the NSF GRFP which includes specifics about BI and IM along with other information. The other NSF criterion that must be considered is called Intellectual Merit (IM). The first set of Power-Points for review can be found under the entitled section, “Information from the Broader Impacts in Research (BIR) Organization’s Faculty BI Workshop Seminar Series“.

5. Then click and view the 2018 National Conference for Undergraduate Education (NCUR) PowerPoint slide over the NSF GRFP. Please not that eligibility requirements have changed since 2018.

6. Also begin to think about what has been, is, and what will be your broader impact and broader impact activity/ies in reference to your research and in general. Use this link to get to the excel spread sheet that will help you more specifically think about what you have done or will do to achieve a broader impact. For each row list the respective inputs, activities, outputs, that build up to, correspond, apply, and will allow you to reach your specific future desired outcome. The same applies to your past desired outcomes that have already been achieved.

7. Contact your local Writing Center (e.g. seven months prior to GRFP submission or as soon as possible) to let them know that you will be needing someone to review what you have written for the NSF GRFP and begin to schedule review dates well in advance. At this point in time also start thinking about and writing out your research objective. Here is a link to help prepare for writing a research objective.

8. Contact the people who you would like to write you a letter of reference (e.g. three to five people). It is suggested that “first ask” be done at least six (6) months in advance or as soon as possible. During this time touch base with your your advisor or the person you are doing a research project with to discuss submitting a GRFP application.

9. Over the next six to seven months write and rewrite several versions (three to five) of your IM and BI sections of your application. Have at least seven people including your advisor look, review, and provide feedback on your application before you submit it.

10. When ready, submit your GRFP application. It is suggested that the application be submitted at least one day in advance.

11. For more help, suggestions, or information contact your local GRFP representative or Dr. Michael Thompson, “The Broader Impacts Guy“, Head of Research Impact Enterprises to set up a consultations for the entire GRFP which may include – getting a GRFP packet with sample GRFP Proposals, setting up GRFP informational sessions, GRFP help sessions, GRFP workshops, GRFP seminar or talks, GRFP proposal reviews, and/or about NSF broader impacts (BI) or broader impacts in general, and/or Intellectual Merit, and other tools and resources.

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