Sariel Har-Peled comments

General comments (if you are going to write a hitchhiker guide to writing Career proposals):

  1. Take it seriously – allocate significant time to writing the proposal. I spent roughly three weeks on this.
  2. Write it early – send it around – try to get as many comments as you can from as many people as you can.
  3. It is hard to write the first NSF proposal. Two pieces of advice: (i) Just do it – there would be enough time to regret what you wrote, after the deadline (ii) Ask to be on an NSF panel before you write your proposal. NSF program managers are desperate to find people to be on the panels and they are happy to have volunteers. This is surprisingly useful.
  4. I am sure I could do a better job with writing the proposal nowadays. But I really did not look at it after I got the money. My point being that the NSF does not really check that you did research on what you promised. Which means that you can be more speculative when writing the proposal, than what you would be comfortable to commit to.
  5. Good people did not get their NSF CAREER proposal funded the first time around. Your working assumption should be that you are NOT going to get it the first time – if you do get it the first time around – great.
  6. NSF requirements keep changing subtly – try to get a very recent NSF proposal that got funded to see what exact stuff you need to write. Ask your business office people if there are any recent changes that you should be aware of.
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