Additional information about the preproposal assignment
Format and structure of the preproposal
The Preproposal is limited to four pages (not including References) and, in addition to the title and your name, should include the following 5 sub-sections (per NSF preproposal guidelines):
1. "Conceptual Framework" or "Objectives" or "Specific Aims"
2. "Rationale and Significance" or "Background"
3. "Research Question(s)" or "Hypotheses"
4. "Research Approach" or "Experimental Plan"
5. "Broader Impacts"
There is no specific requirements for the length of each sub-section. But a good balance could be something like: Section 1, 1/4-1/3 pages; Section 2: 1/2-2/3 pages; Section 3: 1/3-2/3 pages; Section 4: 1.5-2 pages (including figures); Section 5: 1/2-2/3 pages. Before writing the preproposal, you should also familiarize yourself with the Review Criteria as listed in the next section
References Cited are limited to 3 pages. You can use a standard journal style for the reference format. Fonts should be "Arial 10-11" or "Times New Roman 11-12".
Preproposal review guidelines
In writing your preproposal, keep in mind these review criteria extracted from the NSF preproposal guidelines, which we will use in evaluating your preproposal
"When evaluating NSF proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. To that end, reviewers will be asked to evaluate all proposals against two criteria:
Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.
The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:
1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
a. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
b. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?
Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education."