Writing your 1-page Project Summary
The NSF Project Summary consists of three main sections:
(1) An overview includes a description of the activity that would result if the proposal were funded and a statement of objectives and methods to be employed.
- What is the knowledge gap?
- What are the overall objectives, specific objectives and the proposed research approach?
- What is the research goal and how does it fit with the PI’s long-term research goals?
- How is your proposal creative & original?
- What is the education goal of the proposed project and how does this goal fit with the PI’s long-term educational goals?
- What is the educational approach?
- How are the research and education components integrated?
(2) A statement on the intellectual merit of the proposed activity: should describe the potential of the proposed activity to advance knowledge and the contribution the proposed research will make to the related field and others. Some questions to think about are:
- What is the current state of knowledge in the field, and where is it headed?
- What will your research contribute to the state of knowledge and advance the field?
- Why will your contribution be transformative?
- What will your research do to enhance or enable other research in this field?
- Why is your research important for the advancement of the field?
(3) A statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activity: should describe the potential of the proposed activity to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.
- What are the desired societal outcomes and how will those benefit the society at large?
- How will activities result in advancement?
- What are the possible applications of your research, why would the general public care?
- Does it have any Economic, environmental, social benefits?
- Does it help with the involvement of underrepresented groups in research and education activities?
- How will your proposal benefit your organization?
The Project Summary should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields, and, insofar as possible, understandable to a broad audience within the scientific domain.
Read: Chapter 22, The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook, National Science Foundation – FastLane Version
Available NSF proposals:
- http://www.columbia.edu/~lbh3/Instructions.pdf (here you can find two funded proposals including their “project summary”
- https://jabberwocky.weecology.org/2012/08/10/a-list-of-publicly-available-grant-proposals-in-the-biological-sciences/ (a list of publicly available grant proposals in the biological sciences)
- http://research.utsa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CAREER-Workshop-Handouts-April-2015.pdf - Stanford login required (NSF CAREER grant application with annotated project summaries – Jairo Sinova’s project summary is taken from this document)
- https://figshare.com/authors/Delia_Shelton/790116 (Successful NSF Grant Proposal, Forms, Panel Summary, and Main Grant Paperwork Examples – Delia S Shelton’s project summary is taken from here)
- https://jabunce.wordpress.com/sample-nsf-proposals/ (two funded and unfunded samples of NSF applications from John Bruce)
- https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/earlycareer/research/NSFgrants.html#career (successful NSF grants)