National Science Foundation Funding Opportunities and Proposal-Writing Strategies

February 16, 2011

National Science Foundation Funding Opportunities and Proposal-Writing Strategies

Thomas Baerwald

Dr. Thomas Baerwald, Senior Science Advisor for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, gave a lecture in the Anatol Center on Thursday, February 10th. Baerwald provided a broad overview of the NSF, discussing how it’s an active program of funding for Research in Undergraduate Institutions as well as for numerous interdisciplinary programs.

As Baerwald discussed, Congress created the NSF in 1950 to promote the progress of science, the advancement of national health, prosperity, and welfare, as well as to secure national defense. That said, Baerwald explained that the NSF needs individuals who are willing to contribute to the fulfillment of its mission and, thus, is very willing to fund a variety of educational endeavors. For instance, stressing the NSF’s willingness to provide such indiscriminate funding, Baerwald described the NSF “as a bank with many vaults.”

He continued with a discussion about how to prepare and compose proposals that will be more competitive in NSF reviews. For instance, he provided detailed information about selecting programs, obtaining advice when writing proposals, understanding deadlines, and writing competitive research proposals. He explained that with a budget of $6.87 billion per fiscal year, the NSF is able to provide approximately 12,000 new awards annually to various institutions.

Dr. Baerwald can be contacted at or (703) 292-7301.

For those interested in accessing a copy of Dr. Baerwald’s PowerPoint presentation, contact the Chair of the Geography department, Dr. Vincent Del Casino Geography at

By Melissa Bell
Journalism Major