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CAREER Resources

The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program is the agency’s most prestigious award. Awardees should have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. The award is to help build a firm foundation for a “lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.” Successful Principal Investigators propose creative, effective research and education plans that are developed within the context of the mission, goals, and resources of their organizations. 

This program is highly competitive. A key to success is to start early. Unlike other submissions, this is a career development submission rather than a research proposal; thus, in addition to proposing a research plan, applicants must also provide a career development plan and an explanation of how they will integrate education with research. This page provides multiple resources and tools to help applicants develop CAREER proposals and address important differences from more traditional NSF submissions. 

Eligibility

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Hold a doctoral degree in a field supported by NSF
  • Be engaged in an area of science, engineering, or education supported by NSF
  • Be employed in a tenure-track position as an assistant professor (or equivalent title) as of October 1 following the submission
  • Be untenured as of October 1 following the submission
  • Have not had more than two CAREER proposals reviewed previously
  • Have not previously received a CAREER award (Note: applicants may have received other funding from NSF or other agencies as long as that funding does not duplicate the research described in the CAREER proposal.) 

Resources

CAREER Program Website
Frequently Asked Questions: CAREER Program for submission in years 2017—2019  (NSF 17-050)
Program Overview
CAREER Proposal Writing Tips
 Workshops
  • NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop: This workshop provides future CAREER proposal submitters with proposal review experience and interactions with NSF program directors and recent NSF CAREER awardees. The application deadline is typically in early to mid-January; the workshop is offered in late March or early April. View the resources provided at one of these workshops.

  • K-State Nuts and Bolts Workshop and Writing Clinic: This workshop discusses the requirements for a CAREER submission. A panel of K-State faculty members who have submitted to this program also provide writing tips and insight on putting together a CAREER proposal. The Writing Clinic is a follow-on for interested attendees who agree to participate in a series of writing exercises over the period leading up to the CAREER due date; the exercises are designed to help the participant develop a better submission.

  • Other CAREER workshops organized for specific NSF Directorates: These will be added as opportunities are announced. 

Webinars
  • NSF: Each year in mid-May, the NSF CAREER Coordinating Committee hosts a webinar to answer participants' questions about development and submission of proposals to the NSF CAREER program. The webinar gives participants the opportunity to interact with members of the NSF CAREER Coordinating Committee in a question-and-answer format. View the 2017 webinar.

  • NSF CEBT: NSF Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) also hosts an informative CAREER Proposal Webinar. This is also typically held in mid-May. View the 2017 webinar.

Library of Winning CAREER Proposals 
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs maintains a secure library of successful NSF CAREER proposals from K-State faculty members. To gain access to the library, you must participate in one of the workshops listed above or one of ORSP’s or your college’s grant writing/CAREER sessions. Please email orsp@ksu.edu with the subject line “NSF CAREER Proposal Library” to request access or find more information.
 Tips and Other Resources
  • Contact an NSF Program Officer early to make sure that your idea is fundable and of interest to the division to which you are considering submitting. If not, the Program Officer can help you redirect your thinking or find a better division for your submission.

  • Search the NSF Awards Database for examples of funded CAREER proposals in the division to which you are considering submitting.

Guidance from Other Institutions 
Other Analogous Young Investigator Award Programs