ASTR 8500 (O'Connell, February 2012)


TIPS ON WRITING PROPOSALS IN ASTRONOMY


Most resources (money, observing time, computing facilities, etc.) in astronomy are competitively awarded. This means that all astronomers must become adept at writing proposals to secure those resources.

Most of the following tips apply to all kinds of proposal writing, specifically for grants from federal agencies or for competitively-awarded observing time on major telescope or computing facilities.

Probabilities

Success rates for proposals in astronomy currently are generally small: rarely better than 30% and in the more competitive cases, only about 10%. For NSF research grants, success rates are in the 20-25% range.

For in-department observing proposals for time on our guaranteed-access facilities the success rate is typically 80%.

Effort

Writing a good proposal is time consuming; and (obviously) the effort increases in proportion to the scale of the project involved. Some rules of thumb:

Advance planning

Budgets

Proposal Review

Writing the Proposal


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Last modified December 2015 by rwo


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