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How to write proposals for NASA

January 13, 2010

Are you a planetary scientist, a postdoc, or a graduate student?  Do you want to learn how to target your research proposal to NASA’s many R&A programs?  Then you’ll want to attend this workshop being held the day before the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

NASA will host a Proposal Writing Workshop on Sunday afternoon, February 28, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.  The workshop is open to all interested planetary scientists at no cost. The session will focus on understanding NASA’s research programs and will include information on how to write a research proposal, where to apply for funding, and pathways for participation on missions.  The workshop will be held at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Convention Center. To register, send an e-mail with your name, affiliation, and current position to

The workshop will be led by Curt Niebur, NASA’s Early Career Fellowship Program Scientist — I may be biased (I’m totally biased), but I don’t think you’ll want to miss this!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. ibrahim permalink
    July 5, 2010 4:15 am

    June 5 2010 i looked out of my window at 3:57am and i only saw one star from its view but the star was flashing and flickering it would dim and get brighter. It did this for some time showed i be conserned

  2. January 31, 2010 9:19 pm

    Susan K, what a great reminder! I’ll put this up as its own post later in the week.

  3. Susan K permalink
    January 14, 2010 2:05 pm

    This is maybe a good place too to remind people who are getting started that another good way to learn the process is to participate in it from the reviewer side (e.g., see what pisses you off 🙂 )

    To that end, I remind people that SARA (SMD’s community outreach advocate) is looking for reviewers:

    How to Become a Reviewer
    NASA seeks to have each review panel staffed with members of the scientific community that represent the right expertise for the topic at hand. NASA Program Officers work very hard to ensure that is the case, but the combination of so many proposals, often with multiple co-investigators per proposal and an overworked community make it increasingly difficult to put panels together in short order. You can help. If you are not one of those frequently called upon to serve and feel you could contribute, please let us know. We will follow up with a request for more information. Volunteering does not guarantee you will be called, but it serves to increase the pool of reviewers which can only help. Also, please say yes when you are called. We realize the impact on your time, but this is really the best way to keep our programs strong. To sign up as a volunteer reviewer just send an email to sara at with the following: Your full name and contact information, a copy of your cv, a short description of your area(s) of knowledge. In addition, if you have particular panels in mind, please don’t hesitate to tell us.

    And Susan K again here: also, some review committees seek post docs (maybe even grad students) to serve as executive secretaries. So if you are not advanced enough in your career yet to be a qualified evaluator, you might get insight by taking on this role. Tell your advisor that you are interested in serving in this role if he/she is contacted by NASA to serve as a panelist.

  4. GeoChem Mom permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:13 am

    I went to this as a grad student (back in the days when two Dr. Nieburs were running it) and found it very helpful. I would recommend to anyone in grad school who plans on being a PI some day that you ask your advisor if you can participate in grant-writing. Its useful to get some practice and see how the system works when your job is not on the line.

  5. January 13, 2010 7:22 pm

    I am going to try to fly out sunday morning in time to make it to this 🙂

  6. squawky permalink
    January 13, 2010 6:23 pm

    I will third this. It’s free and informative – I went a few years ago (can’t even remember how many), and I still pull out my notes for reference when I write proposals. Even if you have to cover your Sat. night hotel room yourself, it will be worth it.

    My favorite piece of advice (underlined in those notes) is still “Don’t piss off the review panel.” You’ll have to go to the workshop to hear more…

  7. InterplanetSarah permalink
    January 13, 2010 5:20 pm

    I will second Katie’s post, Curt does a fantastic job, totally worth your time. And it’s free, how can you beat that?

  8. Katie permalink
    January 13, 2010 1:39 pm

    I did it a couple of years ago and want to say that it is totally worthwhile.


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