Strategy = Success:  A Look Through Experienced Eyes for Navigating NSF Funding Proposals

Sponsored by: ACerS Corporate Partner Thermo Fisher Scientific

Wednesday, October 26, 2022; 2 – 3 p.m. Eastern US time

The webinar, will feature two presentations: “The Actors needed for a Successful National Science Foundation Major Research Instrument (NSF MRI) Proposal,” presented by Judy Westrick, Ph.D, Director, Lumigen Instrument Center; Wayne State University and “From good idea to finished proposal: Why are there so many steps?,” presented by Dr. Jennifer L.W. Carter, Faculty Director, Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis of Materials (SCSAM); Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).


The first half of the webinar will feature the complex and lengthy process of NSF MRI proposal writing. As a proposal leader, it is imperative to understand the winding road ahead:  faculty instrument committees; core meetings; manufacturer interviews and analysis trials; gathering information and data; university NSF-MRI selection committees; limited submission internal review; managing individual faculty contributions; drafts; and of course, the final proposal submittal.  This presentation attempts to provide a basic road map that will enable the proposal leader to stay on the straighter and hopefully paved roads. 

The second presentation will try to demystify the steep learning curve for successfully completing an MRI proposal in the highly-collaborative, team research environment. I will discuss the process at CWRU, and how I have successfully navigated the limited submission process by tailoring the story of need to the internal stakeholders and what metrics of success and need have been valuable in convincing the NSF reviewer that the institution needs and can sustain the requested instrument.


Dr. Judy Westrick

Dr. Jennifer Carter

Dr. Westrick is the Director of the Lumigen Instrument Center, Wayne State University. The Lumigen Instrument Center is housed in the Paul A. Schaap Chemistry Building and consists of four facilities: Electron Microscopy, NMR and EPR, Mass Spectroscopy, and X-Ray Diffraction and Optical Spectroscopy. Dr. Westrick and the senior researcher staff have written major instrument proposals for the four laboratories.  Dr. Westrick has had great success with five major instrument proposals translating into five grants. 

Dr. Jennifer Carter joined the faculty at CWRU in 2013 after completing a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering at The Ohio State University. She is a translational researcher that develops experimental approaches to the design of materials and manufacturing routes. She was awarded an NSF CAREER in 2015, and a PECASE in 2019.

She gained leadership of the microscopy facility in January of 2021 after being awarded an NSF MRI that would change the trajectory of the facility to better support CWRU researchers that tackle grand challenges in the biomedical, manufacturing, and energy technology sectors. SCSAM operates a variety of workhorse instruments (SEM, SEM-FIB, XRD, AFM) and gains its reputation in the space of analytical spectroscopy (XPS and TOF-SIMS) and is growing expertise in 3D microscopy/spectroscopy and in-operando experiments.


Registration cost: Free
Register here

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Zimmerman.