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About alexhunterlang

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    Salk Institute
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  1. I have compiled lots of example essays that hopefully everyone will find useful. I have also posted my thoughts here.
  2. Is this one of your letter writers? If not, definitely at least try them for some help. I think it is worth talking to them. I have a feeling they would be more than willing to help. I can tell you that at this point in my career (ie a postdoc), if someone is broadly in my research area, even if I haven't worked directly on their topic, I can usually at least give a rough judgment of feasible/unfeasible as a research proposal. So I'm guessing that your professors should be able to narrow your topics down for you. Two other tips: See if your school has a fellowship / grant wr
  3. Have you worked with any faculty on these projects? Or are there faculty that work on similar projects in your school? I think at this point, you really need to find a faculty advisor that you can pitch these ideas to. They will have a sense of what projects actually gets funded in your research area and should be able to narrow the list of 4 down to 1 or 2. I personally know very minimal about your field, but in general, I think funding agencies hate the words "solving hard problems" that "don't really have broad impacts outside their topic". You need to put together a research p
  4. Good luck everyone on the NSF GRFP applications! I have a few miscellaneous thoughts... 1. I want to make sure that first year grad students didn't miss this... I don't envy anyone having to make the choice of whether to apply your first or second year. I hope all undergrads reading this use this as extra motivation to apply now! 2. While the gradcafe is of course awesome, also take advantage of the experienced resource list. 3. I just updated my collection of examples of successful applications to everything I know about, and I also updated my advice to the newest solic
  5. I also can't find a specific link, but I recall seeing multiple references that the percentage of winners is very closely proportional to the number of applicants for a given category. So since last year, 2000 fellowships were awarded out of around 16000 applicants, the success rate was about 12% per category. The number of applicants is definitely going up every year, so if I had to guess, there will be 17-18,000 applicants, so a success rate closer to 11% (unless funding increases).
  6. I would say that this research proposal is 100% an exercise in grant writing. For those of you that haven't seen how a grant is written, here is the process I have witnessed. Step 1: Do a bunch of research. Step 2: Write a grant. These usually have three aims. Aim 1 was definitely already accomplished. Aim 2 is started. Aim 3 is actually about the future. So I think when writing the research proposal it is more than reasonable to include something in the "proposal" that is actually actively being researched.
  7. I definitely know winners that took multiple chance to get the fellowship and for each application, it was very strongly based on the previous application. So while I'm assuming NSF has some plagarism software to make sure you don't copy someone else, you won't get rejected for self plagarism And to echo @gellert, the reviewers know nothing about your previous applications.
  8. Great tip! I never thought of that. So some general advice for finding useful examples: GoogleI've put together a table with all the examples I found. I also have given my general advice on applying.@coffee_grad's email tip (past winners here)Local resources at your college. Most schools have some writing / application advisors. Or you can start with the experienced person list. Good luck everyone
  9. I've been doing my best to collect example essays here. I have found examples in physics, chemistry, neuroscience, environmental science, computer science, economics, synthetic engineering, astronomy, and bioengineering. If anyone else finds some new ones, let me know. Or if anyone is willing to share but doesn't have a website, let me know and I can post the essays on mine.
  10. Go to http://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for the latest details. Here are the deadlines this year: 2012 GRFP Application Deadlines - submitted by 7:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time November 14, 2011- Engineering November 15, 2011 - Mathematical Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering; Chemistry; Physics and Astronomy; Materials Research November 16, 2011 - Social Sciences; Psychology; Geosciences; STEM Education and Learning November 18, 2011 - Life Sciences; Interdisciplinary Reference letters are due on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 by 7:00 p.m. EST
  11. The NSF GRFP website is being slow to update the specific criteria for this year's applications, but that is not an excuse to procrastinate! The rules don't change much from year to year, so start writing your essays now. Good luck everyone.
  12. Here are some other reference essays: Astronomy Bioengineering I'll do my best to keep posting new essays I find to this forum, but my website will be my most up-to-date information.
  13. I would also be willing to read some essays, but I may end up saying no if I get bombarded with lots of requests. Google me to find my email. I am a physics grad student doing research in theoretical biophysics. The farther away your topic is from my research, the less I could comment on actual scientific merit, but I can help with the rest of it.
  14. This is definitely true. The reviewers judge you against you fellow "classmates." So after your first year of grad school they expect you to have a better grasp of research than a senior undergrad would. So yes, it is easier to apply early. And also, if you do not get it your first time, you can try again. They do NOT hold it against you if you are a multiple year applicant. So learn from reviewers comments and try again!
  15. This is a really good point and something that I did not do as well as I could have. I did not use the specific titles for Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, but I have seen that in several essays and it can be very beneficial. I wrote my essays and then saw that, and I didn't know how to divide my essays up without completely rewriting. But, if you start off thinking only in terms of those two categories, that would work well. And yes, the reviewers are speed reading. I don't know how much time they spend on one applicant, but I would guess only a couple of minutes. So this means tha
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