Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's DDIG Season Again

The NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant deadline is almost upon us (October 10, 2013).  What is funded by the DDIG FOA? From the NSF website: “Allowable items include travel to specialized facilities or field research locations and professional meetings, use of specialized research equipment, purchase of supplies and services not otherwise available, the hiring of field or laboratory assistants, fees for computerized or other forms of data, and rental of environmental chambers or other research facilities.”  Importantly, you CANNOT use the DDIG funds for stipends or tuitions.

Note:  If your PI already has a grant on this topic, you are not likely to be funded; If “existing funds” are available for the proposed work, you are disqualified.  The important point being that these proposals are used to gauge the independence of the PhD candidate from the PI’s major research thrust.

Why else consider writing a DDIG? The fame …The glory…The practice and most importantly…Excellent odds (25-30% funding rate)

Last Spring I was able to participate in the review process for one of these clusters (Evolution) within DEB.  It was an interesting experience and I'm putting together a workshop for students at my institution to pass on pearls of wisdom gained.  In the meantime, and with the help of colleagues, I've got a list of helpful links for those preparing a DDIG.  See below and enjoy!

1. The NSF DDIG Page

2. Links to the two sections of NSF through which DDIG's are funded: DEB and the Behavior cluster at IOS.

3. Student resources at the Indiana University Biology Department for DDIG submissions
*warning, some of the links on that page are out of date but the advice documents are still useful

4. Successful DDIG's from Stonybrook

5. One and Two posts from Joan Strassman's blog. 

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