Work as an experimental physicist

Feb 19, 2015 research US Japan NSF JSPS grant

I just submitted two grant applications to NSF. The funding mechanism of NSF is quite different from that of JSPS according to my own experience.

The Investigator-Initiated Research Projects, or the NSF regular grant, is applied by researchers in all ranks. A new comer will have to compete with veterans. While Grant-in-Aid from JSPS provides many categories targeted at applicants with different ranks and experience. People compete with their fellows in similar ranks.

Postdocs are not qualified to apply for the NSF regular grant, while they can apply for Grant-in-Aid from JSPS.

Reviewers are definitely experts in the field for NSF grant applications. While the Grant-in-Aid proposal can be reviewed by people from similar fields.

The amount of fund is fixed in a certain Grant-in-Aid category and 30% of it is for administration use. One should ask for exactly the same amount in the proposal for research even though he knows that only 70% can be used for research. The average amount of a NSF PHYS regular grant is ~$100k/year. But one can ask more than that as long as it is justified.

Personnel is not included in Grant-in-Aid from JSPS, while it is included in NSF regular grant. Actually, a large portion of the fund goes to personnel, leaving just small amount for equipment.

About

Blogs on physics research and educational activities of Jing LIU, an assistant professor in physics at the University of South Dakota. He is an experimental physicist developing novel particle detectors for astroparticle physics and civil use.