The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and Spelman College, with generous support from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Build and Broaden Program, are launching a mentoring program for economics department faculty members at minority-serving institutions who wish to develop research proposals that can be submitted to the NSF and other potential funders.
The program co-directors are Danielle Dickens (Spelman College), James Poterba (MIT and NBER), and Angelino Viceisza (Spelman College and NBER). The program is also supported by a six-member advisory board: Senay Agca (George Washington University), Larry Chavis (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill), Kaye Husbands-Fealing (Georgia Institute of Technology), Patrick Mason (Florida State University), Sandra Orozco-Aleman (Mississippi State University), and Sinead Younge (Morehouse College).
This initiative will launch with a virtual workshop on February 25, 2022. It will continue with an intensive mentoring program between May 2022 and January 2023. This announcement requests sign-ups for the virtual workshop, and describes how to apply for the mentoring program.
Virtual Workshop: This workshop, scheduled for Friday, February 25, 2022, will describe the NSF proposal application process, the various NSF programs that are available to support research in economics, and the criteria that are typically used in reviewing proposals. This workshop will also offer general advice about proposal writing and submission. There are no limits on the number of participants but advance registration is required. To register, please visit
and enter your email address, institutional affiliation, and indicate whether you have ever applied for an NSF research grant. Registration will close at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, February 10, 2022.
Mentoring Program: Junior and senior faculty at minority-serving institutions are invited to apply for participation in an intensive mentoring program that will take place between May 2022 and January 2023. This program will focus on the preparation and submission of an NSF research proposal. Five researchers will be selected for this program, which will involve one-on-one pairing with a mentor who has been a successful NSF grant applicant. Program participants will receive funding for release time in the fall semester of 2022 to support extra attention to proposal development. Responses to a set of FAQs concerning the mentoring program have been posted here.
To be considered for participation in the mentoring program, researchers must register for and participate in the February 25 workshop. In addition, they should assemble the following materials in a single PDF file:
1) A cover letter describing the applicant’s contact information, research field of interest, a list of past grant applications to the NSF and other external organizations (please do not include applications to funding sources at the home institution), and the contact information for a dean or other senior administrator who can attest to the presence of institutional support for grant applications to the NSF and other entities.
2) A curriculum vitae.
3) A one-page summary describing one or more research projects that could be the basis for an NSF grant proposal. When possible, the summary should address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of this potential research. The NSF defines intellectual merit as “the potential to advance knowledge,” and broader impacts as “the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired, societal outcomes.”
This application packet should be uploaded to:
by 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, February 23, 2022. Applicants should also ask their dean or another senior administrator – the same person mentioned in the cover letter -- to submit a confidential letter of support for the applicant’s participation in the mentoring workshop to NBER grant administrator Elisa Pepe (firstname.lastname@example.org). This letter should attest to the applicant’s home institution’s willingness to administer a research grant from the NSF if one is awarded, and outline any institutional support that might be available to further the proposal preparation process, such as additional teaching relief or a reduction in administrative duties if the applicant is selected for the mentoring program.
The review panel will announce the participants in the mentoring program in late March, 2022. Some applicants for the mentoring program, including all of those who are selected and some of those who are not, will be asked to complete a survey about their experiences with research proposal preparation and submission as part of a program evaluation.
Administrative questions about the mentoring program may be addressed to Elisa Pepe (email@example.com). Broader questions about the mentoring program may be addressed to program co-director Angelino Viceisza (firstname.lastname@example.org).