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SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants

Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences
John Yellen, Program Director

Archaeology Dissertation Target Dates: Proposals may be submitted at any time

Indirect Costs Notice: Please note an important change to the treatment of indirect costs that was incorporated into the SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (SBE DDRIG) program solicitation (NSF 11-547). NSF's long-standing policy regarding the reimbursement of administrative costs is full reimbursement of indirect costs, based on the awardee's current Federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement. To ensure consistency with Foundation and Federal-wide policies, proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation are subject to the awardee's current Federally negotiated indirect cost rate.

Proposals for Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants submitted to the Archeology Program must comply with or have information about the following bulleted items:

  • Target Date: Proposals may be submitted at any time
  • Project Budget: Maximum of $20,000 in direct costs (plus added indirect costs) to meet expenses associated with doctoral dissertation research. Items normally requested include per diem for time spent away from the home institution, travel funds, supplies and equipment, costs associated with field research and analysis fees. Salary for research at one’s home institution is not permitted.
  • Students doing international research having a formal affiliation with a foreign institution may be eligible for additional funding. Please contact the appropriate program in NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering and the Archaeology Program Director (John Yellen).
  • Project Description is limited to 10 pages of text and 5 pages of figures. While text pages may be traded for figures, the reverse is not allowed.
  • Proposal Title must be prefaced with the phrase "Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: "
  • List the dissertation advisor as Principal Investigator and the student as Co-Principal Investigator. It should be clear however that the proposal is written by, and the research conducted by, the student.
  • All proposals must be submitted electronically via Fastlane or Grants.gov.

Both graduate students and advisors should feel free to contact the Program Director if they have questions or wish to discuss proposed research.

Dissertation Advice to Students

The NSF Archeology Program constitutes part of a larger Anthropological Sciences cluster and its focus is limited to research of clear anthropological significance. In a proposal the students should describe why their research is important from an anthropological perspective. Proposal bibliographies provide one source of reviewer names and it may be useful for students to write the proposal with the expectation that such types of individuals are likely to review it. Although the NSF success rate is relatively high, many applicants request the same funds from several granting sources and this is both a permitted and useful strategy. If more than $20,000 is necessary to conduct the research, one normally must proceed in this way.

Applications are sent to six reviewers and decisions are based on evaluations received. NSF rules require three reviews before a Program recommendation can be made and the process normally takes about three months although formal notification can take considerably longer. Applicants are invited to contact the Program Director for updates on progress. Note that Fastlane permits applicants to suggest both reviewer and non-reviewer names. The success rate for dissertation proposals is approximately 50.

The information necessary to write a doctoral dissertation proposal is contained in several documents and all should be consulted.

  1. The Grant Proposal Guide contains rules which apply to all NSF proposals. In particular note type size and margin specifications and the requirement that the proposal's project summary must address both the "intellectual merit" and the "broader impacts" of the proposed research.
  2. The Archaeology Program is one of many included within the NSF Directorate of Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants solicitation contains Directorate specific information.
  3. The web page you are now reading complements 1 and 2 and contains Archaeology Program specific rules. If information among the three applications differ, the program specific rules should take precedence.
  4. Although not all sections are applicable, applicants should also read the two Answers to Frequent Proposal Preparation Questions and Answers to Frequent Award Administration Questions.

NSF Required Data Management Plan
Proposals submitted to NSF must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled "Data Management Plan" (DMP). This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. For more information about this new requirement, please see the Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II.C.2.j and the Data Management and Sharing Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs).  Please note: the SBE Directorate has additional guidance for proposals submitted to SBE programs, please see Data Management for NSF SBE Directorate Proposals and Awards. Questions should be addressed to John Yellen via e-mail (jyellen@nsf.gov).
While the Archaeology Program does not sponsor or have an official arrangement with any data archive it would note that two organizations provide this service.

In addition to the NSF guidance, you may find the guidance provided by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) helpful. Additional resources can be found at the SAA site.

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