Research Proposals

Perhaps of greatest importance when you apply for an academic position is a description of your proposed research. Departments want to know what you will need to get results within the first three years, so you can write a grant proposal that will fund your future research. If you approach your proposed research budgets as though you were submitting them to a major granting agency such as the National Science Foundation, it shows that you have thought your proposals through, you know what you need, and you are ready to execute your plans.

Your proposal should be reasonable in scope and effort; one or two focus areas should be sufficient and should match the resources of the institution to which you are applying. These areas can be subdivided into possible student research projects. If you're applying at an undergraduate school, for example, your proposal shouldn't be designed for work with graduate students or postdoctoral fellows.  You want to include a mix of projects - some short-term low risk projects as well as some longer term, higher risk projects.

Identify your expected sources of funding and the journals in which you will publish your results. Describe your instrumentation and equipment needs along with an approximate start-up budget. (This will be part of your negotiations should you receive a job offer.) Your research proposal will vary with the type of institution - projects that require resources found at large research universities won't succeed at a primarily undergraduate institution, and two-year colleges seldom require research proposals at all.

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