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The NSF CAREER Bootcamp Program is designed to help NSF CAREER eligible tenure track faculty (assistant professors) across CUNY develop competitive proposals for NSF’s Early Career Development Program

Learn more about the program and NSF’s eligibility details »

Broad focus areas:

  • Turning your research idea into an impactful research question & project
  • Integrating research and education plans for potential impact
  • Designing and evaluating substantive Education and Broader Impacts activities
  • Strategies for developing & writing a compelling, competitive, and compliant research proposal
  • Using and receiving constructive feedback from peers

Eligibility Requirements

The ASRC CAREER Bootcamp Program is open to all eligible CUNY tenure track assistant professors.

Tenure track assistant professors who meet the following criteria (as of July 24, 2024) are eligible to apply for the NSF CAREER award and to the Bootcamp:

  • Hold a doctoral degree in a field supported by NSF;
  • Be engaged in research in an area of science, engineering, or education supported by NSF;
  • Hold at least a 50% tenure-track (or tenure-track-equivalent) position as an assistant professor (or equivalent title);
  • Be untenured as of the proposal submission deadline (July 24, 2024).
  • Have not previously received a CAREER award. (Prior or concurrent Federal support for other types of awards for non-duplicative research does not preclude eligibility.) Must not have not previously submitted 3 CAREER proposals.

Acceptance into a Bootcamp is dependent on:

  • Readiness of the PI, assessed via a completed Bootcamp application and possibly, a zoom chat with Linda
  • Fit of the proposed research with NSF
  • Sufficient English writing skills (or regular access to a good editor)
  • Scheduling fit – although extreme efforts are made to accommodate all accepted PIs’ schedules, on occasion this just isn’t possible.
  • Number of applicants to the Bootcamp

Bootcamp Activities and Structure


  • Weekly review of grant writing & specific CAREER proposal requirements and strategies (PPT slides with Q&A)
  • Weekly assignments followed by constructive critiques of drafts


For the 2024 NSF CAREER cycle, the bootcamp is structured in two parts:

  • Part 1 is focused on developing (or revising) a 1-2 page overview (i.e., white paper) of the proposal’s components (research, education plan, intellectual merit, broader impacts, and integration of research and education) of sufficient quality to send to an NSF program officer
  • Part 2 is focused on:
    • fleshing out the remainder of the 15 page project description, project summary, and other required documents;
    • using feedback from the bootcamp group and Linda to improve drafts; incorporating comments from NSF program officers

Participants must make sufficient progress in Part 1 in order to continue to Part 2. The current expectation is that bootcamp participants will have an overview ready to send to their program officer(s) by the end of April. PIs who have not reached this milestone may not be invited to continue to Part 2.

What PIs should be prepared for:

  • Expect to work in groups of 4-8 people.
  • Participants must be able to use OneDrive and Zoom with video effectively.
  • The bootcamps are intensive and require much work on the part of the participants (and Linda)
  • PIs get out of the Bootcamp what they put into it
  • The groups are interdisciplinary. Although there are some challenges in organizing the groups this way, there are significant benefits, such as helping to make proposals understandable to peers with broader levels of expertise
  • PIs are advised to find mentors with expertise in their specific field who can advise them on the technical and advanced scientific aspects of their research


Scheduling of the Bootcamp groups will begin once PIs are notified of their acceptance into the program and will be organized via Doodle poll. Every effort will be made to accommodate availabilities as well as to consider disciplinary compatibilities.

Once accepted, PIs are expected to attend all sessions and contribute respectfully to the group discussions. Meetings will be on Zoom and participation with video and a clear audio connection is required.

Bootcamps will most likely start the last week of February or the 1st week of March, 2024. Groups will meet weekly (with 1 or 2 weeks off) through the week of July 19. Note that CAREER proposals must be submitted to NSF by July 24, 2024 (5 PM).

Participants should expect to allot a minimum of 3-5 hours per week to their proposal development or writing activities. Homework is to be uploaded 48 hours in advance of the meeting it will be discussed.

How to Apply

Participation in the NSF CAREER Bootcamp is by application only.

Applications for the Spring 2024 program is extended to Monday, February 5, 5:00 p.m.

*For PIs intending to work on a resubmission and who have not yet received a decision from NSF by the Bootcamp application deadline, please check the Tentative resubmission box and submit a completed application. If your 2024 proposal is subsequently declined and you want to activate your bootcamp application, please contact Linda Vigdor ASAP after hearing from NSF. Please include your 2024 proposal and reviews, as outlined in the application.

Past NSF Career Award Winners

The following past bootcamp participants have received NSF Career Awards:

  • Timothy Benseman, Queens College, Physics
  • Saptarshi Debroy, Hunter College, Computer Science
  • Rob Messinger, CCNY Grove Engineering
  • Sriram Ganeshan, CCNY, Physics
  • Cheryl Carmichael, Brooklyn College, Psychology
  • Jing Fan, CCNY Grove Engineering
  • Gabriele Grosso, ASRC, Photonics
  • Dorthe Eisele, CCNY, Physics
  • Megan Owen, Lehman College, Mathematics
  • Jacquelyn Bracco, Queens College, Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Renato Ghini Bettiol, Lehman College, Mathematics
  • So Takei, Queens College, Physics
  • Pablo Soberon Bravo, Baruch, Math (2023)
  • Matthew Junge, Baruch, Math (2023)
  • Xi Chen, ASRC, Nanoscience (2023)
  • Pedro Val, Queens, Geology (2024)
  • Chen Wang – Queens College, Chemistry (2024) (and at least 1 pending, for 2024)

Prior Bootcamp Participant Comments

  • I would have no proposal and no plan to get NSF funding were it not for Linda’s bootcamp. Even if my proposal isn’t funded, I now have the confidence to write proposals – but only because of Linda’s bootcamp. She is one of those rare gems in the CUNY system. I think all CUNY junior faculty in the natural and social sciences should consider participating in her bootcamps. I will certainly recommend this program to my colleagues.
  • The Bootcamp was great. While I did not get my NSF CAREER Proposal funded (first bootcamp offered was my third submission), I think it would have been with another round. The structure was so much better because of the bootcamp. I had to improve a bit on the science aspects. I was able to, however, learn from the structure and development philosophies and take the NSF Career reviewer feedback and turn that into a successfully-funded DOE Early Career Award! You get what you put into the bootcamp. Be prepared to have the workload equivalent of a semester-long course. In the end, having funded grants – not just the one being written in the bootcamp, but also all of your future grants is well worth it. I highly recommend those serious about upping their grantsmanship participate in the bootcamps. Linda does a great job at leading them and getting us to work!
  • The bootcamp help me get the NSF CAREER grant for the 2019-2020 cycle in my first attempt. I couldn’t have been successful without the bootcamp. Although the CAREER proposal wasn’t my first rodeo and I had successful NSF proposals before this one, the bootcamp made me realize how the expectations from a CAREER proposal are unique in terms of both technical approach and integration with education components. Linda’s and my group members’ feedbacks helped me to create a narrative that is lucid and relatable to the broader scientific community on top of being technical sound. Overall, the bootcamp’s regimental approach towards incremental improvement around my original idea was one of the biggest factors towards the proposal’s success. I can’t recommend the bootcamp enough for colleagues who are either writing NSF proposal for the first time or seasoned proposers looking to bounce their CAREER-worthy ideas and thoughts against non-domain scientists.

The ASRC Bootcamp program is led by:

Linda Vigdor, M.F.A., Ph.D.
Associate Director of Proposal Development
Advanced Science Research Center

For more information, please contact: