NSF Celebrates Faster Service

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Science  08 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5596, pp. 1169
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5596.1169d

Whenever the National Science Foundation (NSF) asks its “customers” to suggest improvements, the answer from scientists submitting grant proposals is always the same: Don't keep us waiting so long. Four years ago NSF turned that plea into an imperative to staff: Notify at least 70% of your customers of the fate of their grant application within 6 months of submission. This year NSF, with the help of electronic grants management, got over the hump—averaging 74% on the more than 40,000 proposals processed in the fiscal year ending 30 September. That's up from 54% in 2000. So last week it celebrated with an Academy Award-style celebration featuring cake, corny speeches, and loving cups.

NSF's top managers, Joe Bordogna and Rita Colwell, celebrate with a cake.


Unfortunately for applicants, a faster turnaround time doesn't translate into a higher success rate. That has held steady for a decade at just above 30%.

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