My meetings with my GradFund advisor have allowed me to understand more clearly what funders are looking for and how to best represent myself for the funder audience. I’m applying for a NSF GRF and my advisor has worked with me to clarify the mission of the funder (intellectual merit and broader impacts) as well as outline how to place my research within the broader circles of Rutgers, the scientific community, and the general public.
I plan to research the intersection of mental and physical health, through methods like mindful meditation. The definition of mindfulness varies depending on whether it is being discussed by Arianna Huffington or Richard Davidson (neuroscientist). One challenge I foresee in drafting my grant application is figuring out which overused terms (such as “mind-body”) should be avoided and which terms should be clarified scientifically (such as “mindfulness”), in order to lay out a clear, strong grant application. My advisor has helped me talk through these issues out loud, emphasizing that the NSF is looking to support research that will live beyond academia, while still grounding its “broader impacts” in scientific inquiry.
I find it incredibly helpful that GradFund provides sample essays and tutorials — thank you!