David Mendonça, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 

"Effective Proposal Writing from the Inside Out"

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 at 11 a.m. 
Covell Hall, Room 117


This talk is a personal reflection on the research funding enterprise based on two years recently spent as a program officer in the Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The objective of this talk is to convey one set of opinions (my own) on the circumstances and content that tend to be associated with successful (or at least highly competitive) proposals. A brief, functional overview of NSF serves as a prelude to three main themes:

the genealogy and lifecycle of NSF programs and divisions as important circumstantial factors in determining the fit of your idea to a given program; the intermediary role of panels and other forms of review in the funding process; and, lastly, how study design can make or break a proposal. The talk concludes with a summary of factors to consider in deciding on the content, timing and target program for your research proposals.


David Mendonça is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. from University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

Professor Mendonça's research centers on the study of the cognitive processes that underlie human decision making in the management of critical infrastructure systems with a focus on understanding and supporting decision making in high consequence, non-routine, time-pressured situations. He utilizes laboratory and field-based methods to collect data on the physical state of systems in the built environment, and the psychological state of humans operating in relation to those systems. His work has led to the development of statistical and computational models to explain decision maker behavior in the field and has translated these results into implications for practice and policy. He has pioneered new technologies providing cognitive support in solving sequential multi-criteria decisions for these constituents and developed novel statistical models that have explained variability in cognition, behavior and communication among individuals and collectives in the hours following disruptive events.