PREPARING FOR SITE VISITS: THE AGONY AND THE AGONY

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1 PREPARING FOR SITE VISITS: THE AGONY AND THE AGONY MEREDITH MURR, UC SANTA BARBARA; SHERYL SOUCY-LUBELL, UC DAVIS; BARRY ROWAN, UC SANTA BARBARA RANDY PHELPS, NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

2 WHAT WE WILL NOT COVER Anything Pre-notification of site visit: How to assemble a good team How to define the mission of the Center How to construct a good center proposal, etc. for excellent guidance on these topics, please see articles in the Research Development and Grant Writing Newsletter, published by Lucy Deckard and Mike Cronan of Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC

3 USING THE NSF STC AS A CASE STUDY Site visits come in all shapes and sizes. Varying in level of guidance, structure, on-site versus reverse-site, etc. Not practical to talk about all the variations Key take home message it takes planning. Lots and lots of planning. More than you think. It is AGONY. Be prepared. Many of the issues we encountered in preparing for the NSF STC site visit are applicable to all site visits. But, follow the guidance and instructions from the funding agency/program officers.

4 STC OVERVIEW

5 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTERS: INTEGRATIVE PARTNERSHIPS Large NSF Center program ($50M in FY2012) Budget $5 million a year for 5 years (renewable up to 10 years) Funds innovative, potentially transformative, complex research and education projects that require large-scale, long-term awards. Expectation for partnerships among academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial organizations, and/or other public/private entities, Significant education and diversity mandates Knowledge transfer, including technology transfer, providing key information to public policy makers, or dissemination of knowledge from one field of science to another.

6 HISTORY OF THE STC COMPETITION Solicitation Released: January 18, 2011 Preliminary Proposal: Due May 30, Submitted, 267 Accepted for Review Grouped into eleven themes/panels Panel review occurred September 27-28, Invited back for Full Proposals Notification October 11, 2011 Full Proposals: Due February 3, Invited for Site Visits Site Visits: Invited Late June 2012 September December 2012 Blue Ribbon Panel January Projects recommended for funding No awards announced yet

7 WHAT IS THE MISSION OF THE SITE VISIT For you to convince the site review team that the project should be funded They need to understand the project They need to be excited about the project that it has Impact and is Transformative They need to believe the project can be accomplished They need to believe this is the right team to tackle the project They need to think there are adequate resources and knowledge base available

8 KEY INGREDIENTS The science has to be transformative already assessed at earlier stages, but still important PI seen as a strong and competent leader The whole team is/appears to be on the same page Integration of all of the presentations the mission, education, knowledge transfer and scientific themes To win, everything has to be perfect Digest the hints from the full proposal reviews and respond

9 SITE REVIEW ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA Is the budget appropriate for the scale, scope and complexity of the proposed Center's activities? Does the proposed Center management demonstrate the vision, experience, and capacity to manage a complex, multifaceted, and innovative enterprise that integrates research, education, diversity and knowledge transfer? Is the proposed management plan likely to be effective? Is the role of the external advisory board clearly and appropriately defined? Is there an adequate succession plan for the leadership of the Center? Are intellectual property issues adequately addressed?

10 PREPARATION

11 STC COMPETITION 2012: GUIDELINES FOR THE SITE VISIT (FROM NSF)

12 STC COMPETITION 2012: GUIDELINES FOR THE SITE VISIT - HIGHLIGHTS The duration of the presentations and the agenda are fixed and are the same for each site visit. In planning the agenda, please allocate 30% of the time of each presentation for answering any questions that the Site Visitors may have. Do not plan any lab/facilities visits or demos. Please make sure that you have appropriate representatives of your university administration present. you must provide a password protected URL where you will post your proposal, all reviews, your response to the reviews, Site Visit Agenda, list of participants, and presentation slides. You must designate an administrative liaison person representing your team and his/her name and contact information (including , tel. and fax nos.)

13 SITE VISIT AGENDA Day 0 1:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. Site Review Team arrives at Hotel 6:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m. Site Review Team Meeting Day 1 7:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. Travel to Site Review Location, Light Breakfast 8:00 a.m. 12 noon Introductions STC Rationale and Goals Research (10:00 a.m.-10:20 a.m.) NSF Executive Session/Break Research Facilities and Physical Infrastructure (as appropriate) (12 noon 12:30 p.m.) NSF Executive Session 12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Lunch Discussion with students (present students of the PI, co-pis and participants)

14 AGENDA, CONTINUED Day 1 Continued 1:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m. Integrating Research and Education Developing Human Resources (3:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m.) NSF Executive Session/Break 3:30 p.m. 4:15 p.m. Partnerships and Knowledge Transfer 4:15 p.m. 5:15 p.m. Administration and Management Plans 5:15 p.m. 5:30 p.m. Wrap-up (5:15 p.m. 6:15 p.m.) NSF Executive Session 6:15.p.m. 6:35 pm Critical feedback to the Pis, list of questions that require clarification on Day 2 at 9am 7:30 p.m. 7:45 p.m. Transportation of the Site Visit Review Team to Dinner

15 AGENDA, CONTINUED Day 2 7:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. Travel to Site Visit Location, Light Breakfast 8:00a.m. 9:00 a.m. Meeting with Administrators Only (no PIs)/Institutional Support 9:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. Summary/Proposing team s response to Critical Feedback 10:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Site Review Team prepares Site Visit Report Working lunch provided

16 THE NITTY-GRITTY

17 TO-DO CHECKLIST, A SELECTION (SEE FULL VERSION ON-LINE) Administrative Contact Information for everyone involved Date Reservations for site visit and red team review Practice Schedule how many in person, how many remote Travel and Practices Room where is the site visit going to be held? Practices? Food (for site visit and practices) Reserve hotel room blocks Technology Logos and Powerpoint templates Designate a laptop and projector for presentations Website Have multiple people keeping track of these deadlines so they don t fall through the cracks

18 COMPLEMENT OF TEAMS GEOGRAPHY COMPLICATES PRACTICE All STC proposals have One Lead Institution Multiple collaborating Institutions (some could be international) Geographic and time zones hard to arrange schedules Multiple external partners travel remote practices

19 PEOPLE FOR UCSB PROPOSAL Research/Proposal team 21 (from 7 different institutions) Research Development at UCSB 3 Honorary Research Development 1 Administration who came to site visit UCSB Chancellor, EVC, Vice Chancellor for Research, Dean of Science, Dean of Engineering, Dean of Graduate Division Collaborating Institution #1, Vice President for Research Collaborating Institution #2, Dean of Engineering Graduate students and postdocs from all participating universities

20 MAP OF ROOMS ESB 1001 ESB 2001 ESB 2003 Capacity 100 Capacity 45 Capacity 25 Arranged with round tables Sides of room lined with chairs Breakfast, lunch, PI meeting room All Presentations Site Review Team Breakout Room

21 PRACTICE SCHEDULE - VISUAL Person 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person 9 Person 10 Person 11 Person 12 Person 13

22 RED TEAM REVIEW 3 weeks before the site visit Red Team Panelists Science experts (from Advisory Board) Education experts (from Advisory Board) NSF expert (former STC program officer) Campus leadership All proposal team members AND grads came to UCSB for the red team.

23 FOOD AND THE NSF CONSTRAINTS Money constraints (upper limit, hard in Santa Barbara!!!) Location constraints (requested walking distance nothing closer than 20 minute walk) Conflicting advice about logistics??? Reservations Payment snacks but not meals, can only pay credit card or cash

24 DESIGN ELEMENTS TO MAKE LOOK COHESIVE Logos PI pictures Group pictures Powerpoint templates

25 WHAT WENT INTO BINDERS Agenda Presentation Proposal Review Response Pouch with pens, highlighter, page tags, and memory stick with all media files

26 WHAT WE SPENT TOTAL $36,000 Office Supplies: $500 WebEx: $200 Mock Site Visit Catering: $4,000 Room Rental: $1,500 Travel: $5,500 Printing Binders: $1,500 Site Visit: Catering: $12,000 Travel: $10,000 Media: $700 Vans: $200 Does NOT include extra person power at least onehalf a FTE for 3 months UCSB absorbed most of the costs but that discussion should occur early in the process Travel reimbursements good to have a standard packet and it is clear what is needed (grad students are bad at saving receipts).

27 LESSONS FROM THE SITE VISIT

28 YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND THE TIME TIMER Site visitors are happiest when they are engaged and can participate (ask questions) Need to build in time for this and stick to it!!! Practice transitions they take time too Need strategy for cutting off questions if they go long

29 BEWARE THE NIGHT OF DAY 1 Answer questions until 2am plan on it! We were given 12 questions Prepared a 10-page response Have someone for a snack/beer run Present answers in morning session Opportunity to revise answers in the afternoon Deadline was 4pm to give final answers to site visit panel everyone needs to stay until 5pm on the second day no noon flights

30 UCSB SITE VISIT REPORT SUMMARY EVALUATION We received the site visit report at 4:30pm on Day 2 Major Strengths The Center envisions Grand Challenge research of the highest technological and societal significance. The large-scale funding provided by the Center structure is required to accomplish the Center vision, i.e. to accelerate the development of solutions to the pending end-of-electronics-scaling challenges. The Research themes are integrated and address transformational research goals. The proposal is well focused, and the scope and objectives are well formulated. High societal impact if successful; high transformative potential for US positioning in global semiconductor industry. High potential for Legacy through technical contributions/spinoff projects across multiple disciplines. Balanced risk portfolio with fundamental and practical objectives Exceedingly high level of technical expertise and unique infrastructure with institutional integration; Builds on USCB excellence in electronic devices and materials. Exceptionally strong support from Deans of principal institutes. Strong education and outreach supported by novel assessment strategy. Major Weaknesses No major weaknesses identified.

31 OUR SECRET WEAPONS Our PI Strong, Brilliant, Organized Barry Dedicated person for all logistics and general good nature (solid 3 months, 1st month ~50%, 2nd and 3rd month ~90%) Barry was exceptional you may need 2 people!!! This was a strategic opportunity for the Office of Research From UC Davis Week leading up social event at PIs house good thing!!!! Professional pictures taken at practice so all looked same

32 SURPRISES PLANNING IS NEVER PERFECT Printer in the executive session room Power and wi-fi access important for all site visit reviewers Bad thermostat Light yellowing in projector Shuttle did not operate early enough to get proposal team members to campus Binders were HUGE!!! And heavily used by site reviewers Site Visit team never went to the room we reserved for them the project team had to leave the main room. Luckily we had another area big enough to fit us all. More drinks the sodas went fast Don t choose Monday and Tuesday for site visit dates. Last minute things on weekend.

33 THINGS THAT WENT WELL THAT WERE OUT OF OUR CONTROL We had a great Chair of the site visit team Food was good Weather was good No one was sick No natural disasters (week before there was a fire in SB, two weeks after was Sandy)

34 LOOKING FORWARD Research Development Team now has the experience of what a good site visit looks like and can advise other groups Research Development Team received a lot of good publicity and recognition, resulting in more requests for our services ERCs anyone?

35 TAKE HOME MESSAGES Preparing for a site visit is a BIG project, requiring more time and effort than you imagine As soon as you find out, evaluate your administrative needs hire a person if feasible Find the money to fund travel, food, etc. Who pays? Who is the presenter always theme leader? Other considerations? Language Knowledge transfer? Diversity? PI has to be seen as leader Practice and preparation are the keys to success Best way for the team to be cohesive and on the same page is for them to be interacting frequently In-person practices important so that ALL team members know ALL parts of the project including assessment, education, knowledge transfer, etc.

36 Checklist for Preparing for Site Visits Category Task When to Start Internal Deadline NSF Deadline ADMINISTRATIVE Contact information for everyone involved immediately Designate administrative liaison immediately asap 6 weeks Create budget for site visit and prep immediately within 1-2 days Budget approval and spending account 3 months before within a week Decide which materials should go in binders 2 months before within 2 weeks Order office supplies for binders 1.5 months 1 month before before Coordinate with printer (deadline for binders) 1 month before 2 weeks before Dinner reservations for review team 1 month before 3 weeks before Prepare info sheets on review team 2 weeks before 1 week before Name badges for mock site visit 1 week before mock site visit Food cost for review team 3 weeks before 2 weeks before ~1 week Name badges for site visit 1 week before site visit Assemble slides and prepare for printing 2 weeks before 1 week before Take individual and group photos of project 3-4 weeks 1 week before team before Put together binders 1 week before 2 days Travel reimbursements for mock site visit when received within 2 weeks Travel reimbursements for site visit when received within 2 weeks TRAVEL AND IN-PERSON PRACTICES Schedule Site Visit based on project team, Administration, and NSF Availability Schedule presentation practice (based on availability of participants) immediately immediately within a week Schedule mock site visit immediately within a week Reserve rooms for site visit immediately within a week Reserve rooms for mock site visit immediately within 2 weeks Reserve rooms for practices as soon as dates are known at least 2 weeks prior Designate a person to time the presentations at the site visit 2 months before 3 weeks before Reserve hotel rooms for mock site visit 2 months before mock 2 months before mock Reserve hotel rooms for site visit 3 months before 3 months before 6 weeks Reserve meeting room at hotel 3 months before 3 months before 6 weeks Reserve transportation for review team 2-3 months before 2 months before 6 weeks

37 Travel information for mock and actual site visit 2 months before 6 weeks before 6 weeks Travel reimbursement procedures 1 month before mock 3 weeks before mock Catering for Mock site visit (know your policy) 1 month before mock 3 weeks before mock Catering for site visit (know your policy) 2 months before 1 month before Reserve furniture (tables, chairs, etc.) 2 months before 1 month before Update all files on website 3 weeks before keep up to date 2 weeks before TECHNOLOGY Logos and presentation templates 3 months before 3 weeks prior to mock Dropbox (or similar) for all involved (offline 3 months before asap copy) Access to a speakerphone, phone lines, slide remote, laser pointer, etc. 3 months before a week prior to first practice Designate a laptop for presentations 3 months before a week prior to first practice Dedicated webinar and teleconference service 3 months before a week prior to first practice Finalize agenda for NSF 1 month before prior to NSF 3 weeks deadline Website password protected 2 months before 1 month before 2 weeks Wireless passwords (if needed) 1 month before 2 weeks before Media rental (projector, laptops, power, etc) 1 month before 2 weeks before

38 Practice Schedule for UC Davis Notification: June 28 Preliminary meeting of leadership with each Science, Ed, KT team: Weeks of July 2-13 Preliminary meeting with campus executives: July 16 Site visit date determined: July 16 Second meeting of Science, Ed, KT teams: Weeks of July Logo and slide master finalized: Aug 3 First draft of presentations due to leadership: Aug 7 Second meeting with campus executives to discuss institutional match: Aug 13 Written response to reviewers: August 20 Confirmation from Mock Site Visit reviewers: Aug 22 Second draft of presentations due to leadership: Aug 27 Practice runs within Science, Ed, KT teams: Weeks of Aug 27-Sep 6 Third meeting with campus executives to discuss institutional match: Sept 4 Mock visit #1: Sept 7 PI travel to east coast partner institutions to meet with leaders and administration: Sep 8-12 All binder materials finalized except for slide presentations: Sep 12 Mock visit #2: Sept 21 Binders finalized: Sep 26 Dress Rehearsal: Sept 29 Site Visit: Oct 1-2

39 Practice Schedule of UC Santa Barbara Entire Center: October 5 and 6 at UCSB (on-site, in person): red team reviewers attending October 24 at UCSB (on-site, in person) Rationale and Goals, Theme 1, Theme 2 and Theme 3, Facilities: Phone conferences, plan for all day Dates: August 31 and September 19 Education, Outreach and Diversity: Phone conferences, plan for all day Dates: September 4, September 20 Knowledge Transfer, Industry Programs, Management, Evaluation: Phone conferences, plan for all day Dates: Dates: September 7, September 21 Person 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person 9 Person 10 Person 11 Person 12 Person 13