by Ali Sayir, AFOSR Program Officer
Roughly 70% of AFOSR's total budget is spent on funding basic research grants with academia. At a high level this is how an interested researcher would approach obtaining funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research
In order to find opportunities that match your interests, review Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) from various organizations. You can search Grants.gov, the official source for finding and applying to Federal grants, based on:
After narrowing down your options, continue to study and keep current with BAAs. You may also wish to contact Program Officers about attending program reviews to understand the directions and needs of any particular AF basic research portfolio of interest.
Next, scope and draft your idea statement. Your idea statement doesn't have to be all-inclusive, but it should address the unique value proposition of the research and be specific enough that it catches the interest of the Program Officer (PO).
With your idea statement ready to go, it's time to reach out to the PO point of contact listed in the AFOSR BAA. After discussing your idea statement with the PO, some will want a specifically formatted white paper, while others may want to have follow-up conversations in-person, over the phone, or via email. If your idea seems promising, the PO will initiate an ongoing dialogue setting up expectations and explaining the process for full proposal submission.
Throughout your working relationship with AFOSR, you can expect an AFOSR PO to take on a number of roles:
Before submitting a full proposal, be sure to determine the correct funding mechanism. There are a number of different funding opportunities for universities to obtain basic research grant funding and each has its own purpose and associated requirements.
It is important to note that traditional grants can be awarded year round from the general BAA, while other opportunities may have specific deadlines or qualification criteria.
Once you have worked with your PO to determine the correct funding opportunity, it's time to submit a full proposal.
A good proposal is one that includes:
AFOSR receives far more good proposals than it is able to fund in a given year. Therefore, POs must factor many other considerations into funding decisions. Those include, but aren't limited to:
After receiving a proposal, AFOSR runs it through a vigorous peer review process looking for technical merit, Air Force relevance, and other criteria based on the requirements of the BAA.
Proposal subject area is appropriately addressed in the AFOSR BAA.
RELEVANCE & RELATION OF AF:
IS THERE AN ASPECT OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH THAT WILL LEAD TO A SIGNIFICANT TRANSFORMATION IN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE STATE-OF-THE-ART? IF SO, PLEASE BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE TRANSFORMATIONAL ASPECT OF THE WORK.
Once funded, remain engaged and continue with the process by