The Single-Investigator Cottrell College Science Awards support research in astronomy, chemistry, physics and closely related fields that significantly overlap these three disciplines at public and private, predominantly undergraduate institutions. The projects proposed are judged on the basis of scientific merit, originality, significance, feasibility, overlap with the three core disciplines and the ability of the institutional environment to sustain the activity. The involvement of undergraduate students in the research is expected, and is an important factor in most awards. After review by the Foundation staff and outside referees, the composite proposal material is evaluated by an advisory committee of scientists drawn from the academic community. Awards are made to the institution on behalf of the individual investigator following approval by the Foundation's Board of Directors.
The overarching goal of the SI-CCSA program is providing “seed” funding for significant research that will enhance the professional and scholarly development of beginning faculty at predominantly undergraduate institutions, along with their students. We expect that our funding will help early career faculty establish sustainable programs of research. The program is sharply focused on faculty at the start of their careers. Faculty are expected to explore new areas of science, to make new discoveries that contribute to their discipline, and to initiate new research programs that can be sustained by other extramural funding sources, as well as with institutional support. Successful programs are not summer research projects, but rather those undertaken with continuity throughout the academic year. A key element in all such research programs is that they involve undergraduate students in meaningful ways, and thereby raise the quality of undergraduate education.
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