2019 Request for Proposals
MSA Strategic Initiatives

Summary: Limited funding is available to support bold and innovative new programs that advance the mission statement and goals of MSA. Applications are solicited for proposed programs that will increase knowledge or disseminate knowledge in the science and practice of microscopy, imaging, and compositional analysis as well as instrumentation related to these activities. Funding is not intended to continue existing established programs. Expansion of existing MSA programs is acceptable only if the proposal represents a major and bold new direction within the program. Priority, however, will be given to new initiatives. Proposals should address one or more of the areas of emphasis designated by council (listed below).

MSA Mission and Vision Statement: The Microscopy Society of America (MSA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and advancement of techniques and applications of microscopy and microanalysis in all relevant scientific disciplines. The Microscopy Society of America will provide leadership for the discovery and dissemination of information about microscopy and microanalysis, especially in relation to the following multidisciplinary areas: 1) Latest Developments in Instrumentation, 2) Emerging Trends in Characterization, 3) Discovering the Big World of Micro through Education and Outreach, 4) Uncovering the Inner Secrets of Life and Biological Sciences, 5) Exploring the Physical and Materials Sciences, 6) Providing Resources for NanoScience and NanoTechnology.

Areas of Emphasis for 2019 Applications (these areas are defined loosely and should not be viewed as limiting):

  1. Novel initiatives that promote student involvement in microscopy.
  2. MSA-branded dissemination of information regarding new advances in microscopy, microanalysis, image analysis.
  3. Enhancement of member benefits leading to retention of members.
  4. Leadership training/mentorship to provide future leaders for MSA and the field of microscopy.
  5. Initiating or enhancing academic, governmental and industrial partnerships (excluding microscopy vendors and vendors of microscopy-related products) in microscopy application and development.
  6.  Collection, preservation and dissemination of microscopy-related information (technical procedures, basic theories, scientific backgrounds, MSA archived material, etc.).

Eligibility: Primary applicant must be a member of MSA.

Funding Levels: Applicants may apply for funding up to $15,000 for one year or $20,000 for two years. A detailed budget justifying the requested amount is required as part of the application.

Application Due Date: Applications must be received by the MSA Association Management Office by 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on November 15, 2019. Submission information will be forthcoming.

Anticipated Number of Meritorious Proposals to be Funded: Three to four applications are expected to be funded.

Award Initiation Date: Funding will begin in Spring 2020.

Summary of Application Process: The application should list the person(s) leading the initiative as well as individuals involved in the initiative. It should also have a short title and brief description of the proposed activity. This will be followed by a narrative detailing the proposed activity. The narrative can be no more than three pages in length. Detailed description of the application requirements, and format requirements for the application are provided below. The format restrictions must be strictly followed or applications will be rejected. Funding will generally be for one year and funded at $15,000. However, particularly innovative proposals that require two years to be established will be considered. A two year proposal can request up to $20,000 total. The budget for a two year application must clearly state the amount requested for each of the two years. Continuation of a two year initiative beyond the first year will be dependent upon suitable progress in the first year. Thus, a two year application must include specific substanttive goals that can be attainable in the first year.

Review Criteria: Applications will be reviewed by a panel of MSA members representing the breadth of MSA activities. Review criteria include (1) alignment of the proposal with areas of emphasis outlined above, (2) importance to MSA's mission, vision, and identified areas of emphasis of the proposed program, (3) innovation of the proposal, and (4) feasibility of success. Members of the review committee will independently review each application (unless they have a conflict of interest) and  will  score the application on each of the four review criteria. In addition, each review committee member will determine an overall score for the application based on the following rubric:

Alignment of the proposal with areas of emphasis outlined above (30%)
Importance to MSA's mission, vision, and identified areas of emphasis (30%)
Innovation of the proposal (30%)
Feasibility of success (10%) Each application must include specific goals of the proposal and how outcomes relative to the goals will be measured and success of the proposal assessed.

While unfeasible applications will not be funded, bold proposals with potentially strong importance yet some degree of risk will be favored over proposals of low importance but certainty of success.  

The Review Committees analysis will be provided to MSA Council which will make the final decision on funding. Applicants will be notified whether their proposal was funded shortly after the 2020 Winter Council meeting.

Questions about the MSA Strategic Initiatives program should be addressed to Jay Jerome, Review Committee chair (


Specific Instructions for Applications to: 2019 MSA Strategic Initiatives Program
Specific Instructions for Applications

All of the following components must be included in the application. Incomplete applications or those that do not follow the guidelines will not be reviewed.

REQUIREMENTS: The application should contain a face page, a page listing the key individuals involved in the proposal, and a description of the proposed activity. The description of the proposed activity can be no more than three pages in length.
The 3 page proposal should be single spaced, with margins no less than 0.5 inches, type face with average of 15 characters per inch (e.g. Times New Roman 12 point) and no more than 64 lines per page.


FACE PAGE: Title of the Project and Project leader(s).
Project Title and information about the Project Leader.

The title of the proposal should be short, not occupying more than 64 characters and spaces.

Full name and contact information for the Project Leader(s) heading the project should be provided in the appropriate boxes on the application form. Usually the project will be headed by one key person but co-leaders are allowed if appropriate and justified. Information about other personnel participating in the project will be requested in a separate part of the application form.

PERSONNEL AND DESCRIPTION PAGE: Personnel Involved and Summary of Proposal

In the appropriate areas of the application, provide the full names, affiliations, and contact information for key personnel, other than the Project Leader.

A project description is also required that provides a short descriptive summary of the proposal (6 sentences or less).

BODY OF THE PROPOSAL (3 page limit)
This must be no longer than 3 pages in length with the specific elements listed below labeled with the following headers. The document should be single spaced, with margins no less than 0.5 inches, type face with average of 15 characters per inch (e.g. Times New Roman 12 point) or less and no more than 64 lines per page.

Strategic Area Being Addressed and Justification
Provide a short background of why the initiative is needed and how the proposed initiative addresses one or more of the strategic targets identified by council.

Details of the Proposal
Provide details of the plan, the intermediate and final goals (if applicable), how outcomes will be measured and success assessed. Suitable outcomes assessment is an absolute requirement and a key component of application assessment.

Provide assessment of what will be accomplished in the short and long term as a result of implementation of the proposed initiative

Innovation and Importance
Specifically address the innovative aspects of the proposal.

Specifically address the importance of and the way in which successful implementation of the proposal will further the strategic goals of MSA.

A proposed budget is required and  should provide reasonable detail about how funds will be used. It should indicate the total amount of money being requested and a break down, line by line, of individual expense categories and dollar amounts required for each line item. Line items can be broad in nature but should be explained and justified in the budget justification.

In addition to a line item budge, a budget justification is also required. This should indicate what line item funds will be used for and justify the amount requested.

For example:

$240 is requested for a one year subscription to Call Meeting Live, a subscription service that provides teleconference support. This will allow monthly conference call among key personnel to review progress, discuss issues arising, and set next priorities. Call Meeting Live supports video archiving which is deemed critical to keeping a record of all discussions. Video archiving is not supported by free teleconference services we have investigated.

The review committee will determine whether the budget is reasonable or should be modified. This information will be passed on to MSA Council. Budget issues are considered separately and do not affect the merit score of the proposal.

The completed application must be submitted to MSA Association Management Office by 5:00 pm EST on November 15, 2019. Partially completed applications will not be accepted.

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