The deadline for submitting research menus is August 21, 2020.
A speed networking session is scheduled as a one-on-one opportunity for invited researchers to flesh out ideas with Program Officers (POs) for future solicitations. To ensure a concise dialogue in the allotted time (10 minutes), it is recommended that researchers submit a research menu ahead of the meeting. If you are interested in participating in the speed networking session, please email your research menu as an attachment to Jennifer Becker (jennifer.j.becker.civ.@mail.mil), AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow supporting the Department of Defense OSD/R&E/R/Basic Research Office, no later than August 21. She will notify invited researchers via email.
Essentially, a research menu is a 1-2 page document describing 3-4 research ideas. Each idea is a paragraph or two and highlights a well-defined scientific question that you have an interest in answering. A graphic is fine if it’s illustrative, but please keep the total scope to 2 pages so that it can be reviewed quickly.
Questions to keep in mind:
- Is it basic research?
- What are the scientific questions?
- Why is it a hard question?
- Why you? Why now? (What's the novelty of your skills/abilities/approach, etc., that makes you think you can get in the vicinity of an answer?)
- So what? (Why does it matter to the scientific community?)
- Where's the risk?
- What will it take?
Please don't belabor background and motivation. Assume each PO has sufficient knowledge of his/her field and about the needs of the service for which they work (Army, Navy, Air Force). If the PO has questions, follow-up is easy.
The research menu does two things for the PO.
First, the PO can quickly get a sense of the scope of your interests and where they might overlap with programmatic priorities. Please make sure that at least one of your ideas is something other than the topic areas listed on the website/in the BAA. POs are scientists and engineers and enjoy being surprised by things they don’t know about. Also, if you have an idea that’s scientifically risky, include that too! If there is interest, a whitepaper will be encouraged. Refer to the specific organization’s open BAA for basic research to make sure the ideas you present are more or less on target to capture the PO’s interest.
Second, for those ideas that don’t find financial support, at least now the PO is aware of them and can promote them to others within the DoD science and technology community who might find them interesting. Scientific match-making is among the top duties of DoD Program Officers. We can’t promote you to others if we don’t know about the new ideas you have. Scanning the literature only tells us about what you have done, not about the bold new ideas you might have.