Research Communications

University hosts talk on how to secure National Science Foundation funding 

Jan. 14, 2010

Rick McCourt, a former program director for the Division of Biological Infrastructure at the National Science Foundation, will visit campus next week to share insights with faculty, students and staff about how to secure federal funding for research.

McCourt will give a public lecture on National Science Foundation funding from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 20, in the Baker Center Ballroom. A question-and-answer session will follow from noon to 1 p.m. Food will be provided.

McCourt served as a program director for the National Science Foundation from 2005 to 2008. In this role, he coordinated proposal review panels, recruited scientists and evaluated and recommended proposals for funding in areas such as biological research, instrumentation and graduate education.

“Rick McCourt’s experience with how the National Science Foundation evaluates research proposals could give Ohio University faculty, students and staff a competitive edge in seeking funding,” said Sarah Wyatt, an associate professor of environmental and plant biology who is coordinating the visit.

McCourt, who currently serves as the associate curator of botany at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, will visit faculty laboratories during his visit to Ohio University and will offer a lecture on grant writing to students in Wyatt’s class.

In addition, McCourt will offer a special talk from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday in 340 Academic and Research Center on securing IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) grants. IGERT is the National Science Foundation’s flagship interdisciplinary training program that educates U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers by building on the foundations of their disciplinary knowledge with interdisciplinary training.

The Office of the Vice President for Research, which is co-sponsoring McCourt’s visit with the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology, hopes that McCourt will be the first in a series of guest speakers who can provide such detailed insight into the external funding process.

“As Ohio University strives to become more nationally competitive in its pursuit of external awards, it’s important for faculty, staff and students to have access to experts who know how to navigate the federal funding environment,” said Rathindra Bose, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College.

For more information about McCourt’s visit, contact Sarah Wyatt at 740.593.1133 or