Strategic Initiatives

MSA Strategic Initiatives 2024 Request for Proposals


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. Priority will be given to proposals that address one or more of the areas of emphasis designated by council (listed below).


The Microscopy Society of America (MSA) is a collaborative community dedicated to fostering research, innovation, advancement, and promotion of microscopy.


The Microscopy Society of America enables the discoveries that positively impact the course of humanity.

Areas of Emphasis - 2024

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.).

The primary applicant must be a current member of MSA.

Funding Levels

Applicants may apply for funding up to $15,000 USD for one year or $20,000 USD for two years.

A detailed budget justifying the requested amount is required as part of the application.

Anticipated Number of Awards

Three to four applications are expected to be funded.

Award Initiation Date

Funding will begin in Spring 2024.

Application Due Date

5:00 PM Eastern Time on November 22, 2023.

The submission window for 2024 Strategic Initiatives is now closed.

Application Process Summary

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, funded at the designated amount in the Funding Levels section above. However, particularly innovative proposals that require two years to be established will be considered. A two-year proposal can request up to the designated amount in the Funding Levels section above. 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 substantive 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 will be funded shortly after the 2024 Winter Council Meeting.

Questions about the MSA Strategic Initiatives program should be addressed to the Strategic Initiatives Review Committee Chair (

2024 Strategic Initiatives Program Application Instructions

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.


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.

Please download and use the provided Budget Proposal Template file (Excel): Download the Budget Proposal Template
*Other Budget Proposal formats will NOT be accepted.*

In addition to a line-item budget, a budget justification is also required. This should indicate what line-item funds will be used for and justify the amount requested. You will fill in the budget justification using the submission form.

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.

SUBMISSION OF THE PROPOSAL: Apply with the submission form (linked above and below).
Applications must be received by the MSA Association Management Office by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on November 22, 2023. Use the submission form to submit your application. Partial applications will not be accepted or reviewed.