strategies for effective grant writing

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Presented by: Gail Gasparich


  • 1.Gail E. Gasparich, Ph.D. Associate Dean, Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Towson University STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE GRANT WRITING

2. Workshop Questions: 1.Where do you search for appropriate funding sources? 2.What should you know before beginning the grant writing process? 3.What are the main components of a research grant (Best Practices and What to Avoid)? 4.What is the general grant review process? 5.What if you do not get funded? 3. What is a Grant? A sum of money given by an organization (esp. a government) for a particular purpose What would be your expectations as the grantor? Return on investment Worthy of risk You have to become a salesperson of sorts convince the grantor your idea is worthy of funding 4. STEM Granting Agencies Government Foundations/Non-Profit Organizations Business and Industry (e.g. contracts) 5. Important Considerations Be aware of the mission and criteria of the funding agency Read RFPs/RFAs carefully (Request for Proposal/Application) Discuss ideas with Program Officers (check fit) Review recently funded grants by same program 6. Where is the Money? Major Agency/Field Shares of Federal Academic Research Obligations Source: NSF Science and Engineering Indicators 2008, 7. Government Sources Most can be found consolidated on (26 agencies consolidated) NSF -NIST NIH -EPA DOE -DHHS NASA -DOD 8. Foundation Grants Foundations Interested in Engineering: AT&T Exxon/Mobil Intel W.M. Keck Foundation Luce Foundation Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Alfred R. Sloan Foundation Verizon Foundation Foundation Center ( 9. Databases Requiring Institutional Subscriptions GrantSelect SPIN (Sponsored Programs Information Network) ResearchResearch IRIS (Illinois Research Information Service) GRC (Grants Resource Center) COS (Community of Science) Grant Advisor Plus 10. Getting Started! Review Guidelines Carefully! Contact the Program Officer Review Abstracts of Past Awardees Contact your Sponsored Project Office Create a Timeline for Preparation Organize Narrative Outline Following the Sequence of Components in RFP/RFA 11. Title The readers first impression Should capture and intrigue the reader Should be clear, concise and meaningful Too detailed appears too narrow and too broad appears unachievable 12. Elevator Speech Activity 1.Find a partner 2.In two minutes convey your project to them and then switch 3.Try to cover the following: What is the problem you are addressing? How will you address it? What is the significance? What is the likelihood of success? 13. Summary Written last to summarize, aim for non- technical audience and will be made public if funded What do you intend to do and why is it important? How are you going to do it and what has already been done? Why are you, rather than someone else, qualified to do the project? What difference will the project make to: your university, your students, your discipline, the state, the nation, etc.? 14. GoalsObjectives/Specific Aims AimsHypotheses driven and testable with defined measurable outcomes based on new ideas should be succinct should be independent Potential Problems with specific aims: Too ambitious, Too much work proposed; Unfocused and/or limited aims 15. Background and Significance Why is the problem important to the agency? What have others done to address this problem and why wasnt that sufficient? (Literature Review) What do you plan to do that is different from previous studies? How will your research have an impact on the public? Why is your plan novel, cutting edge, and exciting? 16. Literature Review Support proposals significance with a balanced literature review Establishes the framework for the study Demonstrates your knowledge of the field Incorporate references that support and conflict with your contentions if appropriate Be as comprehensive as possiblenever know who will be a reviewer Include your work to show expertise! 17. Preliminary Data Your chance to highlight your ability to be successful with what you propose Demonstrate feasibility of project Data should be unequivocal and clearly presented Discuss limitations Balance unpublished data with published work 18. Experimental Design Organize according to specific aims Provide enough detail (published vs. unpublished) including controls Provide alternate approaches Justify the approach you will use Explain how data will be collected, analyzed and interpreted Discuss potential difficulties and limitations 19. Experimental Design (cont.) Potential problems: Inappropriate level of experimental detail Feasibility of each aim not shown Little or no expertise with approach Lack of appropriate controls No discussion of alternative models or hypotheses No discussion of potential pitfalls No discussion of interpretation of data 20. Personnel Qualifications Indicate your expertise in the area PI vs. co-PI Collaborators Bottom Line-Are investigators competent to perform the experiments described in the proposal 21. Timeline BE REALISTIC Not too overly ambitious Show you are familiar with the techniques and know how long it should take for each of your objectives Good place to use a graphic to save space 22. Sample Timeline 23. Broader Impacts Includes discovery, increasing knowledge base (basic and applied), promoting teaching, training and learning Technology transfer Science policy influence K-16 STEM education and teacher development-broadening participation Increase science literacy and public engagement Broad dissemination of results 24. References Cited List all relevant literature You never know who will be reviewing! 25. Budget Be realistic--Do not be excessive or a bargain-be "just right" Check what is allowable and median funding level in RFP/RFA to use as guide Direct Costs: Personnel costs, Tuition remission, travel expenses, equipment and maintenance, supplies, consultants, pub costs, etc. Indirect Costs: Tax to university for overheadrate negotiated with agency 26. Budget Justification Explain time and effort for salary and wages- describe what each person will be doing Explain why equipment is needed Explain specifics on travel (what meeting, when, who to go) Explain supply budget (in sufficient detail to demonstrate you have anticipated needs for proposal) Cost share??? Only if needed usually 27. Appendices Only if allowedread RFP/RFA carefully Letters from collaborators showing agreement with what is written and what their role will be 28. SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! Follow the guidelines (font size, font type, margins, page limits.) PROOFREAD Get outside critiques Use friendly writing style for reviewers 29. Grant Review Process May request someone be excluded as reviewer Grant submitted and reviewed for general compliance and fit to guidelines (6-9+ months) Sent out for review (ad hoc) Review by grant panel Program or foundation officers determine funding based on panel review Might be follow up questions and budget issues to grantee before final answer 30. Foundation Requests May require letter of inquiry and/or pre- proposal (~3 pages): succinct description of problem proposed project your qualifications Determine if the fit is right to get invitation to submit a formal proposal 31. Rejection.. Allow 8 hours of depression and commiserate with friends, then. Use the comments to make a better proposal Resubmit an improved proposal (address ALL comments and questions) Usually 3-4 attempts max-then move on to modified or different project 32. Key Points Match the mission of the funding agency Read funded grants and talk to program officer Follow the instructions Make friends with your Institutional Sponsored Projects officer 33. Questions? Contact Information: Gail Gasparich 34. Websites for Granting Agencies NSF Engineering: (can get email alerts) provides funding for most other government agencies--keyword Engineering (can get email alerts) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): Air Force Research Laboratory: Office of Naval Research: Army Research Laboratory: NIH: NIST: NASA: EPA: DOE: STEM Grants: 35. Websites for Foundations Annenberg Foundation, ExxonMobil Education Foundation, Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, John D. and Catharine L. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, David and Lucille Packard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Rockefeller Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Intel Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation, Luce Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alfred R Sloan Foundation,