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Getting Better Results from Your Proposal Writing Alex Heisterkamp Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting Better Results from Your Proposal Writing Alex Heisterkamp Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting Better Results from Your Proposal Writing Alex Heisterkamp Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

2 Better Results from Your Proposals Some Tips and Hints Andrew J. W. Brown, PhD Senior Director, Global Business Development SPIE With thanks to Alex Heisterkamp Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

3 Why Me? Unfortunately Alex unable to attend 30 years in the industry 10 years in marketing and business dev SPIE presenter, session chair, conference chair, exhibitor, committee volunteer and now employee!

4 Why do you write proposals? To fund your research Equipment Travel Collaboration Attend Conferences (very important!) –Stay on top of field –Visibility via paper and proceedings –Visibility, make connections, network, network, network

5 What is important for Proposal/Grant writing? Know your strengths Know customer and what they want Offer something unique, that meets their needs (stay current on field) Talk to your peers about the idea Collaborators can be key brining additional capability or connections Use your network! File a patent if idea is really unique!

6 More thoughts Talk to customer directly if possible Maybe even send them a White Paper If responding to a solicitation, do a storyboard of your idea with reviewers Get a colleague to be a critic, help edit and review Follow submission instructions –Method (electronic),page limit, deadline, etc. –So many submissions, looking for excuses

7 Real life story At previous company I took over a program funded by a Gov customer Near end of funding and not delivering Gave honest status update to customer and asked for more $ to complete Delivered world record performance and subsequently multi-million $$ awards Be honest, build trust and relationships, deliver. Customers will take care of you.

8 Starting your first proposal undergraduate PhD-thesis post-doc assistant-professor tenure

9 Starting your first proposal undergraduate PhD-thesis post-doc assistant-professor tenure Travel-grants Awards Work on first proposals Travel-grants Awards First grant? Fellowships Work on proposals Travel-grants Awards First grants! Fellowships Work on proposals Travel-grants Awards

10 Where money comes from... Industry, Foundations, Federal- and State- Funds, NSF/DFG, EU, Government (SBIR), International Grants VC’s, investors, private individuals Look at who is funding what. Get names, make contacts, ask people. Use announcements for your own research. E.g. Use the internet. Do your research (like making travel plans, buying a stock, gather all the info you can)

11 Make sure you are eligible e.g. NSF/DFG „standard“ proposal coordinated programs Fellowships must: own position and PhD/Doctorate free choice of topics application always possible typical funding period 3 years adequate effort

12 There are a lot of people out there! Know your competition, who might bid, and what will they propose? What makes you different Knowledge of customer, technology, reputation, team of collaborators, cost? Determine probability of being funded by a particular source so you go in with eyes open Do your homework, propose something really compelling. Differentiate yourself.

13 Recycle!!!

14 Tips „think broad“ (not narrow minded!) keep updated (new prizes, fellowships, programs) –study homepages of third party funding –use local information (local research networks) –newsletters (!!!) (if possible) contact to people in charge

15 What does a proposal look like? (Depends on solicitation, be sure to check guidelines) Summary State of the art Preliminary work, experience Goals for the work or research Work program or statement of work with timeline, tells them what they will get for their $$ Reasoning for funding money (investments, travel etc.)

16 Proposal Summary this is your “elevator speech” for the proposal “label of your proposal” (sometimes) only 15 lines for your whole project and you must be succinct Clearly state relevance and goals Usually last part to write once proposal is done

17 State of the art careful and thorough literature research analyze internationally leading groups -> draw conclusion mention opinion (/research) leaders key-publications of competitors

18 Preliminary work trivial: good publications are most convincing –Nature, Science etc... (impact factor) BUT: most young researchers don’t have that, yet! –presentations at conferences, awards? –manuscripts, preliminary results position your results/research to leading groups –own competence –present yourself/advisor –why at your institute (mention history) –infrastructure, existing collaborations

19 Goals precise and short description list achievable goals, but they need to be beyond state of the art (or why fund it?) Aggressively conservative! set feasible timeline goals should –be a logic consequence from summary (a reviewer may only read the introduction then the statement of work) –continue to advance “state of the art” –be the basis for the work program

20 Work-program heart-piece of the proposal –important after granting of the proposal who is doing what/when, who coordinates? –“why with this guy?” get outline from goals! describe methods and experiments –how is the problem being tackled? no detailed recipes/laboratory secrets –(if necessary refer to preliminary work/papers

21 What can I apply for? Personal support for a research activity (75 % of all proposals) Provide thorough description and refer to program describe area and tasks mention names and qualifications!!! Do all you can to distinguish yourself

22 Reasoning describe your contribution as project leader list input of the researchers if possible describe area and tasks collaborations: –“why this guy/institute?” –letter of intent (!!!), at a certain stage from your advisor –reviewers (often) love interdisciplinary collaboration

23 Reasoning mention other third party funding list funded project list proposal, submitted and in preparation –goals –timeline –budget –partners border between different projects

24 What can I apply for? apparatus –(-quotes, quotes and quotes..., why laser A, not B?) –time consuming!!! consumables –detailed description –be modest! travel money –(roughly 750$/p.a. per position is ok) –sometimes even more with good reasoning, for example international conferences (already presented at this conferences, international partner, idea exchange) –during funding provide reports about conferences, etc. –Communicate with customer

25 What reviewers look for... description of a “really important” problem that meets their needs originality research- and problem- solving-strategy should be convincing Clear statement of work (what do they get for their $$?) competence of PI (publications, awards, manuscripts...)

26 Reviewers May not be specialists in your field Likely sitting in a room where you are making a presentation! Sometimes you can make suggestions (e.g. NSF)

27 Really important:...proposal writing takes a lot of time, is a lot of work and requires a lot of research ahead of time. Don’t go in thinking you can write a good proposal without proper preparation!

28 Really important: Develop a proposal strategy If partners, coordinate and distribute tasks get the facts and state of the art right! describe little steps,...but don’t loose focus on the main goal! proper language, get reviewers in place readable and appropriate level

29 Goal Get the reviewer to be enthusiastic about the project!

30 Proposal timeline excellent idea – do a story board convincing competence/preliminary work thorough research, find partners collaboration/work plan write proposal review by advisor/experienced people

31 Conclusion excellent idea thorough work straight outline

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