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How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal C. Dianne Martin Associate Vice President Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs Seminar Series: Academic Success.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal C. Dianne Martin Associate Vice President Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs Seminar Series: Academic Success."— Presentation transcript:

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2 How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal C. Dianne Martin Associate Vice President Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs Seminar Series: Academic Success and Professional Development C. Dianne Martin Associate Vice President Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs Seminar Series: Academic Success and Professional Development

3 Getting Started - ATTITUDE! A good proposal has “attitude” Don’t assume the reader will grasp the significance of your idea Give context, explain fully, convince the reader you know what you are doing. Marketing yourself and your idea A good proposal has “attitude” Don’t assume the reader will grasp the significance of your idea Give context, explain fully, convince the reader you know what you are doing. Marketing yourself and your idea

4 Type of Proposal Target Organization Individual Team Group Program Project Research or Education

5 Next, What do You Want?

6 Defining the Project Choose a problem/idea you wish to pursue Survey the literature Contact established investigators in the area Prepare a brief concept paper Discuss your idea with others Get started on the project Choose a problem/idea you wish to pursue Survey the literature Contact established investigators in the area Prepare a brief concept paper Discuss your idea with others Get started on the project

7 Your Proposal Should Answer These Questions What are you going to do? Why is this important? What is your unique contribution? Is it feasible? Why are you the best person to do it? What are others doing in this area? How will you do it? How will you evaluate your results? How will you disseminate your results? What are you going to do? Why is this important? What is your unique contribution? Is it feasible? Why are you the best person to do it? What are others doing in this area? How will you do it? How will you evaluate your results? How will you disseminate your results?

8 Proposal Writing Hints Present your ideas clearly and succinctly Present the main thrust of the project at the beginning - don’t bury your lead! Use a concise writing style Show relevance with specific examples Organize to permit skimming - use headings Add a timeline with specific deliverables Include a bibliography of related work Have someone else read it before submitting Remember that you are selling an idea to the REVIEWERS and the FUNDER Present your ideas clearly and succinctly Present the main thrust of the project at the beginning - don’t bury your lead! Use a concise writing style Show relevance with specific examples Organize to permit skimming - use headings Add a timeline with specific deliverables Include a bibliography of related work Have someone else read it before submitting Remember that you are selling an idea to the REVIEWERS and the FUNDER

9 Attributes of a GOOD Proposal Innovative Comprehensive - understands all issues Experience - has expertise to do it Preparation - clear you know funding requirements and related work Cooperation - done “with” not “to” target group Beneficiaries - who will gain? Commitment and Continuation Evaluation and Dissemination of Impact Innovative Comprehensive - understands all issues Experience - has expertise to do it Preparation - clear you know funding requirements and related work Cooperation - done “with” not “to” target group Beneficiaries - who will gain? Commitment and Continuation Evaluation and Dissemination of Impact

10 Know the Requirements (read the program announcement!) Know the Requirements (read the program announcement!) Format Due date Funding timeframe/ limits Statement of problem Research goals Research methods Team members/ expertise Deliverables Budget

11 Grant Opportunities and Support Internal grants (College & University) Individual grants Federal and National grants Foundation awards Fellowships/ scholarships Industry contracts Societies Foundations Internal grants (College & University) Individual grants Federal and National grants Foundation awards Fellowships/ scholarships Industry contracts Societies Foundations

12 Types of Proposals Letter of proposal: usually expanded Statement of Work Preliminary proposal: used by agency to decide if proposer should develop it further Expanded proposal: contains all of the necessary information to be used in the review process Revised proposal: modified subject to comments by reviewers

13 Guidelines for Proposals Vary by institution and agency Outline proposal format Set conditions on requests Set conditions on use of funds Set conditions on review process and negotiations FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES TO THE LETTER ! (even font size) Vary by institution and agency Outline proposal format Set conditions on requests Set conditions on use of funds Set conditions on review process and negotiations FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES TO THE LETTER ! (even font size)

14 Good P Good Proposals Capture the reviewer's attention Aim for clarity Establish the context Identify the payoff Use a fresh approach, but don't stray from accepted methodologies Give yourself plenty of time! Peer reviews before submission are important! Capture the reviewer's attention Aim for clarity Establish the context Identify the payoff Use a fresh approach, but don't stray from accepted methodologies Give yourself plenty of time! Peer reviews before submission are important!

15 Proposal Components Executive Summary and/or Introduction Problem/Needs Statement and Objectives Research Methods Evaluation Procedures Other Funding Sources (Current/Future) Budget Executive Summary and/or Introduction Problem/Needs Statement and Objectives Research Methods Evaluation Procedures Other Funding Sources (Current/Future) Budget

16 IntroductionIntroduction Organization history Statement of purpose and goals Current activities Constituency Funding sources Evaluations Quotes or letters of support Relevant publications summary Organization history Statement of purpose and goals Current activities Constituency Funding sources Evaluations Quotes or letters of support Relevant publications summary

17 Problem Statement State the problem simply & concisely Relate it to your purpose and goals Provide evidence of importance Provide justification that you can solve the problem Make certain that the scope of the problem is focused State it in the terms of your constituents State the problem simply & concisely Relate it to your purpose and goals Provide evidence of importance Provide justification that you can solve the problem Make certain that the scope of the problem is focused State it in the terms of your constituents

18 MethodologyMethodology Methods need to support the objectives! Who: team selection and sampling How: what will occur over the life of the project When: task order and timing Why: defend your chosen methods and provide assurance that these methods will lead to anticipated outcomes Methods need to support the objectives! Who: team selection and sampling How: what will occur over the life of the project When: task order and timing Why: defend your chosen methods and provide assurance that these methods will lead to anticipated outcomes

19 EvaluationEvaluation Types: Product - has the research achieved its objectives? Process - was the research consistent with the plan? Questions: who will do the evaluation? method of data collection method of data analysis method of reporting evaluative information Types: Product - has the research achieved its objectives? Process - was the research consistent with the plan? Questions: who will do the evaluation? method of data collection method of data analysis method of reporting evaluative information

20 Know the Evaluation Criteria !!! Know the Evaluation Criteria !!! ZU RIF

21 Budget: What Do You Need? (know what is allowed) Budget: What Do You Need? (know what is allowed) Equipment Salary Facilities Services Travel Expenses Other

22 BudgetBudget Be specific - do NOT use ball-park figures! Be precise - make sure your accounting is in order Be complete - make sure there are no hidden costs Be honest - don't make up matching costs Be convincing - argue why a line item is needed Be specific - do NOT use ball-park figures! Be precise - make sure your accounting is in order Be complete - make sure there are no hidden costs Be honest - don't make up matching costs Be convincing - argue why a line item is needed

23 Advice on Budgets Request realistic items / amounts Justify anything that is unusual Include only necessary items Remain within grant guidelines Indicate time and cost sharing if required Excessive budgets irritate reviewers! Request realistic items / amounts Justify anything that is unusual Include only necessary items Remain within grant guidelines Indicate time and cost sharing if required Excessive budgets irritate reviewers!

24 Advice on Timelines Provide one! Be realistic Within time frame of the funding Include research methods used Show progress along the way Show rollout of deliverables Provide one! Be realistic Within time frame of the funding Include research methods used Show progress along the way Show rollout of deliverables

25 Supporting Documentation Letters of support Compliance documentation Vitas of principle researchers Related publications Equipment quotations Letters of support Compliance documentation Vitas of principle researchers Related publications Equipment quotations

26 General Tips Network with people in your field Call the program officer or funding representative Propose results Don't assume the justification is obvious Don't assume all reviewers will agree with your position Read and reference all relevant literature Get letters of support from collaborators Identify how the funding will be spent Identify why you have the expertise to do this research Identify what exactly is your plan Identify what methodologies you will use Network with people in your field Call the program officer or funding representative Propose results Don't assume the justification is obvious Don't assume all reviewers will agree with your position Read and reference all relevant literature Get letters of support from collaborators Identify how the funding will be spent Identify why you have the expertise to do this research Identify what exactly is your plan Identify what methodologies you will use

27 Common Problems of Non-Winning Proposals Key points are buried, no highlights, no impact No innovative topic or approach Difficult to read, full of jargon, too long, too technical Misspellings, grammatical errors, wrong client name, and inconsistent formats Failure to differentiate your work from others. e.g., no reference to relevant literature Key points are buried, no highlights, no impact No innovative topic or approach Difficult to read, full of jargon, too long, too technical Misspellings, grammatical errors, wrong client name, and inconsistent formats Failure to differentiate your work from others. e.g., no reference to relevant literature

28 If Your Proposal is Declined REMEMBER You are in good company Awards are often highly competitive Budgetary limitations exert influence Funding agency priorities exert influence Read the reviews and TRY AGAIN! You are in good company Awards are often highly competitive Budgetary limitations exert influence Funding agency priorities exert influence Read the reviews and TRY AGAIN!

29 Volunteer to be a Reviewer You will: Read good and bad proposals See the review process in action Write better proposals next time Get a good view of what is being funded Give back to the community You will: Read good and bad proposals See the review process in action Write better proposals next time Get a good view of what is being funded Give back to the community

30 Sources of Information US National Science Foundation Grantsandfunding.com Online Proposal Writing Handbook Writing a Good Grant Proposal (Simon Peyton Jones and Alan Bundy, Microsoft Research) Grantwriting 101 Workshop by Wayne Carlson, The Ohio State University US National Science Foundation Grantsandfunding.com Online Proposal Writing Handbook Writing a Good Grant Proposal (Simon Peyton Jones and Alan Bundy, Microsoft Research) Grantwriting 101 Workshop by Wayne Carlson, The Ohio State University

31 Grant Writing as a Courtship Grant Writing as a Courtship Get to know the funding organizations Find the “best match” Talk to the funding officer if possible to establish a personal relationship If you visit in person, be nice to the receptionist or secretary! Reduces the chance of a bitter rejection or a bad divorce! Get to know the funding organizations Find the “best match” Talk to the funding officer if possible to establish a personal relationship If you visit in person, be nice to the receptionist or secretary! Reduces the chance of a bitter rejection or a bad divorce!


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