Presentation on theme: "Grant Writing 101 “There is no grantsmanship that will turn a bad idea into a good one, but there are many ways to disguise a good idea.” - Norm Braverman,"— Presentation transcript:
1Grant Writing 101“There is no grantsmanship that will turn a bad idea into a good one, but there are many ways to disguise a good idea.” - Norm Braverman, NIH
2What is a Grant?A Grant is a conditional gift or a conveyance of funds with strings attached. No substantial involvement is anticipated between the sponsor and the recipient.The funding source identifies the problem they want addressed, but no outcome is known in advance.The idea originates with the grantee.
3Grant vs. Contract Grant Contract project conceived by investigator agency supports or assistsperformer defines details and retains scientific freedomagency maintains oversightContractproject conceived by agencyagency procures serviceagency exercises direction or controlagency closely monitors
4Types of Grants Research Curriculum Demonstration Training Equipment FellowshipsFederal Laboratory ResearchGrants for Young Investigator’s
5Writing a good grant proposal is not easy! In academia, successful grantsmanship is often a requirement for successful scholarship, and scholarship plays the key role in personal advancement in the academy.Grant proposals are ultimately based on good ideas, but good grant writing skills can be learned and improved through practice and experience.
6What keeps us from writing grant proposals? Fear of Rejection !!!
7National Institutes of Health Funding Statistics (2007) (for selected institutes)# reviewed #awarded2007NIAAA928303$79,607,14432.7%NIA2,812675$187,485,32524.0%NIAID6,3901,472$574,355,49023.0%NIAMS1,719388$100,821,07322.6%NCCAM712107$28,817,57115.0%NCI8,7451,888$659,904,79921.6%NIDA2,402660$202,755,12027.5%NIDCD1,056377$89,359,39735.7%NIDCR1,099272$78,045,84324.7%NIDDK4,4211,090$311,554,661NIBIB1,655333$94,579,74420.1%NIEHS1,257283$95,792,34822.5%NEI1,259351$115,889,01827.9%NIGMS4,9721,678$492,067,47333.7%NICHD3,500848$243,258,55324.2%NHLBI5,8511,373$567,286,36223.5%
9Fear of Rejection vs Reality !! Reality - only one proposal in 5 is turned down because the idea wasn’t good enoughReality - a rejected proposal is worth its weight in gold in free adviceReality - the success rate is almost always higher for proposals turned in a second timeReality - on a third submission, your proposal will either fly (or you will be politely told not to come back!)
10The grant writing process is never wasted! Can’t get a grant unless you write oneProfessionally fulfillingRequires you to focus your thoughtsArmed with reviewers comments the second proposal is nearly always stronger
11Keys to Effective Grant Writing Quality of the idea and its appeal to the funding sourceYour ability to communicate clearly and conciselyThe most substantial part of any grant application is some form of “case for support”. It is this case which will persuade, or fail to persuade, your potential funding body of the value of your proposal.
12Science relies on the Peer Review System for advice Your case for support will, with luck, be read by one or more experts in your field. But the program manager, and most members of the panel that will weigh your proposal against others, won’t be as expert. You must, must, must write your proposal for their benefit too.One of the most valuable things you can do is ask lots of people to help you improve your proposal. Give it to your colleagues, your friends, your spouse, your dog, and listen to what they have to say. If they don’t understand what you are trying to get across, rewrite your proposal so it can’t be misunderstood. If your dog doesn’t immediately see the value of what you want to achieve, then rewrite it until he/she does (or get a new dog).
13Also, remember that program managers and panel members see tens or hundreds of proposals at a time, so you only have a few minutes or less to grab your reader’s attention.One of the most critical things you can do is to make sure your Abstract (or Project Summary, in the case of NSF) acts as a stand-alone guide to the entire proposal. You should assume (and it’s probably a safe assumption) that some readers will never get past the first page, or at best will read the first page and then skim the text and look at figures. So don’t fill up the Abstract with boilerplate about the technical background and methodology. Instead, present your case in clear and concise language – what you want to do, why it’s important, why you will succeed, and so on.
15You have to Play by the Rules GET the guidelines from the funding agency you choose to submit toREAD the guidelinesFOLLOW the guidelines
16Following the Guidelines You must follow the guidelines exactly.Respond to all sections.Adhere to any format restrictions.Topics should be covered in the order presented in the guidelines.Use headings that correspond to the guidelines.
17Call the Program Officer! 85% of all successful grant seekers have had contact with the program officer
18Types of Grants Letter of Intent Pre-proposal Full Proposal 2-4 pages highlights what you want to do and informs funding agency that you intend to submit – often get back no response other than an acknowledgementPre-proposaltypically about 5 pagesreviewedinvited to submit full proposalFull Proposalfrom pagesformsattachmentsspecific format
19A Grant Proposal is not an Idea It is a Plan for addressing that Idea
20The Process Contact the sponsor A good idea Plan in detail Develop the budget from the detailed planRead the guidelines again with narrative in mindBe persistent – ruthlessly revise and resubmit if neededA good ideaA good institutional fitAssemble a winning teamMatch the idea to a funding sourceRead the GuidelinesRead them again
21Anticipate what reviewers will ask General questions:What is the central hypothesis?:validity, clarity.Is the question important andnovel?: potential impactAre the specific aims logical andfeasible?: organization.
22More questions reviewers will ask Are the proposed experiments or measurements feasible?Are there compelling preliminary data?Is there a predictable flow to the proposal?Are the investigators qualified?Have they been productive with previous support? (if applicable)Are the facilities, environment and resources adequate?
23The Hypothesis Driving force for a strong application. Emphasize in both abstract and specific aims.Provide a strong rationale based on current information.Should further the field (biology, writings of Faulkner, particle physics).Should be a recurring theme throughout the application.
24Appropriate Writing Style Write to the funding sourceWrite in the correct language of the field - but no jargonNever write in 1st personClarityWrite to informdon’t use language that is biasedWrite to persuadedata from reputable sourceuse current dataestablish credibilityno unsubstantiated opinions
25Technical Issues to Consider Before you Write Matching requirements?Human Subjects?Due date - received or postmarkedPage limitSpacingNumberingMargin requirementType requirementDo you need letters?Group or Collaborative Projects – who leads? What is needed of partners?Have you given yourself enough time??
26Parts of a Grant Application Cover PageTable of ContentsAbstractProblem or Needs StatementGoals and ObjectivesBackground/Prelimi-nary StudiesMethodologyExpected Outcomes and EvaluationDisseminationBroader ImpactsReferences CitedBudget & NarrativeVitaeAppendicesForms, Certifications and Assurances
27The Project Title The title is important It should convey what the project is aboutIt is often used to assign review groupsGo for succinct rather than catchyDon’t change on a revision
28Abstract Should be able to stand alone Clear, concise, one page max it could be all the reviewers readClear, concise, one page maxCover all key elements in orderState hypothesis, objectives and importance of goalsState plans and general methods to achieve these goalsWrite your abstract last!
29The Problem Statement: Framing the Need Don’t assume that no one else has ever thought of your idea.The Problem Statement establishes a framework for the project’s goals, objectives, methods, and evaluationBegin with a framing statement, then provide documentation
30A Good Proposal should: Describe the theoretical or conceptual basis for your project and your knowledge of the issues surrounding your proposed projectInclude statistical data, if appropriateDemonstrate that your approach is creative or innovativeShow that you understand the problemDemonstrate that this is an important problem to solveClearly describe the aspects of the problem that your project will address, and what gaps your work will fill
31Literature ReviewReviewers want to know whether you’ve done the necessary preliminary research to undertake your project. You need to demonstrate your understanding of the field.Reviews should be selective and critical, not exhaustive. You are not writing a review paper – stay focused on the literature that is pertinent to your proposal.Don’t cite mostly your own work – the review needs balance.
32Project DescriptionOften the most detailed and lengthy section because it provides the meat of the proposal; may be divided into several subsections, as needed.What specific activities will allow you to meet your objectivesTask oriented, specific, detailedEssential that you demonstrate all the steps necessary to complete project with each flowing logically from the previous to the next.
33Your Project Description should: Try to pre-empt and/or answer all of the reviewer’s questions.Clearly and explicitly state the connections between your objectives, hypotheses, methodologies and expected outcomes.Summarize plans for dissemination of resultsProvide a work plan and timeline. If there are multiple investigators, provide a clear explanation of individual responsibilities.
34Overcoming Proposal Block Take it piece by piece, don’t be overwhelmed.Outline sections before writing.Brainstorm each section with others.Start with easiest section.Write, and edit, re-edit, re-edit, re…Take breaks
35Don’t minimize the importance of Formatting – a “clean” proposal conveys an impression to your reviewers• Do not overcrowd pages.• Observe type size limitations (e.g., 6 lines/inch,15 characters/inch).• Observe margins (1/2 inch).• Aim for an attractive and readable layout.• Proposal should easily convey your ideas to a hurriedreviewer.
36A Readable Style Scannability Make sure that all pages are not just solid textUse bulleted items to make important pointsDon’t be afraid to use graphics; figures should have stand-alone captionsUse headings and subheadings, bold and underline, but don’t go nutsLook at each introductory sentence of a paragraph. It is the most important part and may be all that a reviewer will readUse type faces with serifs, like Times, they are easier to readDo not justify
37Developing Your Budget The Grants Office must be involved in this portion of proposal development.Be realistic, don’t inflateTwo parts to a budgetthe budget form which breaks the budget into specific categoriesa budget narrative that explains how you arrived at these figures and why you need the money
39Direct CostsCosts that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity; or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.
40Indirect or Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs Costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives, and, therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity.Indirect Rate is negotiated with Cognizant Auditing Agency
4213 Reasons Why Proposals Fail Deadline not metGuidelines not followedNothing intriguingDid not address program prioritiesNot completePoor literature reviewAppeared beyond capacity of PIMethodology weakUnrealistic budgetCost greater than benefitHighly partisanPoorly writtenMechanical defects
43Recycle your Rejected Proposal Success means having one in three grants fundedA rejected proposal does not always mean the idea was rejectedObtain reviewer commentsCall the program officerRewrite, revise, resubmit
44Websites Federal Government Search Engines Search EnginesFoundations and Non-Profits