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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,

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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:

1 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, NIH

2 What 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.

3 Grant vs. Contract Grant Contract project conceived by investigator
agency supports or assists performer defines details and retains scientific freedom agency maintains oversight Contract project conceived by agency agency procures service agency exercises direction or control agency closely monitors

4 Types of Grants Research Curriculum Demonstration Training Equipment
Fellowships Federal Laboratory Research Grants for Young Investigator’s

5 Writing 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.

6 What keeps us from writing grant proposals?
Fear of Rejection !!!

7 National Institutes of Health Funding Statistics (2007)
(for selected institutes) # reviewed #awarded 2007 NIAAA 928 303 $79,607,144 32.7% NIA 2,812 675 $187,485,325 24.0% NIAID 6,390 1,472 $574,355,490 23.0% NIAMS 1,719 388 $100,821,073 22.6% NCCAM 712 107 $28,817,571 15.0% NCI 8,745 1,888 $659,904,799 21.6% NIDA 2,402 660 $202,755,120 27.5% NIDCD 1,056 377 $89,359,397 35.7% NIDCR 1,099 272 $78,045,843 24.7% NIDDK 4,421 1,090 $311,554,661 NIBIB 1,655 333 $94,579,744 20.1% NIEHS 1,257 283 $95,792,348 22.5% NEI 1,259 351 $115,889,018 27.9% NIGMS 4,972 1,678 $492,067,473 33.7% NICHD 3,500 848 $243,258,553 24.2% NHLBI 5,851 1,373 $567,286,362 23.5%

8 National Science Foundation Funding Statistics (2007)
NSF ,593 11, % $ 99,996 BIO ,726 1, % $122,075 CSE ,738 1, % $100,000 EHR , % $134,023 ENG ,575 1, % $ 99,999 GEO ,373 1, % $109,896 MPS ,316 2, % $ 96,085 O/D , % $ 20,000 OPP , % $137,109 SBE ,291 1, % $ 52,482 # Submitted # Funded Success Av. Award/yr

9 Fear of Rejection vs Reality !!
Reality - only one proposal in 5 is turned down because the idea wasn’t good enough Reality - a rejected proposal is worth its weight in gold in free advice Reality - the success rate is almost always higher for proposals turned in a second time Reality - on a third submission, your proposal will either fly (or you will be politely told not to come back!)

10 The grant writing process is never wasted!
Can’t get a grant unless you write one Professionally fulfilling Requires you to focus your thoughts Armed with reviewers comments the second proposal is nearly always stronger

11 Keys to Effective Grant Writing
Quality of the idea and its appeal to the funding source Your ability to communicate clearly and concisely The 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.

12 Science 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).

13 Also, 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.

14 Writing a Grant Proposal is Like Playing a Game

15 You have to Play by the Rules
GET the guidelines from the funding agency you choose to submit to READ the guidelines FOLLOW the guidelines

16 Following 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.

17 Call the Program Officer!
85% of all successful grant seekers have had contact with the program officer

18 Types 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 acknowledgement Pre-proposal typically about 5 pages reviewed invited to submit full proposal Full Proposal from pages forms attachments specific format

19 A Grant Proposal is not an Idea
It is a Plan for addressing that Idea

20 The Process Contact the sponsor A good idea Plan in detail
Develop the budget from the detailed plan Read the guidelines again with narrative in mind Be persistent – ruthlessly revise and resubmit if needed A good idea A good institutional fit Assemble a winning team Match the idea to a funding source Read the Guidelines Read them again

21 Anticipate what reviewers will ask
General questions: What is the central hypothesis?: validity, clarity. Is the question important and novel?: potential impact Are the specific aims logical and feasible?: organization.

22 More 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?

23 The 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.

24 Appropriate Writing Style
Write to the funding source Write in the correct language of the field - but no jargon Never write in 1st person Clarity Write to inform don’t use language that is biased Write to persuade data from reputable source use current data establish credibility no unsubstantiated opinions

25 Technical Issues to Consider Before you Write
Matching requirements? Human Subjects? Due date - received or postmarked Page limit Spacing Numbering Margin requirement Type requirement Do you need letters? Group or Collaborative Projects – who leads? What is needed of partners? Have you given yourself enough time??

26 Parts of a Grant Application
Cover Page Table of Contents Abstract Problem or Needs Statement Goals and Objectives Background/Prelimi-nary Studies Methodology Expected Outcomes and Evaluation Dissemination Broader Impacts References Cited Budget & Narrative Vitae Appendices Forms, Certifications and Assurances

27 The Project Title The title is important
It should convey what the project is about It is often used to assign review groups Go for succinct rather than catchy Don’t change on a revision

28 Abstract Should be able to stand alone Clear, concise, one page max
it could be all the reviewers read Clear, concise, one page max Cover all key elements in order State hypothesis, objectives and importance of goals State plans and general methods to achieve these goals Write your abstract last!

29 The 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 evaluation Begin with a framing statement, then provide documentation

30 A Good Proposal should:
Describe the theoretical or conceptual basis for your project and your knowledge of the issues surrounding your proposed project Include statistical data, if appropriate Demonstrate that your approach is creative or innovative Show that you understand the problem Demonstrate that this is an important problem to solve Clearly describe the aspects of the problem that your project will address, and what gaps your work will fill

31 Literature Review Reviewers 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.

32 Project Description Often 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 objectives Task oriented, specific, detailed Essential that you demonstrate all the steps necessary to complete project with each flowing logically from the previous to the next.

33 Your 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 results Provide a work plan and timeline. If there are multiple investigators, provide a clear explanation of individual responsibilities.

34 Overcoming 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

35 Don’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 hurried reviewer.

36 A Readable Style Scannability
Make sure that all pages are not just solid text Use bulleted items to make important points Don’t be afraid to use graphics; figures should have stand-alone captions Use headings and subheadings, bold and underline, but don’t go nuts Look at each introductory sentence of a paragraph. It is the most important part and may be all that a reviewer will read Use type faces with serifs, like Times, they are easier to read Do not justify

37 Developing Your Budget
The Grants Office must be involved in this portion of proposal development. Be realistic, don’t inflate Two parts to a budget the budget form which breaks the budget into specific categories a budget narrative that explains how you arrived at these figures and why you need the money

38 Two Types of Costs Direct and Indirect

39 Direct Costs Costs 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.

40 Indirect 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

41 Your Goal: A Reviewer Friendly Proposal

42 13 Reasons Why Proposals Fail
Deadline not met Guidelines not followed Nothing intriguing Did not address program priorities Not complete Poor literature review Appeared beyond capacity of PI Methodology weak Unrealistic budget Cost greater than benefit Highly partisan Poorly written Mechanical defects

43 Recycle your Rejected Proposal
Success means having one in three grants funded A rejected proposal does not always mean the idea was rejected Obtain reviewer comments Call the program officer Rewrite, revise, resubmit

44 Websites Federal Government Search Engines
Search Engines Foundations and Non-Profits

45 Websites University of Miami

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