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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. 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 funding source identifies the problem they want addressed, but no outcome is known in advance. The idea originates with the grantee. The idea originates with the grantee.

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

4 Types of Grants Research Research Curriculum Curriculum Demonstration Demonstration Training Training Equipment Equipment Fellowships Fellowships Federal Laboratory Research Federal Laboratory Research Grants for Young Investigator’s 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 2007NIAAA928303$79,607, % 2007NIA2,812675$187,485, % 2007NIAID6,3901,472$574,355, % 2007NIAMS1,719388$100,821, % 2007NCCAM712107$28,817, % 2007NCI8,7451,888$659,904, % 2007NIDA2,402660$202,755, % 2007NIDCD1,056377$89,359, % 2007NIDCR1,099272$78,045, % 2007NIDDK4,4211,090$311,554, % 2007NIBIB1,655333$94,579, % 2007NIEHS1,257283$95,792, % 2007NEI1,259351$115,889, % 2007NIGMS4,9721,678$492,067, % 2007NICHD3,500848$243,258, % 2007NHLBI5,8511,373$567,286, % National Institutes of Health Funding Statistics (2007) (for selected institutes) # reviewed #awarded

8 NSF200744,59311,484 26% $ 99,996 BIO20076,7261,303 19% $122,075 CSE20075,7381,626 28% $100,000 EHR20074, % $134,023 ENG20079,5751,958 20% $ 99,999 GEO20074,3731,347 31% $109,896 MPS20077,3162,361 32% $ 96,085 O/D20071, % $ 20,000 OPP20071, % $137,109 SBE20074,2911,150 27% $ 52,482 # Submitted # Funded Success Av. Award/yr National Science Foundation Funding Statistics (2007)

9 Fear of Rejection vs Reality !! Fear of Rejection vs Reality !! Reality - only one proposal in 5 is turned down because the idea wasn’t good enoughReality - 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 adviceReality - 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 timeReality - 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!)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 Can’t get a grant unless you write one Professionally fulfilling Professionally fulfilling Requires you to focus your thoughts Requires you to focus your thoughts Armed with reviewers comments the second proposal is nearly always stronger 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 Quality of the idea and its appeal to the funding source Your ability to communicate clearly and concisely 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 must, must, must 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. Science relies on the Peer Review System for advice 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 GET the guidelines from the funding agency you choose to submit to READ the guidelines READ the guidelines FOLLOW the guidelines FOLLOW the guidelines

16 Following the Guidelines You must follow the guidelines exactly. You must follow the guidelines exactly. Respond to all sections. Respond to all sections. Adhere to any format restrictions. Adhere to any format restrictions. Topics should be covered in the order presented in the guidelines. Topics should be covered in the order presented in the guidelines. Use headings that correspond to 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 Letter of Intent 2-4 pages2-4 pages highlights what you want to do and informs funding agency that you intend to submit – often get back no response other than an acknowledgementhighlights 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 Pre-proposal typically about 5 pagestypically about 5 pages reviewedreviewed invited to submit full proposalinvited to submit full proposal 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 It is a Plan for addressing that Idea

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

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

22 More questions reviewers will ask More questions reviewers will ask Are the proposed experiments or measurements feasible? Are the proposed experiments or measurements feasible? Are there compelling preliminary data? Are there compelling preliminary data? Is there a predictable flow to the proposal? Is there a predictable flow to the proposal? Are the investigators qualified? Are the investigators qualified? Have they been productive with previous support? (if applicable) Have they been productive with previous support? (if applicable) Are the facilities, environment and resources adequate? Are the facilities, environment and resources adequate?

23 The Hypothesis Driving force for a strong application. Driving force for a strong application. Emphasize in both abstract and specific aims. Emphasize in both abstract and specific aims. Provide a strong rationale based on current information. Provide a strong rationale based on current information. Should further the field (biology, writings of Faulkner, particle physics). Should further the field (biology, writings of Faulkner, particle physics). Should be a recurring theme throughout the application. Should be a recurring theme throughout the application.

24 Appropriate Writing Style Write to the funding source Write to the funding source Write in the correct language of the field - but no jargon Write in the correct language of the field - but no jargon Never write in 1st person Never write in 1st person Clarity Clarity Write to inform Write to inform don’t use language that is biased Write to persuade 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? Matching requirements? Human Subjects? Human Subjects? Due date - received or postmarked Due date - received or postmarked Page limit Page limit Spacing Spacing Numbering Numbering Margin requirement Margin requirement Type requirement Type requirement Do you need letters? Do you need letters? Group or Collaborative Projects – who leads? What is needed of partners? Group or Collaborative Projects – who leads? What is needed of partners? Have you given yourself enough time?? Have you given yourself enough time??

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

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

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

29 The Problem Statement: Framing the Need Don’t assume that no one else has ever thought of your idea. 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 The Problem Statement establishes a framework for the project’s goals, objectives, methods, and evaluation Begin with a framing statement, then provide documentation Begin with a framing statement, then provide documentation

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

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. 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. 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. 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. 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 What specific activities will allow you to meet your objectives Task oriented, specific, detailed 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. Essential that you demonstrate all the steps necessary to complete project with each flowing logically from the previous to the next.

33 Try to pre-empt and/or answer all of the reviewer’s questions. 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. Clearly and explicitly state the connections between your objectives, hypotheses, methodologies and expected outcomes. Summarize plans for dissemination of results Summarize plans for dissemination of results Provide a work plan and timeline. If there are multiple investigators, provide a clear explanation of individual responsibilities. Provide a work plan and timeline. If there are multiple investigators, provide a clear explanation of individual responsibilities. Your Project Description should:

34 Overcoming Proposal Block Take it piece by piece, don’t be overwhelmed. Take it piece by piece, don’t be overwhelmed. Outline sections before writing. Outline sections before writing. Brainstorm each section with others. Brainstorm each section with others. Start with easiest section. Start with easiest section. Write, and edit, re-edit, re-edit, re… Write, and edit, re-edit, re-edit, re… Take breaks Take breaks

35 Don’t minimize the importance of Formatting – a “clean” proposal conveys an impression to your reviewers Do not overcrowd pages. Do not overcrowd pages. Observe type size limitations (e.g., 6 lines/inch, Observe type size limitations (e.g., 6 lines/inch, 15 characters/inch). 15 characters/inch). Observe margins (1/2 inch). Observe margins (1/2 inch). Aim for an attractive and readable layout. Aim for an attractive and readable layout. Proposal should easily convey your ideas to a hurried Proposal should easily convey your ideas to a hurried reviewer. reviewer.

36 A Readable Style Scannability Scannability Make sure that all pages are not just solid text Make sure that all pages are not just solid text Use bulleted items to make important points Use bulleted items to make important points Don’t be afraid to use graphics; figures should have stand-alone captions 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 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 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 Use type faces with serifs, like Times, they are easier to read Do not justify Do not justify

37 Developing Your Budget The Grants Office must be involved in this portion of proposal development. The Grants Office must be involved in this portion of proposal development. Be realistic, don’t inflate Be realistic, don’t inflate Two parts to a budget Two parts to a budget the budget form which breaks the budget into specific categoriesthe 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 moneya 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. 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. 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 Indirect Rate is negotiated with Cognizant Auditing Agency

41 Your Goal: A Reviewer Friendly Proposal

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

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

44 Websites Federal Government Federal Government ttp://arts.endow.gov/grants/index.html Search Engines Search Engines Foundations and Non-Profits Foundations and Non-Profits

45 Websites University of Miami University of Miami n/1,1770,8549-1;7394-3,00.html n/1,1770,8549-1;7394-3,00.html


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