Presentation on theme: "Preparing a Grant Proposal: Some Basics"— Presentation transcript:
1 Preparing a Grant Proposal: Some Basics Barbara Gastel, MD, MPHTexas A&M University
2 Overview Grant proposals as persuasive writing Finding funding sources Matching your ideas and the funder’s goalsSome common sections of proposalsPreparing to write the proposalWriting the proposalCommon problems to avoidResubmitting a proposalPreparing progress reportsSome resources
3 Grant Proposals as Persuasive Writing The proposal must persuade the potential funder thatthe goal of the proposed work is worthwhilethe goal is relevant to the funder’s missionthe proposed approach is soundthe staff is capable of doing the workadequate facilities will be availablethe requested amount of funding is reasonable
4 Finding Potential Sites of Funding Some sources of ideas:Your professors and colleaguesAcknowledgments etc in journal articlesPublished or posted announcementsListservs in your field or at your institutionPublished or posted guidesNote: Consulting a program officer at the potential funding source can help.
5 Look for a Good Match Seek funding from entities With goals that are consistent with what you want to doThat tend to give grants of the size you are seekingIdeally, with programs that match your intended work
6 Some Common Sections of Proposals Background informationStatement of goalsResearch plan or program planBudgetInformation on qualifications of staff (for example, resumes or curricula vitae)(Note: Depending on the requirements, proposals can range from one page to many pages.)
7 Some Other Items Sometimes Included Letter of transmittal (cover letter)Title pageAbstractTable of contentsLists of tables and figuresDescription of predicted impactPlan for disseminating resultsInformation on facilitiesReference list
8 Appendixes Optional to include Examples Papers accepted but not yet publishedLetters of support from potential collaboratorsAdditional details about activities plannedRemember: Reviewers typically are not obligated to look at appendixes.
9 Preparing to Write the Proposal Carefully review materials from the potential funding source.Consult the program officer, if appropriate.Look at examples of successful proposals to the funding sourceFrom colleaguesFrom the program officerPublished or posted
10 Writing the ProposalStart early—sometimes at least 6 months in advance.Consider including a writer or editor on the team.Read the instructions carefully, and follow them precisely.Match the technical level of the proposal to the background of the reviewers.
11 Writing the Proposal (cont) Write the proposal readably. For exampleOrganize the writing carefully.Present overviews before details.Use simple, common wording where possible.Avoid wordy phrases.Make effective (but not excessive) use of such devices as headings, boldface, and italics.If relevant, include a timeline.If the proposal will include an abstract, devote special care to it.
12 Writing the Proposal (cont) If the potential funder has forms to use, complete them carefully.If part or all of the proposal will consist of freestanding text, format it readablyStandard typefaceLarge enough type and marginsUnjustified (ragged) right margin unless otherwise requestedCarefully follow instructions for submitting the proposal (often done electronically).
13 Common Problems to Avoid Failure to follow the instructionsSeeming unfamiliarity with relevant published workLack of originalitySuperficial or unfocused research planLack of a valid scientific rationale
14 Common Problems (cont) Problems with the experimental approachLack of experience with key methodsInsufficient experimental detailLack of preliminary data, if needed
15 Common Problems (cont) Unrealistically ambitious plansUnrealistic budgetingFailure to justify budgetary items enoughFor service projects, lack of sufficient information on evaluation plansInconsistencies in the contentExcessive use of acronyms/abbreviations
16 A SuggestionAs you prepare and refine your grant proposal, envision yourself writing journal articles or a book about your completed research. Will you have all the needed information? If not, revise your research plan.
17 Resubmitting a Proposal Note: For some funding sources, revising and resubmitting proposals is common.In revising the proposal, use the advice from the reviewers.Consider consulting the program officer.In general, accompany the revised proposal with a list showing, point by point, how the reviewers’ advice was followed.
18 Progress Reports: Some Functions For the funding source or supervisor: help see how the work is progressing and thus whether the plans or funding level should be adjustedFor those doing the work:Provide incentive to keep upAid in assessing one’s own progress and adjusting one’s approachProvide material to draw on for presentations and publications
19 Preparing to Write a Progress Report Obtain any instructions or forms.If possible, obtain relevant examples to use as models.Review your proposal or project plan.
20 Progress Reports: A Common Structure Background informationSummary of project planDescription of present statusAchievements thus farComparison of progress with that anticipatedSignificant problems encountered, if anyConclusionsOverall assessmentProposed modifications, if any
21 Writing a Progress Report In general, structure the progress report like the project plan.Be specific. Include numbers, names, and dates.If appropriate, include tables and figures.Consider using headings etc to guide readers.
22 Writing a Progress Report (cont) Strive to sound positive, competent, and confident.Do not hide problems. Say how they are being addressed.If you write a series of progress reports on a project, put each in the same format.Edit the progress report carefully.
23 Some ResourcesTexas A&M Office of Proposal Development:(includes a grant writing workbook, which lists and has links to other resources—see Chapter 16, “Learning More”)Annotated grant proposal: