Office of Sponsored Projects NIU Foundation Sponsor requires progress reports Sponsor expects deliverables (technical report, evaluation) Award restricts use of results or publications Sponsor includes “Terms & Conditions” of award Donations Gifts Support for a particular activity, program area or purpose. May have no expectation of outcome or deliverable.
Common HeadingWho CompletesAnswers the Question Cover SheetOSPWho are we? Table of ContentsOSP/PIWhat’s in the proposal? AbstractPIWhat’s the big picture? Problem StatementPIWhy should we do this now? Goals/AimsPIWhat are we trying to accomplish? Measurable ObjectivesPIWhat will be different? ProceduresPIWhat exactly are we going to do and when? EvaluationPIHow will we know if our idea works? DisseminationPIWho else will benefit? How will we share data? FacilitiesPIDo we have the necessary tools/resources/capacity? PersonnelPIWho will do the work? Are they qualified? BudgetOSP/PIHow much will it cost? Biographical SketchPIWho are the players? ReferencesPIWhose work are you building on? AppendicesPIWhat else do the funders need to make a decision?
Life Cycle of a Grant Proposal Contact Office of Sponsored Projects RDS Idea/ RFP Narrative— draft, get feedback, revise Draft budget (get permissions if needed) Narrative finalized Budget finalized Days before agency submission deadline Business Days 90+60301453 0 7 5 days before a deadline, OSP should start the routing process: Routing Forms for University Approvals: PIs, co-PIs, Chair, Deans, Directors, VPs, OSP OSP finalizing agency forms OSP Submits proposal to Agency
- IRIS/GrantForward (as of July 1) - GrantSearch - Foundation Directory—Library
Use Databases (www.niu.edu/osp -- Funding Databases) to locate information regarding:www.niu.edu/osp ◦ Foundations ◦ Federal agencies ◦ Corporate foundations ◦ Professional organizations Listservs (Federal, state, Foundation Center RFP Bulletin) Facebook (yes, Foundations have FB pages) RSS feeds (the Foundation Center’s Philanthropy News Digest, for example). LinkedIn
Federal info: www.grants.gov State: IRIS/GrantForward or agency websites Foundations -- Foundation Center: ◦ Foundation Directory ◦ Foundation Finder ◦ Newsletters (Arts, Education, and Health funding) IRIS/GrantForward (Federal, state, foundation) GrantSearch (Federal, state, foundation)
IRIS (GrantForward as of July 1, 2012) GrantSearch Foundation Center: newsletters available Foundation Directory: NIU Library, Reference Desk to log you in to search the Foundation Directory Federal info: www.grants.govwww.grants.gov State—by agency
Over 9,000 active federal and private funding opportunities in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities (agriculture to zoology) Search by sponsor, deadline date, keyword, and other criteria Most IRIS records contain links to sponsor Web sites and electronic forms
Seems you can establish an Alert for each of your funding searches and then receive emails when new funding opportunities that match are added/updated. IRIS can now be used from off-campus. “Link to your institution’s network.”
You have to play by the Rules Get the (most recent) guidelines Read the guidelines Follow the guidelines
Avoid fuzzy or inappropriate use of words: The intrinsic labyrinth of wires must be first disentangled. The liquid contents of container should then be disgorged via the spout by the operator. What is the writer really saying ? From Grant Resource Training, 2006
Academic writingGrant writing Scholarly pursuit: ◦ Individual passion Past oriented: ◦ Work that has been done Theme-centered: ◦ Theory and thesis Expository rhetoric: ◦ Explaining to reader Sponsor goals: ◦ Service Attitude Future oriented: ◦ Work that should be done Project-centered: ◦ Objectives and activities Persuasive rhetoric: ◦ “selling the reader” From: Porter, R. (2007). Why academics have a hard time writing good grant proposals. The Journal of Research Administration, 38, 161-167.
Academic writingGrant writing Impersonal tone: ◦ Objective, dispassionate Individualistic: ◦ Primarily a solo activity Few length constraints ◦ Verbosity rewarded Specialized terminology ◦ “insider jargon” Personal tone: ◦ Conveys excitement Team-focused: ◦ Feedback needed Strict length constraints: ◦ Brevity rewarded Accessible language: ◦ Easily understood ◦ (who are reviewers?) From: Porter, R. (2007). Why academics have a hard time writing good grant proposals. The Journal of Research Administration, 38, 161-167.
Influence decision-makers Convince them to commit dollars in support of a specific project A winning proposal addresses an important question with an innovative idea, well expressed, with a clear indication of methods for pursuing the idea, evaluating the findings, and making them known to all who need to know
OSP website: www.niu.edu/ospwww.niu.edu/osp Go to the “Proposal Preparation” section and click on Writing Guides Agency Guides Foundation Center Proposal Writing Short Course Corporation for Public Broadcasting Courses and Workshops a Proposal Writing Seminar at the Foundation Center (includes a free online course)
www.in4grants.com Go to Resources, then Webinars. To listen to the webinar for “Crafting a Sales Pitch for Your Grant Proposal,” click on the PowerPoint graphic. Enter your email to register to watch the recorded webinar. Dr. Porter’s article and PDF of the webinar are also available. Note: We’re also using the In4grants site (or InfoReady) as a collaborative website for large, interdisciplinary projects.
Jargon Files: ◦ Words whose once-precise meanings got watered down through trendy misuse: Impact, Strategy, Parameter, Extrapolate. ◦ Some that never had a clear meaning to begin with: Comprehensive ◦ Buzz words: at-risk, capacity, empowerment, proactive Online at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation at: http://www.emcf.org/publications/other- resources/ http://www.emcf.org/publications/other- resources/
Access the agency guidelines and follow them to the letter! May be short, 1 page or so. Or might be 10 pages. (Some federal programs have almost 100 pages!) They indicate how they want to see the finished proposal arrive at their door.
Agency priorities/themes—what areas they are interested in funding Format issues: Page limits, word count limits, margin & font size limitations Budget information (more on that later) Deadlines (hard copy or email; postmark or receipt; don’t forget time zones!)
Executive Summary/Abstract Statement of need: why is this project necessary? Project description or Narrative: the nuts and bolts of how the project will be implemented (might be 3 pages or 20 pages! See agency requirements.) Budget: what are you going to use the $ for? Organization info (sometimes NIU info, sometimes your department info or mission) Conclusion: summary (read guidelines to see if this is needed; can be optional) * See the agency guidelines for which sections to include
Read the guidelines! Length: # pages, single/double spaced? ◦ Determines how much space to use for the literature review, description of need/problem, explanation of methodology ◦ 3 pages, 6 pages, 1800 words. Need/Significance, Literature Review, Objectives, Activities, Evaluation Description of researcher/credentials Meet review criteria Write clearly Address agency priorities! (example, Guggenheim)
General description of the project Specific purpose of funds requested Target population served Evidence of need for the project Activities planned to meet objectives Time required to complete activities Qualifications of key personnel involved If collaborative, details of collaboration Plans for future funding of the project Expected benefits and outcomes of the project.
Overall concept, more abstract Broad statement of what you want to accomplish
S – Specific M – Measurable outcomes A – Achievable, attainable R – Realistic T – Time-bound, achievable in a specified time period
Should be mapped to the Objectives Explain how project will accomplish the objectives Discuss ONLY those actions that support an objective Fully describe the work to be done in the project
One or more activities for each objective Specify: ◦ Who will do them ◦ When they will be done ◦ How they will be accomplished ◦ Why you chose this approach ◦ What other methods were available ◦ How long each activity will take
Clear Objectives and Activities leads to an Evaluation Plan—how are you going to know you accomplished what you set out to do? Funders want to be able to determine if their money has been well spent. How well did the program achieve its goal? Did the project meet its objectives? Were project activities implemented as planned? How effective were the activities in achieving the objectives?
Disturb/Irritate ◦ Spelling errors ◦ Overusing technical terms ◦ Using acronyms Confuse ◦ Writing overly complex sentences ◦ Failing to attend to paragraph coherence issues ◦ Using passive voice ◦ Including non-parallel lists Diminish Credibility ◦ Failing to address criteria ◦ Abstract, problem statement, budget disconnect ◦ Failing to address assessment and administration ◦ Including extraneous information From Grant Resource Training, 2006
Research skills Sales capabilities Written and oral communication skills Ingenuity and flexibility Administrative capabilities (from leadership to accounting) Human relations skills Persistence, dedication, patience, and the capacity for hard work Political acumen Integrity
Students in grades 5 and 6 are America’s future. But the vast majority of these students are performing at sub-standard academic levels. This project aims to engage students in an applied research project analyzing the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Activities will include collecting samples, testing, analysis of impact and reporting results. The standardized science scores for students engaged in the project will improve by 12 percent. From Grant Resource Training, 2006
http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts /grant_proposals.html http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts /grant_proposals.html Grant writing process Timeline examples
Letters of SupportLetters of Commitment Letter writer advocates for your project Referred to in the text, put in appendix How does the project fit with the mission/goals of the organization Presents type of support Evidence of interest in the project from participants If the project is funded, they are ready with their contribution What they will contribute They will participate at the time you need them
It may be short, but it packs a punch… ◦ Reviewers read it first. You need to grab their attention ◦ Should be brief—200 words/1 page ◦ It appears first, but it should be written LAST
What: Topic of project, goals, objectives. What do you intend to do? Why: Problem/Issue to be addressed. Why is the work important? How: Methods, procedures. How are you going to do the work?
Who: Target population, group served or studied When: Project dates, duration So what: Significance, outcomes expected
If you have an idea for a project, contact OSP to discuss your idea and for help in locating a funding opportunity. It’s best if you can prepare a 1 – 2 page description of your idea or project. The beginning of your Needs/Significance section, Goal, Objective, or ideas for activities. These will change! This is just for some discussion points! If you have a Request for Proposal (RFP), contact OSP to go over the RFP and help with the process.
Copy/paste the agency’s heading into your Word doc to guide your work. Start with describing your need, the significance of the problem, issue, project ◦ A project is significant if it, for example,: Solves a problem Creates new and important knowledge Creates a model Improves the human condition Improves a scientific technique
Ne eds, significance Problem statement/Hypotheses Objectives Methods, work plan, activities Evaluation Dissemination Budget, then budget narrative Introduction Literature cited Forms Summary/Abstract Attachments, Biosketch/Vita – if allowed
Begin with an outline (either the agency steps or an outline of your project) Name your project Keep language clear and simple Use action words Avoid jargon and acronyms Revise and edit Foundation Center Proposal Writing Basics Webinar
It’s not how much money you want, it’s how much the project costs.
Ask for what you need to do the work Justify requests that are significant or out of the ordinary Reviewers emphasize project quality over budget Follow sponsor and institutional guidelines and policies When in doubt, ask!
Can be as simple as a one-page statement of projected expenses or quite complex on agency forms Can be overwhelming—but OSP will assist! Budget Costs Envision what your project needs to make it a reality A cost must be reasonable
Read the Guidelines! Consider the overall project budget before you begin to develop individual budgets for each year Consider agency limits: ◦ items they will fund—items they will NOT fund ◦ level they will fund—don’t propose a budget over the level (it will most likely be rejected) ◦ number of years they will fund Outline the budget in the format the agency requests Remember that the grant will not start for probably several months and submit costs accordingly
If the project is over several years, build in cost increases Develop a budget explanation to delineate clearly how budget figures were computed Ensure that the budget coincides with the narrative and falls within the time- frame allowed
Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation: “And if you submit a budget that contradicts any of these carefully described guidelines, we will have reason to think of you as a careless reader and thoughtless applicant. This will inevitably be reflected in our estimation of the potential of your scholarship.”
- Internal review process - Who will review your grant proposal? - What if it’s rejected?
Except in very rare cases, proposals must normally be reviewed by OSP before submission to the funding agency. ◦ When a proposal is submitted to a funding agency, a legal agreement is created between the agency and the submitting institution. ◦ Consequently, institutional review is required to ensure that the proposed research activity is in line with the institution’s mission and abilities.
Funding agencies normally require proposals to be endorsed by someone who has the legal authority to commit the institution to carry out the proposed work. ◦ They also normally require the individual approving the proposal to make a number of representations and/or certifications as part of the submission process. ◦ Authorizing signatory: Director of Sponsored Projects, VP of Research & Graduate Studies, and other upper administration (including the President on rare occasions when the agency specifies).
Agency guidelines contain Review Criteria Peer reviewed Panel reviewed Staff review Board review It is OK to ask them not to send a proposal to a particular person (must be carefully justified) It’s okay to recommend reviewers Be aware of points assigned to proposal sections.
Don’t assume readers/reviewers know the subject as well as you do, but don’t go overboard. Use the agencies Subject Headings for review criteria! Don’t make them hunt for the “Significance.” The most important rule to keep in mind: ◦ Don’t annoy the reviewers!
Examples include: Formatting issues (going over page, word, or line limits) Submitting a proposal over the budget ceiling Deadline issues (Online? Do time zones matter? Postmark/receipt?) Submitting a proposal outside agency interests (for example, a health-related proposal to NSF)
Innovation Relevance Demonstrated Competence/expertise of PI Feasibility Study Time Schedule Enthusiasm Simple Straightforward Language Complete Literature Search
1. Project doesn’t address agency priorities 2. Guidelines not followed 3. Not a compelling idea 4. Ideas not clearly presented 5. Methodology appears to be flawed 6. Overuse of jargon 7. Overly ambitious 8. Narrative and budget don’t correspond 9. Sloppy presentation 10.The work has already been done
Don’t give up! Get reviews Talk to agency contact Re-evaluate, revise and resubmit Look for other potential funders
Look at an agencies previous grantees ◦ Annual reports ◦ Listing on website ◦ If requesting a brochure (rare with most foundations having websites, but possible), request a list of previous grantees. ◦ Look at others’ titles, how much money they were awarded, Abstracts if available. ◦ Look at other institutions—where are they receiving money from. Foundations do have geographic restrictions.
The intrinsic labyrinth of wires must be first disentangled. The liquid contents of container should then be disgorged via the spout by the operator. Disconnect the wires and pour the contents into…
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