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Proposal Preparation: An Overview for Faculty and Staff Norm Braaten Director of Pre-award Development Office of Sponsored Programs Marla Rohrke Senior.

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Presentation on theme: "Proposal Preparation: An Overview for Faculty and Staff Norm Braaten Director of Pre-award Development Office of Sponsored Programs Marla Rohrke Senior."— Presentation transcript:

1 Proposal Preparation: An Overview for Faculty and Staff Norm Braaten Director of Pre-award Development Office of Sponsored Programs Marla Rohrke Senior Proposal Writer Office of Proposal Development March 9, 2005

2 Overview The Grant Life Cycle Idea Development Funding Source Identification Proposal Preparation Proposal Approval, Routing & Submission Awards Processing 2005 Grant Writing Seminars Proposal Preparation Assistance

3 The Grant Life Cycle

4 Idea Development Most creative and scholarly ideas come from prior work, perhaps dating back as far as one’s dissertation. Sometimes the funding opportunity may provide the idea.

5 Funding Source Identification Most investigators know about the potential for funding in their areas and the potential funding sources. Community of Science database Customized searches

6 Funding Source Identification Talk with a program officer Prepare a one- to two-page summary of your project Email – suggest day/time you’ll call and briefly state the purpose of your call. Say you’d like to send a summary via email before the call You may receive advice on your project and suggestions for other grant programs

7 Funding Source Identification Funding Announcements Current and Previous Issues To subscribe to Funding Announcements listserv, contact Nathan Meier (, 472-1808)

8 Proposal Preparation Getting Started 1.Read and follow the RFP!

9 Proposal Preparation Getting Started 2.Prepare outlines a.Proposal preparation timeline – work back from submission date, save time for reflection and outside review, and identify responsibilities for group proposals b.Skeleton outline of proposal from the sections required by the RFP and review criteria

10 Proposal Preparation Getting Started 3.Start writing a.Start to flesh out skeleton outline b.Review criteria – make a copy as a checklist c.Make sure partners stay on schedule

11 Proposal Preparation Getting Started 4.Introduction a.A brief summary of the narrative. Not burdened with data or references. A teaser – entice the reviewer to be your champion during panel review.

12 Proposal Preparation Getting Started 4.Introduction b.Get to the heart of your project right away. Don’t bury the project’s purpose three pages back. Save background information for the next section of the narrative. Briefly include the proposal “Building Blocks.”

13 Proposal Preparation Building Blocks Coordination throughout your proposal Need → Idea → Long-range Goal → Project Goal → Objectives/Specific Aims → Activities → Evaluation → Outcomes/Impact → Future Directions

14 Proposal Preparation Building Blocks Need Gap in current knowledge your project will fill Significance/impact of meeting the need Idea Consistent with UNL’s, college’s and department’s priorities, strategies and goals and/or your long-range research plans

15 Proposal Preparation Building Blocks Long-range Goal Long-range goal for your research beyond the project/grant funding period Project Goal Next step to reach your long-range goal Will fill or move you toward meeting the need or filling the gap in current knowledge

16 Proposal Preparation Building Blocks Objectives/Specific Aims Specific/measurable Should not be dependent on the success of preceding objectives/specific aims Activities (Plan of Work/Research Design & Methods) Relate to objectives/specific aims Include timeline, personnel, resources/budget items

17 Proposal Preparation Building Blocks Evaluation Formative (to improve project during development and implementation – ongoing) Summative (to assess the success of the project) Were the objectives/specific aims achieved? Was the project worthwhile? Can the project be used by other institutions or in other situations?

18 Proposal Preparation Building Blocks Outcomes/Impact Expected outcomes Impact – who/what will benefit and how Sustainability Future Directions What will happen or what direction will you take with your research after the funding period if you achieve your expected results?

19 Proposal Preparation Clarity Reviewers will disregard proposals they don’t like or don’t understand Don’t hide meaning among adjectives, adverbs and meaningless or vague jargon Be direct. “I will do xxxxx” not “Xxxxx should be done” Reviewers may not be experts in your particular area – explain when necessary

20 Proposal Preparation Reminder Read and follow the RFP! “What makes me crazy is an organization ignoring our guidelines” Use the RFP’s format and terminology (e.g., specific aims, objectives, background, etc.) and key words of the grant program Include everything, being sure you follow all instructions and requirements

21 Proposal Preparation Budget Considerations The budget should reflect the scope of work. Consider the following principles: Is the cost something that directly supports the grant (allocable)? Is the cost an amount I would normally expect to pay (reasonable)?

22 Proposal Preparation Budget Considerations Am I doing the expenses the same way as other grants I’ve had (consistency)? Is the cost something the sponsor (Federal government) says it will never pay for (specifically unallowable)? Is cost sharing required? Is full F&A cost allowed?

23 Proposal Preparation Budget Considerations A cost share consideration: “The investigator will devote 10% effort to the project during the academic year.” (Effort related, quantifiable. Use when cost share is mandatory.) vs. “The investigator will devote the effort necessary to ensure that the scientific and educational outcomes of the proposal are met.” (Outcome related.)

24 Approval, Routing, Submission Tips to make your proposal move through the approval process smoothly: An early “heads-up” to the people who would be involved in the approval process Early budget assistance through your department or college administrator or the Office of Sponsored Programs. Build administrative concerns, proposal approval and OSP review into your preparation time (2 working days).

25 Awards Processing Why an award is not processed in a timely manner: We don’t know that an award document exists More detail is required for the budget, cost share or subaward The award (contract) is in negotiations Compliance approvals have not been received –Conflict of interest –Human subjects, Vertebrate animals, Biosafety

26 Assistance For Assistance with Proposal Preparation Sponsored Programs – Pre-award Dev. Norm Braaten,, 472-3780 Proposal Development Marla Rohrke,, 472-2877

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