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Grant Writing Tips

Grant Writing Tips

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Grant Writing Tips

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  1. Grant Writing Tips Kim Sullivan Utah State University Former NSF Program Officer Based on a workshop held at the 2006 ABS meeting by Godfrey Bourne, Jerry Wolfe and Jerry Wilkinson

  2. NSF-Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) • Advice applies to other grant programs as well. • Eligibility- Ph.D. candidates (passed comprehensive exam) at a US institution. • Research in area supported by Division of Environmental Biology (33% funding rate) -- Ecological Biology -- Ecosystem Science -- Population and Evolutionary Processes -- Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Initiatives AND Animal Behavior Program in the Integrative Organismal Biology Division (25% funding rate) Co-funding with International Programs and Engineering is possible

  3. DDIG • www.nsf.gov • Due 3rd Friday in November 5 pm local time. $12,000 budget • “Improvement grant” don’t fund whole dissertation • Follow the Grant Proposal Guidelines on website • Contact the program director!

  4. What gets funded? • Likely to have high impact, new and original ideas, must have importance beyond your particular system- don’t be birdocentric • Project plan focused and clear – 2-3 main objectives, lay out hypotheses with alternatives and predictions, expected outcomes, sound scientific rationale • Knowledge of subject area and methods, current references • Realistic amount of work (not too ambitious) and realistic budget • Clarity about future directions • Broader impacts – will be returned without review if missing

  5. NSF Criterion I Intellectual Merit • Potential for advancing knowledge • Well qualified to carry out the project • Creative and original • Conceptualization and organization • Access to resources

  6. NSF Criterion II Broader Impact http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf Advance discovery and understanding while promotion teaching training and learning Broaden the participation of underrepresented groups Enhance infrastructure for research and education Broad dissemination to enhance technological and scientific understanding Benefits to society

  7. Tips and Traps • Know your audience, what are they looking to fund? • Sell yourself and the project. Excite the reviewer in the first page. Original, wow factor, impact, use active voice • Clearly id problem, theoretical basis, good model system for testing hypotheses • Preliminary data • Follow all of the rules (Grant Proposal Guidelines) • Allow enough time to fix errors and have informal reviews

  8. Style is important • Make the proposal a “pleasure to read” • Follow the rules on font size, line spacing, margins 12 point Times New Roman, don’t skimp on white space • Use headings, bold, indents, figures, flowcharts, timelines • Cite references accurately • Spell and grammar check • Get letters of support if collaborators involved • “Your proposal may statewhat you will do, but it showswhat you can do”

  9. Preparations • Talk to program officer if possible • Determine the funding objectives of the agency • Read successful proposals (abstracts may be posted online at agency website) • Read directions and guidelines carefully • Allow enough time for informal reviews • If declined, consider resubmitting

  10. Good luck!