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TAMU-C Grant Writing Workshop

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TAMU-C Grant Writing Workshop

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  1. TAMU-C Grant Writing Workshop • Presenter: Mike Cronan, PE (inactive), Director, Office of Proposal Development, Office of the Vice President for Research, Texas A&M University; • System Coordination: Dr. K. Lee Peddicord, Vice Chancellor for Research & Federal Relations, and Tami Davis Sayko, Associate Vice Chancellor R&FR, The Texas A&M University System Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  2. Office of Proposal Development • Supports faculty in the development and writing of proposals; • Supports center-level initiatives, interdisciplinary research teams, junior faculty, and diversity initiatives; • Helps develop research partnerships at Texas A&M and among System institutions and the Health Science Center; • Offers a full suite of training programs to help faculty develop and write more competitive proposals. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  3. OPD Member List • Jean Ann Bowman, PhD (Physical Geography/Hydrology), earth ecological, and environmental sciences, jbowman@tamu.edu; • Libby Childress, Scheduling, workshop management, project coordination, libbyc@tamu.edu; • Mike Cronan, PE, BSCE, BA, MFA, Center-level proposals, A&M System partnerships, new proposal and training initiatives, mikecronan@tamu.edu; • Lucy Deckard, BSMS, MSMS&E, New faculty initiative, fellowships, engineering and physical science proposals, equipment and instrumentation, OPD web management l-deckard@tamu.edu; • John Ivy, PhD (Molecular Biology), NIH biomedical and biological science initiatives, johnivy@tamu.edu; • Phyllis McBride, PhD (English), proposal writing training, biomedical, social and behavioral sciences; editing, p-mcbride@tamu.edu; • Robyn Pearson, BA, MA, social & behavioral sciences and humanities proposals, support for research group development, editing and rewriting, rlpearson@tamu.edu Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  4. Presenter Background • Mike Cronan: 17 years experience at Texas A&M planning, developing, and writing successful research and educational proposals to federal agencies. • Authored over $60 million in System-wide proposals funded by NSF: Texas AMP, Texas RSI, South Texas RSI, Texas CETP , CREST Environmental Research Center, Information Technology in Science. • Named Regents Fellow (2000-04) by the Board of Regents for leading and developing System partnerships and writing NSF funded grants to support them. • B.S., Civil/Structural Engineering, University of Michigan, 1983 • M.F.A., English, University of California, Irvine, 1972 • B.A., Political Science, Michigan State University, 1968 • Registered Professional Engineer (Texas 063512, inactive) • http://opd.tamu.edu/people Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  5. Open Forum, Q&A Format • Participants are encouraged to ask questions continuously; • Participant questions will help direct, guide, and focus the discussion on proposal topics. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  6. Presentation topics • Generic competitive strategies • Identifying funding solicitations • Analyzing the solicitation • Analyzing the funding agency • Understanding the review process • Writing the proposal narrative • Checklist for writing the proposal Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  7. If you don’t write grants, you won’t get any • Target the proposal at the intersection where: • research dollars are available; • your research interests are met; • a competitive proposal can be written within the time available. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  8. OPD-Web Funding Opportunities Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  9. http://www.grants.gov/ Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  10. Receive Grants.gov Funding Email Alerts Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  11. Search & Browse Grant Opportunities • http://www.grants.gov/applicants/search_opportunities.jsp • http://www.grants.gov/search/agency.do Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  12. Search Grants.gov Opportunities Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  13. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  14. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  15. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  16. http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/rfp/ Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  17. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  18. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  19. http://www.neh.gov/news/nehconnect.html Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  20. http://listserv.ed.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=edinfo&D=1&H=0&O=D&T=0 Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  21. http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_list/elists/ Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  22. The Request for Proposals (RFP) – also called the Program Announcement (PA), Request for Applications (RFA), or Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) – is one common starting point of the proposal writing process. Reading the proposal solicitation Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  23. Other starting points to the proposal process include investigator-initiated (unsolicited) proposals, or, common to the defense agencies, white papers and quad charts. Reading the proposal solicitation Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  24. The solicitation represents an invitation by a funding agency for applicants to submit requests for funding in research areas of interest to the agency or foundation. Reading the proposal solicitation Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  25. It is used continuously throughout proposal development and writing as a reference point to ensure that an evolving proposal narrative fully addresses and accurately reflects the goals and objectives of the funding agency, including the review criteria. Program Solicitation Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  26. Program Solicitation The RFP contains most of the essential information the researcher needs to develop and write a competitive proposal that is fully responsive to the agency’s funding objectives and review criteria. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  27. Program Solicitation • The RFP is not a menu or smorgasbord offering the applicant a choice of addressing some topics but not others, depending on interest, or some review criteria but not others. • The RFP is a non-negotiable listing of performance expectations reflecting the stated goals, objectives, and desired outcomes of the agency. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  28. Map your expertise to the RFP • Is it a fit? • Is it really a fit? • No partial fits allowed • No wishful thinking • Close doesn’t count • If you are not a fit—don’t submit Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  29. You and the RFP need to be like… Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  30. The RFP as Treasure Map • Follow directions • Review step by step • Understand it • Understood by all PIs • Keep focused • Don’t wander off path Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  31. No irrational exuberance!! • Understand the RFP for what it is…not what you want it to be… • It is not a speculative investment… • Invest your time, resources, and energy wisely Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  32. Contents of the RFP • Agency research goals, objectives, and performance expectations • Statement and scope of work • Proposal topics to be addressed by the applicant • Deliverables or other outcomes • Review criteria and process Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  33. Contents of the RFP • Research plan • Key personnel, evaluation, & management • Eligibility, due dates, available funding, funding limits, anticipated number of awards, performance period, proposal formatting requirements, budget and other process requirements, and reference documents. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  34. Reviewing the RFP • It is not a document to skim quickly, read lightly, or read only once. • It defines a very detailed set of research expectations the applicant must meet in order to be competitive for funding. • It needs to be read and re-read and fully understood, both in very discrete detail and as an integrated whole. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  35. Reviewing the RFP • The RFP sets the direction and defines the performance parameters of every aspect of proposal development and writing. • Read it word by word; sentence by sentence; paragraph by paragraph; and page by page. • Know it well, both at the macro and micro level Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  36. Reviewing the RFP • Clarify ambiguities; if unresolved-- • Get clarification from a program officer. • Ambiguities needs to be resolved prior to proposal writing so the proposal narrative maps to the guidelines with informed certainty. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  37. A well-written RFP clearly states the funding agency’s research objectives in a concise and comprehensive fashion, and is devoid of wordiness, repetition, and vaguely contradictory re-phasing of program requirements. Reviewing the RFP Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  38. Reviewing the RFP • Not all RFPs are clearly written. • Sometimes the funding agency itself is unclear about specific objectives, particularly in cutting-edge research areas. • Where there is ambiguity, keep asking questions: converge on clarity. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  39. Never be timid about contacting a program officer for clarification • Timidity is never rewarded in the competitive grant process. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  40. Role of the RFP in Proposal Organization • The RFP provides the key instructions for the construction of a competitive proposal. • It defines the expectations of the funding agency and the domain of research performance. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  41. Role of the RFP in Proposal Organization • Use the RFP to develop the structure, order, and detail of the proposal narrative. • Use the RFP as an organizational template during proposal development to help ensure every RFP requirement is addressed fully. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  42. Role of the RFP in Proposal Organization • Copy the requirements in each section of the RFP into the draft text, including the review criteria, as a template for the proposal. • This template provides initial section and subsection headings to guide preliminary responses that mirror the program solicitation requirements. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  43. Reviewers will expect to see the narrative text in the same general order as presented in the RFP, along with the review criteria, since that ordering conforms to instructions given to reviewers by program officers. Role of the RFP in Proposal Organization Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  44. Role of the RFP in Proposal Organization Using the RFP as a template to create a proposal outline makes it easy for reviewers to compare the proposal to the program objectives and review criteria. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  45. Reading Material Referenced in the RFP If the RFP refers to any publications, reports, or workshops, it is important to read those materials, analyze how that work has influenced the agency’s vision of the program, and cite those publications in the proposal in a way that illustrates the topics are acknowledged and understood. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  46. Analyzing the funding agency • Analyzing the mission, strategic plan, investment priorities, and culture of a funding agency provides information key to enhancing proposal competitiveness. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  47. Competitiveness depends on a series of well-informed decision points made throughout the writing of a proposal related to arguing the merit of the research and culminating in a well-integrated document that convinces the reviewers to recommend funding. Analyzing the funding agency Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  48. Analyzing the funding agency • Funding agencies have a clearly defined agenda and mission. • Funded grants are those that best advance the mission of the funding agency. • If a proposal does not meet an agency's mission, it will not be funded. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  49. Analyzing the funding agency • Having a "good idea" by itself is not enough. • Good ideas must be clearly connected and integrated with a specific solicitation. • The funding agency funds research that supports their mission. Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)

  50. Finding information on funded projects • NSF Award Search Site: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/index.jsp • NIH Award Search Site: http://crisp.cit.nih.gov/crisp/crisp_query.generate_screen • Dept. of Ed. Awards Search: http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/grantaward/start.cfm • USDA Awards Search: http://cris.csrees.usda.gov/ • NEH Awards Search: http://www.neh.gov/news/recentawards.html Office of Proposal Development (http://opd.tamu.edu)