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Successful Approaches for Obtaining Grant Funding

Successful Approaches for Obtaining Grant Funding

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Successful Approaches for Obtaining Grant Funding

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  1. Successful Approaches for Obtaining Grant Funding Ronald Turco, Purdue University Denice Heller Wardrop, Penn State University (with input from 1000s of reviewers)

  2. Or, what do you get when you cross a Nittany Lion with Purdue Pete? A similar perspective >>>>>We must have grant money

  3. Our background: “ Why do I need grant support? Because I’m only an inch away from teaching high school biology without it!” Denice Heller Wardrop Ronald Turco Denice Heller Wardrop Fixed Term Research Faculty Federal support (alone and with other PIs) currently exceeds $3 M I manage the execution of research and the development of products • Professor / Microbiology • My federal support has exceeded $ 11 M dollars (total) • I have chaired 4 federal review panels and served on ~22 others • I have written at least 140 grant applications

  4. Grants are what we do & will always do (what you need to learn to do) …..If you want to start and then stay in academic research, you have no choice – proposal & grants …..

  5. “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere.” Lee Iacocca Proposal sell your Ideas

  6. “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” John Steinbeck Finding Ideas "The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Thomas A Edison

  7. Your Reality • Grad-School and your Post-Doc are/were hard! • The state is not going to provide support! • Your new school will only provide a little cash • There is less money and more people looking for it. • You can’t really on your major prof—you need to develop your own program • (Your promotion package will look better with grants on your own)

  8. Your Reality continued … • You love research • You need to be good at grants if you want to do your own work build on your own ideas • You will find it difficult to support yourself 100% Proposals/Grants are now your life – your reality (your new job can be all consuming) as Proposals/Grants are your life – period

  9. Motivations: Overarching • Answering a fundamental question • Solving a problem • Transferring knowledge to this and the next generation Practical • Promotion • Prestige • Students • Publications • Admiration • More grants

  10. Funding Opportunities • Signup for e-mail alert services from the appropriate federal programs • Community of • Check out: • Read email from your on-campus office and other places • Sign up for email/RSS/Twitter from sources

  11. Federal, State, Industrial, University, and College sources • Many Programs: • 26 Federal Agencies (e.g., NSF, USDA-NRI, EPA-STAR, DOD, DOE, USGS, DO-Education) providing support • Federal Programs total some $360 Billion Dollars • Grants.Gov indicates there are ~2,000 active calls open.

  12. The NEWS and your odds • NSF Program: • From 43,851 application about 10,380 funded (24%) • Avg amt =$139,522 • USDA AFRI Program: (3% of NSF) • From ~3,000 application less than 14% funded • 10% of Funds went to EPSCOR • 1% went to new investigator (note: less money) 2005 Numbers

  13. More news – • EPA-STAR ~ $66 million dollars annually • Received 3000-3500 grant applications; • 200 new STAR awards, 40 awards jointly with other federal agencies • Awarded 140 new fellowships • All of the federal data: • 2007 Numbers

  14. Which is first? IDEA RFP The Process – The Idea Loop • Do not wait • Develop your ideas and then find the right RFP • Starting out, be flexible • Gather Information • Input: • Attend meetings • Read and review • Talk to others • Serve on Review Panels • Get outside your normal “comfort zone” PRELIMINARY DATA RFP = request for proposal

  15. Preliminary Data The single most important component of any proposal. It will empower your IDEAS It will overcome your “age” Preliminary Data Preliminary Data Don’t squander your startup funds!

  16. The proposals development process should be an intellectual effort on par with writing a paper… • Proposals/Grants are not the endpoint they are your means to the academic endpoint – discovery • Grants will support your work / maybe even a research center – they allow for your papers, students, post-docs, and staff. • The proposal is about the idea(s) • Proposal make your Ideas real!!!

  17. Build a deliberate path? • Success = Preparation + Opportunity • Always be thinking one step ahead • Preparation is not always obvious – collaborators are not always obvious • Never stop learning • Thinking is an “Important” activity (take time to think)

  18. Think big – act locally • Submit for all the local (on campus) programs you can find. • Internal programs allow you to build “preliminary data sets and publications” • Internal programs allow you to add students • Internal programs are “missed” if lacking on your promotion document.

  19. Use your publications • Your publications will help your proposals CITE YOURSELF in the proposal • Your publications will prove your abilities • Quality publications will trump quantity publications • Learn about the “H-index”

  20. Assemble a “mental” research portfolio • Few people can predict the “tree”; at least envision one or two branches, or 5 years out • Gradients and drivers: • Disciplinary • Short vs. long term • Basic to applied questions • Individual and team projects • Scheduling (you need a calendar) • Know the due-dates of major RFPs and funding cycles and embed them in your annual work plan

  21. Time – the most important resource

  22. Time (workflow) is controllable • Things you don’t control seem to take forever!! • Budgeting; Cost Share; Budget Justifications • Approvals (animals, people) • Off campus collaborators • Letters of support • Take control work on them early

  23. Resources for the new Prof (and others) Proposal Planning & Writing: Third Edition (Grantselect) (Paperback) by Lynn E. Miner Lynn E. Miner (Author)

  24. CollaborativeWork many timelines Sharing Ideas {More people but less money}

  25. Collaborators how many? • You need to develop your extramural portfolio • This leads to development of your program (lab group) • Not just money but this is how you want to spend your time (effort) • You need to decide on the “number” of individual projects, and small and large collaborator projects you can “stand”. • Don’t try and lead a large project before you have your program started.

  26. Collaborators • Rare to have a single PI proposal or project • Many questions require a multi-faceted approach. • Congress is pressing agencies for “real” answers. • Many granting agencies are requiring multi-disciplinary teams for a grant application. • USDA, EPA, NSF, NASA, NIH • Develop contacts before the RFP – don’t get used!

  27. Three types of “Collaborative Projects” Linkage by “staple” No integration only a linkage of parts Forced or quick linkage in response to an RFP Often done at the last minute – idea development is poor Often done with “strangers” – limited trust Often done with top down management True multidisciplinary effort Constructed as an outgrowth of a shared idea Long-term interaction that leads to projects Collaborators

  28. Single vs. Multi Investigator Projects • One leader • One agenda • One business office • One department head • One scientific approach • One set of personal obligations • Shared vision (Lead PI) • Multiple agendas • Multiple offices • Many dept heads • Multiple approaches, sampling needs and analysis methods • Many obligations

  29. If you collaborate… • Learn team-building theories and skills (yes, it’s a real thing) • Read a management book or two (this is real, too) • Develop your leadership skills • Good project management takes time

  30. Writing the Proposal Lab Coffee

  31. The Process for any proposal anytime– Read the RFP • Read the guidelines (Read the guidelines) • Adjust your ideas so they fit within program priorities (if you can’t, move on) • consider eligibility • consider relevance, review criteria • Write the proposal for the reviewers and the funding agency not for yourself

  32. Get out the highlighter and mark the key points

  33. The Process – Preplanning • Obtain a successful proposal for the agency from a successful colleague • Review abstracts of recently funded research in the programs of interest • Obtain critical reviews of your idea from colleagues before you submit • If you ask for help, use the help

  34. The Process - staying on top of announcements • Add estimated due dates of programs of interest to your calendar, due-dates should not come as a surprise. • Make a digital file or hardcopy file of RFP’s and keep it in an accessible place in your office or lab.

  35. Stay in front • Get on e-mail lists of opportunities. Each College and Department has a process of informing would-be grant writers. • Let your Advisor know you would like to be involved in grant writing as part of your graduate experience.

  36. The Process - Calling • Formulate your (group) ideas into a briefing document (abstract) • Email the program manager and ask for a time to call (be polite) • Call (on time) and discuss your idea • Listen for the subtle responses and make suggested conceptual changes • The program manager is a key part in the process (especially with NSF)

  37. The Process - Timing • It takes significant time to prepare a strong proposal (there is NO substitute) • Plan for: • Writing / Talking • Planning and clearing collaborations • Talking / Writing • Budget and approval and rebudget • Grant processing (often a week) • Allow time for a colleague to read it • A poorly prepared proposal can leave an unwanted legacy (especially with NSF) • If you are writing an interdisciplinary one, use time3 rule

  38. The Process - Writing What do you plan to do ? Objectives Why do you want to do it? Rationale How are you going to do it? Experimental design When are you going to do each step? Priorities and time line What are the outcomes? Data analyses and interpretation What if “it doesn’t work?” Pitfalls and alternative (we estimate 20% of the proposals we review lack this)

  39. The Process - Writing • A Well Written Proposal Convinces Reviewers the Proposal Merits Funding • Clarity, Clarity, Clarity • Clear hypotheses or research questions • Clear Objectives • Clear Outcomes • USE your Preliminary Data; Use your publications • Clear Outreach Plan • No stupid mistakes: Proofread, Proofread, Proofread! (form is not the same as from)

  40. The Rule of Threes • 30 second message (the hook) • 3 minute message (the abstract) • 30 minute message (the proposal) • Time spent is inversely proportional to length of message • If the 30 second message isn’t great, you’ll never get to tell the 30 minute one

  41. The proposal – some key points • Diagrams are better than words • Procedures are boring use a flow chart • Sampling plans are also good as diagrams • Photos can help explain findings • Be careful with gel diagrams • Be carful with modeling • Caption information should be correct

  42. The Process - Writing for Reviewers • Assume they will be reading it at 11 pm • Tell them what they want to know • Style matters, too; pay attention to white space, readability, figures

  43. Ideas and the Reviewer • Novel and Innovative is best • Grounded in the literature (run a good literature search, not everything is in “your” standard journals) • Preliminary data (startup money?) • Feasible for you and your Co-PIs • Prove it with your CV(s) • Feasible at your University • Facilities section • Within the scope of the RFP

  44. What might a reviewer be thinking? • Are there dependent aims? • Is the experimental design consistent with aims? • How are aims coordinated? • Are experiments planned to obtain independent data (more than one way to answer the question?) • What are pitfalls? Plan B?

  45. Proposals writing as a lifestyle • Setup a filing system for proposals • Organize a hard drive location • Backup location for copies • Keep all proposals (reuse what you can) • Setup referencing system for literature • Setup your CV (keep it current) • Each agency is different • CV should indicate training, background, experience, and expertise • Setup your Conflict of Interest forms • Setup your current and pending forms • Update!! • Read the review comments