Research Proposals Adapted partly from Proposal and Grantwriting Seminar given by Barbara Breier Exec. Director of Development, UT Austin 2001 Texas Women Faculty Forum http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/fwo/breier/index.htm
Funding Sources All Possible Funding Sources GovernmentSources National Foundations Regional Foundations Corporations Donors
Process of researching potential grants: • Cast a wide net and identify all the possible funding sources for your project. Then narrow down to the ones that are your best prospects. • Use the Development Office and Office of Special Projects to assist you. • Review professional publications and Chronicle of Higher Education for notice of similar grants. • Use internet resources. Check out Community of Science.
Cultivate relationship with prospective funding sources. • Call funding source and request any updated information. • Let them know you are interested in submitting a proposal. • Try to schedule a visit. • Regularly visit the prospects. • Use the Development office to identify board contacts.
Preparing The Proposal • Understand the larger implications of the project. • Use the proposal format. • Be as specific about the project as you can. • Describe the specific outcomes you hope to accomplish. • Describe how you will evaluate results/outcomes.
Writing the proposal: Just do it ! • Do as much homework as possible. • gather the pieces (info. from others, past results, budget items, milestones) before starting to write. • Outline your solution. • Discuss with colleagues. • Do the budget first (you’ll probably adjust it). • Be positive and patient with colleagues.
Follow the format in the Request for Proposals (RFP) • Follow requested format EXACTLY. • Observe page limitations and headings requests. • Observe font and spacing requirements. • Put vitas in requested format (request others’ vitas in this format).
Proposal Outline (usual sections and lengths) • Cover letter or Executive Summary (1 page) • Introduction/Statement of Need (2 pages) • Project Description (4 pages)(Objectives, methods, evaluation, future funding) • Budget (1 page) • Appendices: • Vitas • other supplemental material specifically allowed
Cover Letter or Executive Summary • Never more than 2 pages (usually 1 page) • Makes a compelling case for the merit of the project based on need and opportunities. • Provides a brief statement of the institution and how this project relates to strategic plans. • Explains why the funding is required at this time.
Statement of Need • Provide accurate, relevant data that support why this project is important.(Ex: 20% of the incoming freshmen lack the necessary computer skills to perform analytical tasks in Chemistry.) • Provide positive reasons why support would make a difference. • If appropriate, describe how project would benefit other departments, universities, special populations or society in general. • Often part of both Intro. and Summary.
Project Description • Identify specific objectives to be accomplished within a specified time frame. • Describe the implementation process or the methodology for the project. • Identify the key personnel for the project and their relative expertise in the discipline (put C. V.s in appendix). • Outline how the project will be evaluated at various points in the implementation schedule. • Describe how the project will be continued once the grant funds are expended.
Budget and Budget Justification • Outline all of the cost categories associated with the project. • Define the exact cost as available at the time. • Detail how costs are calculated. • Don’t overestimate or inflate budget. • Do not include an administrative overhead unless guidelines specify.
In-kind costs:your organization’s contribution to the project • Calculations: • Facility usage by square foot • Personnel costs by hourly or annual salary prorated • Utilities, telephone, maintenance, at an administrative overhead • Communications costs prorated (copying, fax machines, computers)
Proposal Outline (Valiela) • Title page • Abstract • Introduction • Proposed Research • Literature Cited • Personnel Data • Schedule of Work • Budget and Budget Justification • Institutional Certificates/Current & Pending Research
My last (successful) proposal to NSF: • Cover page • Summary (1 page) • Project Description (15 pages) • including literature cited , description of expertise of participating personnel, and schedule of work • List of References • Personnel CVs • Budget and Budget Justification • Institutional Certificates, Current & Pending Research, Letters of Support
Follow-up to Proposal • Call after a week or so to make sure the proposal arrived. • If you have not heard anything in 30 days, you may call and ask the status of the proposal. • Ask if they need additional information for their review. • Update them on any changes in the project or on funds committed to the project. • If no response after 2 months, send a follow-up letter. Keep this follow-up going every 30 days until you hear from them or for 6 months.
If You Are Funded • Wait for official notification in writing from the president of the board or project director. • Review letter carefully-- it represents a contract between your organization and the granting foundation/ agency/corporation. • If there is a major problem with the project or program that is going to cause a significant delay, you must notify the granting agency. • You want to have a long term relationship with this funding source. • Periodically call them and let them know the progress. Meet all interim report deadlines.
If You Are Not Funded • Write a polite letter saying you regret that they could not support your project and hope to be able to submit another project in the future. • Call and ask them to give you feedback. • Express appreciation for their hard work and interest. • Encourage them to visit your organization when they are in town. • Tell them you will stay in touch -- and do stay in touch.