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Grant Proposal Writing For Graduate Students Clemson University

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  1. Grant Proposal Writing • For • Graduate Students Clemson University March 14, 2011 &  March 17, 2011

  2. Agenda • Gerald Sonnenfeld, Vice President for Research – Introduction to Grant Writing for Graduates • Karen Burg, Endowed Chair – Grant Writing: Transitioning from Graduate to Faculty • Karen Pless, Training & Registration Manager – Writing a Successful Proposal • Kristin LaRoche, Grants Administrator – Developing a Proposal Budget • Tracy Arwood, Director of Research Compliance – Compliance in Proposal Development

  3. Introduction to Grant Writing for Graduates - Gerald Sonnenfeld, Ph.D. Vice President for Research

  4. Introduction to Grant Writing for Graduates • Principles of Applying for Grants • The Need for a Hypothesis

  5. Graduate Student Grant-Writing Seminar Karen Burg, Ph.D. Hunter Endowed Chair & Professor of Bioengineering Interim Vice Provost for Research & Innovation March, 2011

  6. B.S., Chemical Engineering (BioChE minor) NC State University, 1990 M.S., Bioengineering Clemson University, 1992 Ph.D., Bioengineering (ExSt minor) Clemson University, 1996 Postdoctorate, Tissue Engineering Carolinas Medical Center, 1999 Background

  7. Employment and Proposal Writing • Research Assistant, Clemson University • Research Associate, Poly-Med, Inc. • Postdoc Fellow, Carolinas Medical Center • Equipment, conference, research, travel, small business partnership proposals • Faculty Member, Clemson University • Research, equipment, small business partnership proposals

  8. Proposals are like logic puzzles….My job, as the principal investigator (PI), is to determine how to convince a group with diverse opinions that our proposal is valuable and exciting…..and worth funding! KJL Burg, Graduate Student Grant-Writing Seminar

  9. Shift application emphasis with career progression (higher probability, lower return, lower management to lower probability, higher return, higher management)… My Funding Attempts Equipment grants, travel fellowships, meeting grants Single investigator research grants Multi-investigator research/education programs Multi-investigator infrastructure grants Multi-institutional research programs

  10. A Winning Proposal Should… • Contain good grammar, be spelling error free • Include a succinct, easily/quickly understood summary or abstract • Adhere to guidelines • Spell out objective immediately • Define how idea is unique • Contain evidence of expertise and ability • Serve as a road map, following a logical path KJL Burg, Graduate Student Grant-Writing Seminar

  11. Preparing for Proposal Writing • Check funding rates • Identify several mentors, including different perspectives • Learn from successful and unsuccessful proposals by other PIs • Learn from and adapt to reviewer criticism

  12. Everything is an opportunity Cultivate contacts (invited seminar speakers, speakers at conferences, etc.) Prepare for conference talks Be proactive and involved Persistence pays Realize that luck involves clever preparation and positioning! Preparing for Proposal Writing

  13. Identifying Broader Impact • Define broader impact or….SO WHAT?? • Determine community engagement or impact • How will your work affect society? • How will you translate your work? • Consider what makes sense for you • Focus on quality rather than quantity • Develop connections to research

  14. Starting Points for You • First communicate with your advisor! • Look for graduate student fellowships • Look for conference travel grant opportunities • Ask your advisor if you can help with one of their proposals

  15. AGAIN, communicate with advisor, ASK if unclear points Pay attention to directions and detail Be humble, not argumentative Regard criticism as constructive, not personal Solicit outside review by faculty mentors, friends, spouse, relatives The Writing Process

  16. Lessons Learned • AGAIN, everything is an opportunity • Faculty members may be your future: • Letter of reference writers • Collaborators • Fellow graduate students may be your future: • Letter of reference writers • Collaborators • Funders

  17. Give referees your resume, specified information about opportunity, specific contact information for letter Offer to draft a letter Ask referees to tell you once their letter is submitted Faculty members are busy – be politely pesky, send reminder emails Reference Letters

  18. Web Faculty mentors, advisors, and members Fellow graduate students Conference presentations Professional organizations Sources of Information

  19. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” (Milton Berle) KJL Burg, Graduate Student Grant-Writing Seminar

  20. Writing a Successful Proposal - Karen Pless Training & Registration Office of Sponsored Programs

  21. Set Goals • Set a Goal, Develop a Plan • Life Purpose • 25, 10, 5-year • Short range • What funds do you need to meet short range goals, and ultimately meet the long range goals • Ideas for research hypothesis, service project or instruction • Organizational tip – enter ideas on note section of your cell phone, iPhone, iPad, etc. • Refine hypothesis, service project or instruction goal(s) • Begin developing objectives to meet the goal(s)

  22. Getting Ready… • Preparation for Developing Proposal Plan(s) • Find a mentor • Faculty advisor or other faculty member • Find local reviewers • Friend, family or faculty that will give honest critique • Make friends with your College Grant Coordinator/Administrator • Life-line to successful, timely submission • Provide budget development assistance • Compare your documents to university, sponsor and federal requirements

  23. Getting Set… • Refine hypothesis, service project or instruction goal(s) • Begin developing objectives to meet the goal(s) • Determine qualifications to be a Principal Investigator (PI) at Clemson University – see policy at http://media.clemson.edu/research/sponsored-programs/policies/pi-policy.pdf • Take Office of Sponsored Programs’ PI Certification http://www.clemson.edu/research/sponsored/picertification.html

  24. Getting Set (cont’d)… • Finding Funding Opportunities & Collaborators • InfoEd– ~40,000 federal, state, international government, and foundation & corporate funding opportunities • InfoEd SPIN searches – faculty, staff, students • InfoEd SMARTS e-alerts for Clemson employees • Collaborator searches – Clemson & over 500 institutions worldwide • Training available through Office of Sponsored Programs; upcoming dates on handout & at end of presentation • Foundation Center searches – foundations & corporations • College Development Officers point you to contact for foundation searches & proposal assistance

  25. Go… • Funding Opportunity Found –Now What? • Contact department or College Grants Coordinator • Get on their schedule for assistance & submission • Foundation or Corporate funder? • Contact Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations (OCFR) through the Grants Coordinator • OCFR will qualify & target your needs to organization objectives, make initial contact & introduction, assist with proposal development or guidance and review

  26. Keep Going… • Read thoroughly the call for proposals (RFP, RFA, RFQ, BAA, PA,…); sponsor policies & procedure; program guide; proposal submission guidelines, electronic submission guide… • Grants Coordinator knowledgeable about many agencies & can provide standard guidelines • Electronic Submission required? • Contact Grants Coordinator immediately to determine Clemson’s e-registration status & requirements for PI • For NSF or NIH, complete form at http://workgroups.clemson.edu/RES_5701_LIMITED_SUBMISSIONS/eregusernameor contact kpless@clemson.edu

  27. Keep Going (cont’d)… • Institutional Limit, i.e., sponsor only accepts a limited number per institution – see http://workgroups.clemson.edu/RES_5701_LIMITED_SUBMISSIONS/ or contact kpless@clemson.edu • Develop a Timeline • Begin timeline with sponsor due date(s) and work backwards • Coordinate with all proposal contributors – subawardees, collaborators, Grant Coordinators • Allow adequate time for writing, reviewing, editing, submission

  28. Start Writing…Basic Components • Letter of Intent (LOI), White Paper or Concept Paper, or Pre-proposal may be required, optional, or not needed • Begin writing the proposal… • Basic components of a proposal • Cover Letter (if applicable) • Title Page • Proposal title should be succinct, to the point, get reader’s attention quickly, and reflect basic purpose of project • If available, follow sponsor format, or use example on Sponsored Programs’ web site

  29. Basic Components (cont’d) • Table of Contents (if more than 10 pages or if required) • Abstract/Summary (write last, include at beginning) • Be brief – 100-500 words depending on sponsor requirements • Give overview of project, including need, objectives, planned activities, expected outcomes, plans for disseminating findings • Avoid jargon, write for anyone in any field to understand • Abstracts, particularly federal, become public statements

  30. Basic Components (cont’d) • Introduction • Not always required, good to include • Explain who you are, what you’ll do • Provide your qualifications as PI • Provide organizational qualifications • Clemson University • Your department • Clemson financial capabilities • Available resources – facilities, equipment, etc.

  31. Basic Components (cont’d) • Statement of Problem or Needs / Significance • Be specific • Why is project needed • What will be the significant contribution to this field • What is new about this project compared to others • How does this project build on previous works • Include survey & statistical information • Literature review (unless required separately) • Describe relevant work; if research demonstrate familiarity with related research & how this project relates; training or service projects should include statistical & demographic data

  32. Basic Components (cont’d) • Goals or Purpose, Objectives, Project Description • Project goal • Goal – general statements about the expected project outcomes • Project objectives • Measureable • Time limited • Realistic • Relevant • Relate to problem statement

  33. Basic Components (cont’d) • Approach / Procedures / Methodology • Describe planned project in detail, chronologically • Should be derived logically from stated problem/need • Relate to each objective • Examples – experiment design, study population characteristics, data to be generated, statistical techniques to be used, services to be provided, training to be accomplished • Include timeline – make it reasonable

  34. Basic Components (cont’d) • Personnel – PI and key personnel • May be required here as separate description of team • Include time percentage, qualifications, duties • PI – include background & qualifications • Identify relations of each to project • Consultants – explain need, credentials, qualifications • Facilities, Equipment and Resources • May be required here as separate description • Describe existing facilities, equipment and resources to be used as well as any being requested

  35. Basic Components (cont’d) • Evaluation • Describe plan to evaluate results to determine if successful • Dissemination • When, how, where and to whom will findings / results be disseminated – project reports, journals, workshops, presentations, web sites, manual, handbook, etc. • Sustainability / Continuation Plan • Training and service projects should provide explanation of how the project will continue, how it will be sustained, after the sponsor funding is gone, i.e., fundraising, fees, other grants, university funding, etc.

  36. Basic Components (cont’d) • Budget & Budget Justification • If forms provided by sponsor, enter budget in their format; otherwise provide detailed budget and explain why each person / item is required on this project • Kristin will explain how to develop a budget in more detail this afternoon • References / Literature Review • Current & pending support • May require here or in appendix • Sometimes also require list of all past funded projects, or past relevant funded projects

  37. Basic Components (cont’d) • Vita or biosketch for PI, co-investigators, key personnel • Number pages may be limited by sponsor • If format provided, follow their guide • Appendices • Letters of support/endorsement (verify if sponsor accepts these) • Others as required by sponsor • Do not circumvent required page limit by including information here • Do not include information not requested

  38. Issues to Consider • Intellectual Property (IP) concerns • Public disclosure includes: • Journal articles, presentation at public meetings, thesis or dissertation defense, poster hanging in public area, awarded research grant or contract, public use or offer to sell in the U.S. • Impact of public disclosure • Absolute bar to foreign patent rights • Can retain U.S. IP rights only if patent application filed within one year

  39. Issues to Consider (cont’d) • Intellectual Property (IP) concerns (cont’d) • Third party IP issues • Creators may not have rights to use third party IP even for research without permission from place employed when developed • Creators should contact Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) before initiating research using IP conceived or reduced to practice at another institution or company • Additional information and contact: • www.clemson.edu/research/technology/policies • Phone: 864-656-4237

  40. Finishing Up • Provide budget & budget justification to Grants Coordinator as early as possible • Let it sit a day, re-read • Let family, friend, faculty advisor, and/or mentor read • Check one more time against the guidelines • Make changes as needed • Complete Clemson’s internal Proposal Processing Form (PPF) • Includes review and signatures by department head, Dean, Grants Coordinator, Office of Sponsored Programs • Ask for Grants Coordinator assistance

  41. Why Should A Sponsor Fund Your Project • Research the sponsor • Current funding priorities • Is your project within their priorities? • Current & past funded projects • Has a project similar to yours been funded by this sponsor? • How is your project different?

  42. Why Should A Sponsor Fund Your Project (cont’d) • Budget requests must: • Be within sponsor’s funding limits • Be adequate to fund your project • Not be “padded” with additional costs outside the scope of your project • Sponsors don’t fund people, they fund projects • What is the goal of your project that will make your community or world a better place? This is what they fund.

  43. Three Most Important Things • Plan, then work your plan • Do your homework • Research your area of interest • Find potential sponsor and research their priorities & funded projects • Develop relationships • Mentors • Program Officers • Grants Coordinators • Readers

  44. Developing a Proposal Budget - Kristin LaRoche Grants Administrator Office of Sponsored Programs

  45. Proposal Budget Characteristics • Represents to the sponsor the cost of running your project. • Budget narrative is the written description of your budgeted costs. • Includes both requested and cost shared line items. • Level of detail varies by sponsor but most request a line-item budget. • Each expenditure is itemized under its appropriate category. • Provide detailed formulas and documentation for your budgeted items. • Example: Include the name of the consultant you will be using; include the name of the piece of equipment you will be purchasing.

  46. Elements of a Proposal Budget • Direct Costs • Facilities and Administration Costs • Cost Shared or Matching Items

  47. Direct Costs • Three questions to ask yourself when determining a direct cost: • Is it allowable? • Is it allocable? • Is it reasonable and necessary? • A cost normally charged as a Facilities and Administration cost cannot be considered a direct cost. • Be specific – never use the word miscellaneous when describing your direct costs.

  48. Direct Costs – Salaries and Wages • Calculations are based on an actual salary of project personnel. • Reported as a percentage of effort and not an hourly rate. • Fringe Benefit costs must be included if salaries and wages are budgeted.

  49. Direct Costs – Fringe Benefits • Taxes and other benefits (ex. medical insurance) that the employer must pay for an employee. • Clemson University’s fringe benefit rates are federally negotiated and updated annually. • Rates are available through the Comptroller’s Office: http://www.clemson.edu/cfo/comptroller/rates/index.html • Ask your College Grant Coordinator for assistance. • A reasonable increase of 3% is permissible per budgeted year. • Increase takes into account the future negotiated rates. • At the time of the expenditure, the actual fringe rate will be charged regardless of the rate included in the budget.

  50. Direct Costs – Travel • Mileage • Airfare • Ground Transportation • Conference Registration and Fees • Lodging • Per diem • Rates are available through the Office of the Chief Financial Officer: http://www.clemson.edu/cfo/procurement/travel/employeeguidelines.html • Ask your College Grant Coordinator for assistance. • Foreign travel must be approved by the Sponsored Programs Accounting and Administration (SPAA) prior to travel but not prior to budget development. • Should be noted in the proposal budget if anticipated. • SPAA will not approve foreign travel if it is not in the proposal budget.