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SHOW ME THE FUNDING! Tips on how to secure grant funds (pgs. 6-10)  



ISSUE 02 • JANUARY 2018 •


Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday break!

Ashley J. Alexander, PhD Director, OSP

I am optimistic that 2018 will certainly be as busy – if not busier – than 2017 as new opportunities for collaboration await and relationships with sponsors are strengthened. I am also excited about changes we are making within the Office of Sponsored Programs to be of better service. Having information readily available and accessible to internal and external stakeholders is paramount. We are truly excited about the challenges ahead working with such an engaged and dedicated community of researchers to make a profound impact at AU, the DC region, the country, and the world.

On behalf of the Office of Sponsored Programs, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your interest and support. I wish you all best wishes for a healthy and happy 2018. We would like to include more articles/ tips from our Investigators. If you have suggestions for content, please let us know.



















AU Faculty & Students: Are you interested in exploring the possible commercial applications of an idea, concept or technology that you have developed? American University is the 2nd liberal arts college to be awarded an NSI I-Corps site. What is the NSI I-Corps site? The AU I-CORPS Site is an NSF (National Science Foundation) sponsored program designed to foster science and technology entrepreneurship and support commercial development of innovations created at AU.

Participants in the AU I-CORPS site will also develop models, designs and prototypes within the STEAMworks makerspace. This collaborative lab features Auto-Cad design software, 3-D printing, laser cutting and electronics. Participants will gain critical technical training while developing their ventures.

Applications are now being accepted from students (both undergraduate and graduate) and faculty members who would like to explore the possible commercial applications of an idea, concept or technology that they have developed. The program provides $2,250 of funding for customer discovery and STEAMworks prototype development. Students participating in the semester-long program can also receive up to 3 course credits.


Students will learn early stage product and business development based upon an approach known as the Lean Start-Up Model. This approach to entrepreneurship and innovation involves the creation of a business model based on the concept of “customer discovery�, to test whether a venture concept has merit. The customer discovery approach can identify potentially novel commercial applications for an idea or technology based on customer feedback.

ARE YOU INTERESTED? Concepts: Technology concepts can originate from faculty research labs, internship experiences, capstone courses, or other science-based practical courses. Concepts should be original and in an area(s) of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) normally supported by the National Science Foundation.

Entrepreneurial Leads: 2-3 students with a passion & commitment to pursing innovation as it relates to design and commercialization. Students may be undergraduates with junior/ senior standing or graduate students. At least one of the students should be a STEM or STEAM major with technical or scientific training. Technical Lead: Teams should secure scientific advising from a member of the AU science faculty. The faculty advisor should have some professional, research or technical background in the concept to be explored.

Rubena Sukaj is a doctoral student in the American University Economics Department. Her research focuses on developing economies, classified in her study as lowand middle-income countries, and on evaluating how external debt and growth dynamics of countries in this income group operate and were affected by the recent financial crisis. She evaluates how interest rates, economic growth and exchange rate movements affect countries' debt dynamics. The role played by these instruments can be important when making management and policy decisions, evaluating the financial soundness and future sustainability of government borrowing and possible future financing needs of developing economies.

Rubena states that in most cases, economic shocks are not identical in nature, and cause fluctuations in actual disbursements by accelerating the disbursement schedule of already committed loans. She specifically uses this disbursement data which is based on the original terms of each loan in the World Bank External Debt (WBXD) system and covers the 1970-2016 period.

Rubena currently works as a Statistical Analyst at the World Bank. She completed her master's (Economics, CAS) and bachelor's (International Finance, KOGOD) degrees at AU and she played volleyball during her four years of undergrad in which she won several awards! Helpful Resources for Graduate Students Looking for Funding Below are resources from GrantSpace that may help your funding search.

Free Webinars/Podcasts: How to Find and Win Scholarships & Fellowships webinars/how-to-find-and-win-scholarshipsand-fellowships-2012-06-06 Finding Foundation Support for Your Education webinars/finding-foundation-support-for-youreducation Meet the Scholarship Funders: Financing Your Education podcasts/program-audio-ny-scholarshipfunders-2010-05-12

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRESENTATION On Monday, November 13, Melissa Grannetino, Engagement Specialist for the Foundation Center, gave an overview on how to use Foundation Center resources. Foundation Center maintains a comprehensive database on U.S. and, global grantmakers and their grants. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy. Ms. Grannetino gave an informative presentation on the center’s resources and provided training on Foundation Directory Online. FDO is a prospect management tool and database that contains information on more than 140,000 grantmakers so you can identify your best potential funding sources. If you are unsure where to start looking for funding, OSP recommends that you start with FDO. When you enter your subject area in the search field, a full range of data on grantmakers, grants, recipients, and 990s appear on the results page. This allows you to compare grantmakers, grants and recipients so you can build an accurate prospect list and speed-up your funding search.

 GrantSpace, a service of the

Foundation Center, is a website that offers information and resources that are designed to assist grantseekers.  On GrantSpace under tools,

you can view sample cover letters, letters of intent (ROI), and proposals that have been funded.  Visit the Foundation Center in

DC! The center has a wealth of knowledge-building tools which are all available to you at no charge when you visit during hours of operation—Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Foundation Center offers free

and low-cost training sessions.

OSP offers training sessions on how to use these platforms on the first Wednesday of the month at 11 am in Spring Valley 318 or by request. Please contact Jennifer Maher at for more information.

NEED HELP WITH GRANT WRITING? The Office of the Provost provides ongoing access to grant-writing support consultants for all tenured, tenure-earning and term faculty members who are writing applications for external funding for sponsored projects. We encourage faculty members to use these contracted consulting services which include: (a) grant-writing training sessions and one-on-one consultations in person or remotely by Dr. Ralph Pollack for most federal applications and (b) application consultation and editing services by Ms. Louise Wides for most non-federal funding opportunities. To schedule an appointment









MEET THE CONSULTANTS Ralph Pollack - Associate Vice President for Research, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Dr. Pollack was a faculty member in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department at UMBC from 1970 – 2007 and has been Associate Vice President for Research at UMBC since 2007. As a faculty member, Dr. Pollack obtained over $5 million in funding for research, teaching, graduate student training, symposia, major equipment and travel from state, national, international and private agencies, such as the NIH, the NSF, the US Department of Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the American Cancer Society, NATO, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has reviewed proposals for the NIH, NSF, NATO, Petroleum Research Fund, AAAS, and other organizations. Dr. Pollack has over 7 years of experience in reviewing and editing proposals for faculty members, and he has worked with several faculty members of American University on the development of funded proposals. Louise Wides - President, Wides and Associates, Inc. Ms. Wides was Assistant Staff Director for Information Services at the Federal Election Commission between 1985 and 2001. Since then, she has been president of Wides & Associates, Inc. Her career has focused on helping experts in a variety of fields make their good writing even better and more successful. She has developed, written, and edited award-winning publications, working with specialists in the fields of federal election law, air traffic control, and medical research. She has trained government lawyers and auditors to write in plain language, and she has written and edited contract and grant proposals, educational materials, strategic plans, white papers, and annual reports. Ms. Wides is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


is harder to get a grant than to get into college. Nationwide, less than 20% of grant applications are funded.* So, who gets the grants? Seasoned professors with a history of getting funded seem to have little trouble. Everyone else struggles, hoping they’ll be lucky at the roulette table. YES, you can beat the odds! Here are a few guidelines, stipulated by the foundations and government agencies themselves, that will significantly enhance your chances of securing funding. •

Apply only to entities whose mission and focus are compatible with the purpose of your project.

Be familiar with the funder’s mission, actual funding patterns, and this year’s areas of interest.

Start working on the application two months before it is due, giving yourself time to perfect all the required elements, to seek review by others, and to secure full attention from OSP.


Follows the funder’s specifications on length, font size, and spacing;

Organizes the material around the funder’s explicit application requirements (virtually every funder prescribes its own unique requirements);

Uses headings and subheadings;

Avoids excessive jargon and “terms of art” familiar primarily to you and your colleagues alone;

States, on page 1, what you propose to do; and

Uses language that is clear and free of mechanical errors.

Written by: Louise Wides, Editorial Consultant and Editor

*Competition for funding is ruthless, and the stakes are particularly high at the NIH — the largest single source of funding for biomedical research in the world. The agency’s research-project grants — R01s and other, similar grants — are the main mechanism for funding investigator-initiated biomedical research in the United States….The 5-year average success rate is 18% of the applicant pool — a historic low that shows little sign of moving….2017.

Websites A service of the Foundation Center, offers extensive tools and resources for the grant seeker. GrantProposal.Info: Offers a wealth of information on finding funding, proposal writing, and much more! Contains several blogs, that can help you learn about the federal grant lifecycle, read about federal agencies, and search for grants. Offers a free online Grant Readiness Assessment tool, provides a weekly listing of funding opportunities, and free webinars.

Available FREE Webinars/Chats on GrantSapce Click on the links below to view. •

Introduction to Finding Grants

Introduction to Proposal Writing

Introduction to Project Budgets

Grantseeking for Basics for Individuals in the Arts

Shaking the Money Tree for Film and Video Funding

Red Flags When Reviewing Proposals

Articles •

Why Academics Have a Hard Time Writing Good Grant Proposals

10 Common Grant-Writing Mistakes

Crafting a Sales Pitch for Your Grant Proposal

Talking to NIH Staff About Your Application and Grant: Who, What, When, Why and How

What to Say—and Not Say—to Program Officers

Recommended Books •

Foundation Centers Guide to proposal Writing, 6th Edition

Proposal Planning & Writing, 5th Edition

Grant Writing: Practical Strategies for Scholars and Professionals

Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals

We would love to highlight your research!! Send us your research stories or let us know if you would like to be interviewed for the next edition of Research Forward. Send an email to

February 6: Introduction to Finding Grants (sponsored by Foundation Center) Time: 7pm –8:30 pm Location: Alexandria Library-Barrett Branch (717 Queen Street Alexandria, VA 22314)

February 7: Finding Funding with Pivot & Foundation Directory Time: 11 am Location: Spring Valley Building RM 318 Register: HERE

February 8: Introduction to Proposal Writing Time: 11:00 am—12:30 pm Location: Foundation Center 1627 K Street, NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20006

February 8: Introduction to Project Budgets Time: 1 pm-2:30 pm Location: Foundation Center 1627 K Street, NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20006

February 15: Grant Administrator Roundtable (GAR) Time: 10 am—11:30 Location: Butler Board Room

February 15: WEBINAR Funding Arts Programs– How to Articulate your Impact (sponsored by Foundation Center) Time: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Cost: Early Bird: $49 Regular: $69

February 21: RAC Session 6: Financial Management II (Post-Award Procedures) Time: 10:00 am- 12:00 pm Location: Hughes Formal Lounge Register: HERE

February 23: Introduction to Finding Grants Time: 9:30 am-11:30 am Location: Foundation Center 1627 K Street, NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20006

March 7: Finding Funding with Pivot & Foundation Directory

March 14: RAC Session7: Systems Overview

Time: 11 am Location: Spring Valley Building RM 318 Register:

Time: 10 am-12 pm Location: MGC 200 Register: HERE

FOUNDATION CENTER PROPOSAL WRITING BOOT CAMP 2.0 Wednesday, March 28, 2018 9:00 am - Mar 30, 2018 4:00 pm Foundation Center - Washington, DC1627 K Street, NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC 20006 Register before 3/14/2018 to receive the Early-Bird Special Discount of $695! On 3/15/2018 the rate will increase to $895 This three-day project-based immersion course focuses on the essential knowledge and skills fundraisers need to develop effective foundation proposals. Participants will become familiar with the key components of a competitive grant proposal to a foundation and learn best practices for developing a well-organized budget and a targeted list of foundation funding prospects. Participants will be encouraged to approach their proposal from the funder’s perspective and to think critically about what makes a compelling pitch. To accommodate diversity in learning styles, the three days is grounded in project-based learning and includes a variety of individual writing time, small group discussions and activities, peer and large group lecture.


CURATED FUNDING LISTS Please note that these offerings are a sampling of what is available via our search funding tools and serve as examples for you to consider. If you have not attended a “Finding Funding with Pivot and Foundation Directory� training session, we encourage you to do so. Performing an individualized search, tailored to your unit or specific research interests will provide the most exhaustive means of locating resources.

Curated Lists by Discipline: Please click on the discipline to view a sampling of funding opportunities. You must be signed-in to Pivot to view the opportunities. Arts & Humanities Business Communications Education Environment Health International Affairs Law Library Science

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

Research Forward- January 2018  

A publication of the Office of Sponsored Programs, American University.

Research Forward- January 2018  

A publication of the Office of Sponsored Programs, American University.