Issuu on Google+

10/17/2012

Grantsmanship Essentials Developing a Competitive Proposal

Susan Lewis Office of Proposal Development

A Good Proposal A good proposal is a good idea, well expressed, d with ith a clear l iindication di ti off th the methods for pursuing the idea, evaluating the findings, making them known to all who need to know, and indicating the broader impacts of the activity. - National Science Foundation

1


10/17/2012

Essential Elements of Solid Grantsmanship Find the right funding agency and opportunity

Contact Program Officers

Follow directions

Understand the review process

Present realistic goals

Describe expected outcomes thoroughly

Think through potential pitfalls

Develop a realistic and reasonable budget

Use supporting documents appropriately

Assess your qualifications accurately

Write with clarity and with sufficient detail

Solicit an honest critique (or three)

Most Important Step: Read the Directions. Read them again. Re-read them. Ask a colleague to read them. (Then follow them!)

2


10/17/2012

Following Directions • Read the Funding Opportunity A Announcement t (FOA) lik like a llawyer. • Give the agency exactly what it asks for, in the order it specifies. • Do not deviate from the forms suggested. • Follow Follo all links to supplementar supplementary instructions. What do I do if the instructions are not clear?

How to Read an FOA 1. Initial Questions: Deadlines; letters of intent; eligibility; limited submissions. 2. Program Description: Agency’s objectives; agency’s vision; help documents. 3. Document Specification: Page limits; fonts & margins; headers & footers; submission method. 4 Budget: 4. B dget Budget B dget caps caps; n number mber of a awards ards expected; cost-sharing; time commitment; format; specific costs required; indirect costs; constraints on allocation of funds; sub-awards; budget justification.

3


10/17/2012

How to Read an FOA 5. Narrative Structure: Required sections; required or suggested subheadings; organization; language th t reflects that fl t th the agency mission i i and d FOA FOA. 6. Review Criteria: Identify the criteria reviewers will use to evaluate your proposal. 7. Special Sections Required: Identify all required sections aside from the main narrative; required letters of support or collaboration; appendix materials. materials 8. Further Questions: Find out who in your institution is responsible for grants management; learn which colleagues have successfully applied for grants and use them as resources; contact program officers at agencies.

Grant Description Matriculated graduate students at any of Tufts University’s graduate programs and professional schools are eligible to apply for TIE fellowships to conduct interdisciplinary environmental research projects. The work completed as a TIE fellow must be part of an independent research project and not otherwise possible without TIE funding. Preference will be given to proposals likely to result in a publication or presentation at the p p professional level. Applicants must identify a faculty member who will serve as a mentor to the student for the duration of the project. This faculty member must provide a letter of support for the student’s project, to be included in the student’s proposal. However this fellowship is NOT i d d k f l b ’

4


10/17/2012

Evaluation Criteria • The research project is interdisciplinary. • The problem or issue addressed is significant and timely. • The Th approach h that h the h student d plans l to explore l or develop is appropriate to the problem. • Applicants are highly encouraged to identify more than one faculty mentor from different departments to highlight the interdisciplinarity of the research project. • The project relates directly to TIE’s TIE s mission. mission • The student has relevant and exemplary qualifications. • The budget meets TIE guidelines on expenditures (see “Funding Restrictions,” below). • The proposal is well-written and referenced, and conforms to the format requested.

Looking Beyond the RFP: Common Characteristics of u d g Agencies ge c es Funding • • • •

They have a mission. They have a granting mechanism. Theyy have some form of review. They have limited funds.

5


10/17/2012

Aligning Your Project with the Agency’s Mission • Your ideas should fit within the mission and culture of the funding agency. • Your project should help the agency fulfill its mission (or mandate). • Your ideas should be clearlyy and obviouslyy related to the agency’s mission.

Aligning Your Project with the Mission Statement • Step 1: Read the mission statement carefully. carefully • Step 2: Read the funding agency’s website beyond the mission statement. • Step 3: Find out what the agency, or – in the case of particular RFAs – the program h ffunded has d db before. f • Step 4: Call your program officer! (And follow their advice)

6


10/17/2012

From TIE Fellowship RFP 2012: TIE is devoted to advancing g and disseminating knowledge about the many ways human interactions affect the environment. TIE focuses on environmental research, technology, policy development and education, education recognizing the interdependence of human welfare, animal health, and ecological integrity.

Our Mission The Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) is an interdisciplinary universitywide institute that initiates, facilitates, and promotes environmental education, research, and outreach toward a sustainable future.

7


10/17/2012

Be Aware of Your Reviewers Why are reviewers reading your grantt application? li ti ?

Because they have to! So…. • Don’t bore them. • Do make it easy for them. – Provide all the information they need to understand what you propose and why it is important. – Make it easy to look at and read.

8


10/17/2012

Be Kind to Your Reviewers

Be Kind to Your Reviewers

9


10/17/2012

The joys of formatting • WHITE SPACE and selective use of font formatting for emphasis. • Formatting may seem unimportant in the context of your exciting research idea, but it can make a huge difference to your overworked reviewers!

The joys of formatting • WHITE SPACE and selective use of font formatting for emphasis. • Formatting may seem like an unimportant detail in the context of your exciting and important research idea, but it can make a huge difference to your overworked reviewers!

10


10/17/2012

Include Sufficient Detail • Don’t be vague. • Do NOT assume your reader shares your background. • Do not omit necessary detail. • Justify, y jjustify, y jjustify. y

How are they going to accomplish that? Why are they measuring that? Why do they need so many consultants?

Organization • Before you write, understand your goals and be able to state them clearly.

“If any man wish to write in a clear style, style let him be first clear in his thoughts…” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

11


10/17/2012

Organization • Before you write, understand your goals and be able to state them clearly. • Write so that someone outside your field can understand your project.

“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, words or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words, or he will certainly misunderstand them.” - John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

Developing a compelling idea • Define the problem or need you will address • Collect and analyze background information • Generate a preliminary idea – Will it make a significant contribution?

• Assess potential for success/ modify – Assess your ability and your competition

• Seek input p from colleagues g • Refine -adapted from: Successful Proposals to Any Agency, Russell and Morrison, Grant Writer’s Seminars and Workshops

12


10/17/2012

Presenting Realistic Goals

Specific Aims or Goals Section • This section is your best opportunity to convey your enthusiasm th i tto all ll reviewers. i • You have to do it in writing. • The writing style is fundamentally different from other scholarly activities: you must tell reviewers a compelling story. story • You have to be clear, because you are not there to answer questions.

13


10/17/2012

Crafting Your Goals • Aims succinctly describe what yyou are g going g to do. • Aims for training grants integrate education and research goals. • Establish realistic goals, before you begin to write. -“well suited to the stage off career d development” l t” • If you have clearly written, measurable goals, the rest of the proposal will be easy.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Ti Timely l

Writing Your Specific Goals 1. Open with a big-picture statement that frames your project: What overall issue will your project address? 2. Specify the problem: What problem will your project seek to solve? 3. Describe briefly your long-term objective: What will you do that will help to solve the overall problem? 4 State your specific goals: What are your plans? 4. 5. Summarize the rationale for each of your goals: Why will you be doing these particular activities? 6. End with a “payoff” paragraph: What will the outcomes of your project be? How will the funding agency benefit from your project?

14


10/17/2012

Writing Your Goals Section 1. Open with a big-picture statement of need that frames your project: What overall problem will your project solve? “Throat clearing�: Homelessness among youth is a critical issue that impacts society, and substance abuse compounds this problem. Much better: Substance abuse is twice as common among homeless youth as among youth living at home and attending school.

Writing Your Goals Section 2. Specify the problem: What problem will your project seek to solve? The risk behaviors associated with substance abuse have long-term health consequences, including HIV infection. A majority of homeless youth, youth however however, do not receive substance abuse treatment.

15


10/17/2012

Writing Your Goals Section 3. Describe briefly your long-term objective: What will you do that will help to solve the overall problem? Our long-term goal is to increase participation in substance abuse treatment in this population as a way to address the multiple problems these youth face.

Writing Your Goals Section 4a. State your specific goals: What are your plans (procedural goals)? Goal 1. We will create a manual based upon the Community Reinforcement Approach to guide individual therapy. Goal 2. We will recruit and randomize a cohort of h homeless l youth. th Goal 3. We will evaluate and document the efficacy of the interventions.

16


10/17/2012

Writing Your Goals Section 4b. State your specific goals: What will you learn (conceptual goals)? Goal 1. Determine the factors necessary for the adaptation of the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) for a youth-oriented individual therapy intervention. Goal 2. Through a randomized controlled trial, determine the extent to which the modified CRA intervention affects sobriety and risk behaviors among the cohort. Goal 3. Identify dependent and independent variables that impact sobriety and risk behaviors within the cohort.

Writing Your Goals Section 5. Summarize the rationale for each of your goals: Why will you be doing these particular activities? Our experience with homeless adults demonstrates that using approaches that create a community, with community norms of desired beha iors has a more immediate impact on the behaviors, development of sobriety and the reduction of risk behaviors.

17


10/17/2012

Writing Your Goals Section 6. End with a “payoff� paragraph: What will the outcomes of your project be? How will the funding agency benefit from your project? By using the evaluation to modify the manual, we expect to create a transportable model for effective intervention with homeless youth.

Questions on developing Q p g and writing goals?

18


10/17/2012

Approach to the Research Strategy • • • • •

Make M k a li listt off your llogical i l progression. i Turn that list into prose. Use concrete examples. Leave out unnecessary detail. T ll a good, Tell d compelling lli story.

Outcomes • Have realistic outcomes outcomes. • Make sure that your expected outcomes include those things you identified as important to the funding agency!

19


10/17/2012

Outcomes • Have measurable outcomes. • Sometimes, these outcomes are in the form of a white paper, or the acquisition of new skills.

Outcomes: A Caveat • Sometimes the funding agency expects an outcome in the form of a specific deliverable (e.g., a white paper, a dissertation.) • For most grants, outcomes should be related to what you expect to learn from the research. What will your research add to the body of knowledge about your field? • Deliverables li bl such h as b books k and d other h publications should be discussed as ways of disseminating the knowledge you have gained.

20


10/17/2012

Outcomes • Have a plan to assess your outcomes. • Make sure that your outcomes are explicitly connected to your goals. • Make sure that your expected outcomes don’t rely on the acceptance of your research hypotheses, hypotheses if applicable. applicable There should still be a valuable outcome even if your hypothesis proves wrong.

Outcomes • Expected Outcomes: We expect that this project will result in a transferable intervention model for reducing substance abuse among homeless youth. • We anticipate that our intervention will significantly reduce substance abuse in our target population. • To ensure the efficient dissemination of the model to other regions with high numbers of at-risk teens, we will create a manual based on the Community Reinforcement approach geared toward youth to guide individual therapy.

21


10/17/2012

Potential Problems & Alternative Strategies

Potential Problems • Recognizing and acknowledging pitfalls ( d solutions) (and l ti )d demonstrates t t th thatt you have thoroughly thought your project through. • Carefully thinking about possible outcomes helps you to recognize potential pitfalls.

22


10/17/2012

Potential Problems Acknowledge pitfalls:

Provide alternatives:

It is i possible ibl that th t we will ill nott b be able to make our recruitment targets in Albuquerque and Phoenix.

We have W h already l d b begun tto establish partnerships with shelter organizations in Las Vegas and Reno to broaden our base.

Youth in the intervention group will have past and current substance abuse problems, and might i h not h have a stable bl current address. The potential exists for the research team to lose contact with a substantial number of participants.

Our research team has significant experience in working with homeless youth, and we have d l developed d strategies i ffor maintaining contact with this population. Additionally, we have based our power calculations on a 25% attrition rate to ensure that our results will be meaningful.

Writing Clearly & Concisely

23


10/17/2012

Writing Clearly Before These h two protocols l produce different effects that are important and that need to be taken fully into account when studies of the outcomes following these two particular interventions are conducted.

From “Good Scientific Writing: Advice from the Editors of Chiropractic & Osteopathy,” Hartman, S., Cameron M., French, SD, et al.

Writing Clearly Before These h two protocols l produce different effects that are important and that need to be taken fully into account when studies of the outcomes following these two particular interventions are conducted.

After When h comparing efficacies ff of these interventions, side effects must be considered.

From “Good Scientific Writing: Advice from the Editors of Chiropractic & Osteopathy,” Hartman, S., Cameron M., French, SD, et al.

24


10/17/2012

Empty Phrases One of the easiest strategies to improve clarity while writing more concisely is to replace “empty” phrases with single words.

Example: "May May," "Might Might," "Could" Could = • it is possible that • there is a chance that • it could happen that • the possibility exists for From Purdue’s OWL Resource site http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl

Empty Phrases Before Plant l allergens ll may b be allergens due to the fact that they resemble microbial pathogens that the immune system has the ability to recognize.

25


10/17/2012

Empty Phrases Before Plant l allergens ll may b be allergens due to the fact that they resemble microbial pathogens that the immune system has the ability to recognize.

After Plant l allergens ll may b be allergens because they resemble microbial pathogens that the immune system can recognize.

Empty Sentences

If anyone could have written your sentence, leave it out.

Th understanding The d t di and d appreciation of research is considered an essential component of the Department of Occupational Therapy Therapy’ss curriculum.

26


10/17/2012

“Throat-Clearing” • Empty sentences are particularly common i introductions in i t d ti and d att th the b beginning i i off paragraphs. • In your opening sentence(s), do not tell your reviewers obvious things. • Instead, Instead try to take it to a higher level, level and give the reviewers an idea of where you’re going and why this is exciting.

“Throat-Clearing” Before Cardiovascular d l d disease is a leading cause of death.

After Glucose l metabolism b l plays l a key role in heart function, both at the myocardial level and through hormonal consequences of “metabolic syndrome.” (Y I just (Yes, j t made d this thi up). )

27


10/17/2012

Jargon and Acronyms Avoid jargon: Remember that your reviewers may not be in your field or your specific subfield. subfield

We will compare such usage variants as CCR, /ay/ monophthongization, and nasal stop deletion between varieties of AAVE and the Crusoe Island dialect.

Jargon and Acronyms Avoid acronyms when possible, especially those not in common usage or that mean something else more commonly. Wavelength Throughput Frequency measuring device should not be turned into an acronym, nor should your Far Infrared Astronomical Super SuperColossal Observatory.

28


10/17/2012

Be Aware of Emphasis Within sentences, your main idea should be in your primary clause. clause Catherine has weathered many hardships, although she has rarely been discouraged. vs. Although Catherine has weathered many hardships, she has rarely been discouraged.

Use Strong, Active Prose • Using There + to be or It + to be at the b i i off sentences beginning t ttakes k away th the impact of the sentence, in addition to adding unnecessary words. • While not all of these constructions can be avoided, examine those sentences carefully to see if they can be rewritten.

29


10/17/2012

Use Strong, Active Prose Before Because off the h llarge amounts of data generated by biomedical research, there is a growing need for professionals trained in bioinformatics.

Use Strong, Active Prose Before Because off the h llarge amounts of data generated by biomedical research, there is a growing need for professionals trained in bioinformatics.

After Professionals f l trained d in bioinformatics are increasingly needed to analyze the large amounts of data generated by biomedical research.

30


10/17/2012

Use Strong, Active Prose Before It is the h norm at Tufts f that h undergraduates are mentored by a network of faculty members in addition to graduate students and post-docs.

Use Strong, Active Prose Before It is the h norm at Tufts f that h undergraduates are mentored by a network of faculty members in addition to graduate students and post-docs.

After- active voice At Tufts, f a network k off faculty members, graduate students and post-docs mentor undergraduates.

31


10/17/2012

Use Strong, Active Prose Before It is the h norm at Tufts f that h undergraduates are mentored by a network of faculty members in addition to graduate students and post-docs.

After At Tufts, f a network k off faculty members, graduate students and post-docs mentor undergraduates. Or At Tufts, undergraduates are typically mentored by a network of faculty members, graduate students and postdocs.

Developing a Strong Proposal with a Team

32


10/17/2012

Essentials for a Strong Proposal Team Trust Clearly understood and agreed-upon goals Strong leadership Clear roles & responsibilities both for proposal preparation and the proposed project • Open and honest communication • Willingness to tolerate a certain amount of healthy tension • • • •

Challenges • Short time frames & need for relationships t exist to i t prior i tto release l off ffunding di opportunity • Need for contribution from all members of the team • Need for one person to take responsibility for managing the project and making sure all proposal elements are completed correctly and on time

33


10/17/2012

Solutions • Develop relationships with potential collaborators ll b t prior i tto ffunding di opportunities • Once a funding opportunity is released, develop a project management plan – Internal timeline – Checklist with person responsible noted – Outlines, templates

Internal Timeline • Provide plenty of time for multiple iterations of project drafts • Don’t forget about adding extra time for letters of support or commitment, particularly if they are for collaborators overseas g approvals pp and • Allow extra time for budget final copyediting of every element • Aim for an internal deadline to finalize everything at least 10 days prior to the agency’s deadline

34


10/17/2012

Checklists • “Project management light” • Columns for: – Name of element – Instructions from the agency – Person responsible – Internal deadline

• Customization for each FOA • Find what works for your team. • One person should keep track of this

Outlines & Templates • It’s easier to edit than to write from scratch • Elements such as biographical sketches should follow a similar (if not identical) format • Provides each member of the team with structure • Ensures that all instructions are followed and all review criteria addressed

35


10/17/2012

Office of Proposal Development Resources • Website: http://viceprovost.tufts.edu/grantwriting/ – Outlines, templates, helpful tips, contact info

• Twitter: @TuftsOPD – Grant writing g news and information

• Email: proposaldevelopment@tufts.edu • E-list: Sign up through our website – News and events

GOOD LUCK!

36


Grant Writing Presentation