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How to Prepare to Write a Proposal VPR Office of Proposal Development Presentation for MALRC Lucy De

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How to look for funding opportunities and 'background' an agency (May 30) ... narrative as 'boiler plate' will result in a mediocre, disjointed proposal ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to Prepare to Write a Proposal VPR Office of Proposal Development Presentation for MALRC Lucy De


1
How to Prepare to Write a Proposal VPR Office of
Proposal Development Presentation for MALRC
Lucy Deckard L-deckard_at_tamu.edu June 27, 2006
2
OPD MALRC Seminar Series
  • How to look for funding opportunities and
    background an agency (May 30)
  • How to evaluate and analyze a potential funding
    opportunity (June 6)
  • Logistics of producing a proposal (June 13)
    Phyllis McBride
  • How to write a Project Summary (June 20)
    Phyllis McBride
  • How to prepare to write a proposal (June 27)

3
Preparing to Write
  • Research agency
  • Research program
  • Develop detailed outline
  • Research literature and previous work
  • Generate preliminary data, if needed
  • Develop collaborations, partnerships, support, if
    needed
  • Line up institutional support, if needed
  • Line up colleagues to edit your outline and
    proposal
  • Generate schedule for producing your proposal

4
Collaborations/Partnerships
  • Work on these before you start writing
  • Be clear about roles of collaborators and
    partners
  • Establish split of resources
  • For TAMU collaborators, agree on budget split
  • Be sure collaborators and partners get something
    out of participating in the project
  • If you need a letter of collaboration, offer to
    write a draft for your collaborator to edit
  • Include specifics on what they will do and
    support they will provide
  • Explain who the collaborator is and their
    motivation

5
Institutional Support
  • Is cost sharing (matching) required?
  • What type? (Cash, in-kind?)
  • What rules apply?
  • Are other resources required?
  • Work to set these up early
  • Typically start with your Dept. Head and move up
  • If specific facilities required, work with
    facility provider
  • Determine supporting documentation needed
  • Research Foundation can help

6
Line up Editors
  • Look for colleagues who have been funded by
    agency to which you are applying
  • Talk to them early
  • Ask colleagues to review your detailed outline
  • Look for someone who will be brutally honest

7
Set up a Schedule to Produce Your Proposal
  • Work back from deadline
  • Allow at least 4 days for routing
  • Start budget early
  • See Logistics of Producing Proposal Session 3

8
Structure of Proposal
  • Often dictated by solicitation or other agency
    document
  • NSF Grant Proposal Guide
  • NIH PHS 398
  • Also guided by evaluation criteria

9
Must Convince Reviewers…
  • Your proposed research should be funded
  • Its important and supports the agency mission
    and program goals
  • Its exciting
  • It has a good chance of succeeding
  • You are the person who should conduct the
    proposed research
  • You are knowledgeable and well-qualified
  • You have the support and resources required

10
Introductory writing tips
  • Summary and introduction are key
  • May be all reviewers read
  • Must excite and grab the attention
  • Reviewers will assume errors in language and
    usage will translate into errors in the science
  • Dont be overly ambitious in what you propose,
    but convey credibility and capacity to perform

11
Introductory writing tips
  • Sell your proposal to a good scientist but not an
    expert
  • Some review panels may not have an expert in your
    field, or panels may be blended for
    multidisciplinary initiatives
  • Agencies reviewers fund compelling, exciting
    research
  • Proposals are not journal articlesproposals must
    be user-friendly and offer a narrative that tells
    a story that is memorable to reviewers

12
Following agency guidelines
  • Read solicitation and/or proposal guide carefully
    for formatting requirements and follow
    scrupulously
  • Font and font size
  • Page limits
  • Biosketch formats
  • Citation format
  • Avoids disqualification of your proposal
  • Avoids irritating reviewers

13
Make your proposal easy to read
  • Reviewers often have 8 or 10 proposals to read
  • Use white space, underlining, bold, bullets,
    figures, flowcharts to make main points easy to
    find
  • Put main idea of sections and paragraphs up front

14
Proposal Sections Examples
  • Project Summary
  • Project Description/Research Narrative
  • Goals/Objectives/Specific Aims
  • Introduction/Overview
  • Background and Significance
  • Approach/Methodology
  • Research Plan
  • Preliminary Data
  • Broader Impacts (NSF)
  • Literature Cited
  • Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • Biosketches
  • Funded Projects
  • Equipment and Facilities

15
Goals/Specific Aims
  • State specific, measurable goals of your project
  • Tie to program/agency mission and goals
  • If hypothesis-based research, state your
    hypothesis
  • Discuss expected outcomes

16
Introduction/Overview
  • Provides a framework for the reviewer
  • Remainder of proposal will flesh out this
    framework
  • Opportunity to make important points up front
  • Communicate your excitement!

17
Background/Literature Review
  • Spend some time researching this
  • This section should tie closely to your proposed
    research
  • What are the holes in current knowledge that your
    work will fill?
  • How does your research extend and advance
    knowledge in the field?
  • Do not be dismissive of previous research
  • Be thorough in citing important work but be
    concise

18
Significance
  • Explain explicitly why proposed research is
    important
  • Tie to agency and program goals
  • Relate to review criteria
  • Make this easy to find

19
Preliminary Data
  • Understand the expectations of the agency and
    program
  • How much preliminary data is expected?
  • Higher risk research will require more
    preliminary data
  • Less experienced researchers will generally need
    more preliminary data
  • Preliminary data should strengthen reviewers
    perception of your chance of success

20
Approach/Research Plan/Methodology
  • Be very clear about how you will accomplish your
    stated goals and objectives
  • Include details
  • What, specifically, will you do when you get the
    money?
  • Schedules and milestones may be helpful
  • This is especially important if you are a
    relatively new researcher
  • Address any potential dead ends, roadblocks,
    show-stoppers and how you will deal with them
  • Avoid ambiguous terminology be very specific!

21
Be Specific About What you Will Do
  • Actual review comment
  • The PI is well-qualified to perform the research.
    He has published substantial archival journal
    articles in the area of research proposed, and
    worked in strong research groups at University
    1 and University 2. The proposed work builds
    on his prior experience, and, given the vague
    nature of the proposed work, is nearly guaranteed
    to be successful.

22
Connect narrative text to budget
  • Budget categories are defined by the funding
    agency
  • Be sure activities discussed in narrative are
    reflected in budget
  • Connect narrative text to the budget to ensure
    appropriate balance and proportion,
  • If a budget justification section is requested,
    use it to complement and deepen the narrative
    detail

23
Beware of Boiler Plate
  • Thinking of proposal narrative as boiler plate
    will result in a mediocre, disjointed proposal
  • Begin each proposal as a new effort, not a copy
    paste
  • Be very cautious integrating text inserts
  • Strong proposals clearly reflect a coherent,
    sustained, and integrated argument grounded on
    good ideas

24
Project assessment and evaluation
  • How will you know if you were successful?
  • Describe what will be measured in order to assess
    how well project met each of its objectives
  • Who will conduct assessment?
  • Discuss logistics
  • Formative assessment conducted throughout
    project and results fed back to improve project
  • Summative assessment final assessment at end of
    project

25
Project assessment and evaluation
  • How will you know if you were successful?
  • Describe what will be measured in order to assess
    how well project met each of its objectives
  • Who will conduct assessment?
  • Discuss logistics
  • Formative assessment conducted throughout
    project and results fed back to improve project
  • Summative assessment final assessment at end of
    project

26
Craft of grant writing web sites
  • http//cpmcnet.columbia.edu/research/writing.htm
  • http//nextwave.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/19
    99/08/27/1
  • http//grants.library.wisc.edu/index.html
  • http//www.research.umich.edu/proposals/PWG/pwgcom
    plete.html
  • http//www.asru.ilstu.edu/grantwritingseries.htm
  • http//grants.nih.gov/grants/grant_tips.htm
  • http//www.epa.gov/seahome/grants/src/title.htm
  • http//www.nsf.gov/pubs/2004/nsf04016/start.htm
  • http//www.aecom.yu.edu/ogs/Guide/Guide.htm
  • http//www.awag.org/Grant20Seekers20Tool20Kit/i
    ndex.htm
  • http//www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDet
    ail/assetid/23947?fulltexttrueprintyesprintye
    s
  • http//www.pitt.edu/offres/proposal/propwriting/w
    ebsites.html

27
Interpreting Reviews
  • If you are funded…..
  • If not….
  • Put the reviews away for a few days
  • Then take them out and read carefully
  • Call the program officer for more feedback
  • Evaluate if you should resubmit

28
Interpreting Reviews Planning to Resubmit
  • Were certain issues mentioned consistently?
  • Plan how to address those issues
  • Did the reviewers misunderstand your proposal?
  • Plan how to make your text more clear
  • Was no clear issue mentioned?
  • May not have excited reviewers enough
  • May not be an area they wish to fund now
  • May not fit into their research portfolio
  • Many funded proposals were funded after multiple
    submissions intelligent perseverance is
    the key!

29
Semester-long Proposal Workshop
  • Taught by Phyllis McBride
  • Helps step you through the proposal process
  • At the end of the semester, you will have a
    ready-to-submit proposal
  • For more info, see http//opd.tamu.edu/people/seme
    ster-long-grant-writing-workshop
  • or contact Phyllis at pmcbride_at_vprmail.tamu.edu
    or
  • 862-4183

30
  • Good luck and let us know if we can help you!
  • Office of Proposal Development
  • http//opd.tamu.edu/
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