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Writing Effective Research Grant Proposals VPR Office of Proposal Development Presentation for Dean


Presentation for Dean of Faculties Seminar Series. Lucy Deckard. L-deckard ... applied research and writing proposals at Lockheed Martin as well as at HRL Labs. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing Effective Research Grant Proposals VPR Office of Proposal Development Presentation for Dean

Writing Effective Research Grant ProposalsVPR
/Office of Proposal DevelopmentPresentation for
Dean of Faculties Seminar Series Lucy
DeckardL-deckard _at_tamu.eduSusan
MaierSMaier_at_vprmail.tamu.eduSeptember 27, 2005
Overview of Presentation
  • VPR Office of Proposal Development who we are
  • Identifying Funding Opportunities
  • Understanding the Funding Agency and Program
  • Preparing to Write
  • The Craft of Writing a Competitive Proposal
  • Funding Opportunities for Junior Faculty
  • Competing at NSF
  • Competing at NIH

Office of Proposal Development
  • A unit of the Office of Vice President for
    Research at Texas AM University
  • Phone, 979-845-1811
  • Fax, 979-458-0036
  • 305K Jack K. Williams Administration Building
  • Mail Stop 2404
  • libbyc_at_tamu.edu
  • http//vpr.tamu.edu/

VPR/OPD Research Development Support
  • Workshops, seminars and presentations
  • Center level initiatives
  • Multidisciplinary initiatives
  • New Faculty Initiative
  • Help develop collaborative research activities
  • Link to System universities and support System
    Pathways Initiative
  • Identify institutional funding opportunities

Jean Ann Bowman (jbowman_at_tamu.edu )
  • Jean Ann Bowman, Ph.D., leads the OPD's proposal
    development initiatives in the College of
    Geosciences and the College of Agriculture and
    Life Sciences. Dr. Bowman has more than 20 years
    of experience in applied hydrology research, with
    a focus on the relationship between land surface
    hydrology and global environmental change.
  • B.S., Journalism, University of Colorado,
    Boulder, 1979
  • M.S., Hydrology and Physical Geography, Rutgers
    University, 1983
  • Ph.D., Hydrology and Physical Geography, Texas
    AM University, 1999

Libby Childress (libbyc_at_tamu.edu )
  • Libby Childress provides project and proposal
    planning, scheduling, and coordination services
    handles administration and works on special
    projects. She also tracks project development
    activities, as well as collaborative activities.
  • Ms. Childress has worked as an account
    administrator, as an IEEE editorial assistant,
    and as personal assistant and liaison to the Vice
    President for Research.

Mike Cronan (mikecronan_at_tamu.edu)
  • Mike Cronan, P.E., has 16 years' experience at
    Texas AM in strategic planning, development, and
    writing of successful center-level research and
    educational proposals to NSF. He played a lead
    role in the development and writing of numerous
    multi-million-dollar collaborative projects
    funded by NSF across the AM System (for which he
    was named a Regents Fellow (2000-04) by The Texas
    AM University System Board of Regents).
  • B.S., Civil Engineering (Structures), University
    of Michigan, 1983 B.A., Political Science,
    Michigan State University, 1968 M.F.A., English,
    University of California, Irvine, 1972
    Registered Professional Engineer (Texas 063512)

Lucy Deckard (l-deckard_at_tamu.edu )
  • Lucy Deckard leads the OPD's new faculty and
    graduate student initiatives, and also works on
    proposal development activities related to
    science and engineering.
  • Ms. Deckard has 18 years of experience working as
    a materials engineer, conducting applied research
    and writing proposals at Lockheed Martin as well
    as at HRL Labs.
  • B.S., Materials Science, Rice University, 1981
  • M.S., Materials Science and Engineering,
    Northwestern University, 1990

Susan E. Maier (smaier_at_tamu.edu)
  • As part of the OPD team, Susan Maier focuses on
    the System Health Science Centers (HSC) NIH
    biomedical science and health-related projects
  • Assists in developing partnerships among the
    individual HSC components, Texas AM University,
    and the System schools in projects involving
    health and biomedical science proposals and
  • Experience with NIH proposal submission,
    experimental design, biomedical research methods,
  • Leads training seminars on NIH
  • B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Psychology

Phyllis McBride (p-mcbride_at_tamu.edu )
  • Phyllis McBride, Ph.D., leads the OPD's proposal
    writing training initiatives. Dr. McBride has 20
    years of technical communications experience in
    publishing, industry, and academe, eight of which
    have focused on proposal development and
    management. She has worked for Dallas Magazine,
    EDS, and CH2M HILL, and has also taught technical
    communications at Texas AM University.
  • B.A., Journalism and English, Baylor University,
  • M.A., English, Texas AM University, 1991
  • Ph.D., English, Texas AM University, 2000

Robyn Pearson (rlpearson_at_tamu.edu)
  • Robyn Pearson leads the OPD's proposal
    development initiatives in the College of Liberal
    Arts and the College of Education and Human
    Development. Ms. Pearson's background includes
    grant writing, public outreach, and marketing for
    non-profit organizations. She also has more than
    15 years of experience in technical writing and
    editing, including books, journal articles, and
    technical reports.
  • B.A., Anthropology, Texas AM University, 1979
  • M.A., Anthropology, Texas AM University, 1996

Office of Proposal Development
Looking For Funding Opportunities
Types of Funding Agencies
  • Basic research agencies (e.g, NSF, NIH)
  • Mission-oriented agencies (e.g., NASA, DoD, Dept
    of Ed.)
  • Foundations
  • Other (industry, professional organizations, etc.)

Unsolicited vs. Solicited Proposals
  • Unsolicited
  • Investigator-initiated no specific solicitation
    or RFP
  • Typically long-running program relatively
    general statement of research topics of interest
  • For NSF and NIH, recurring due dates or target
    dates each year
  • Rare for Mission Agencies (DOE, USDA)
  • Solicited
  • Terminology
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Program Solicitation
  • Request for Application (RFA)
  • For NIH, Program Announcement (PA)
  • Tied to specific agency initiative
  • May only last a few funding cycles or may go on
    for years
  • Have specific additional evaluation criteria
  • Often have specific formatting requirements

Ways to Find Funding
  • Talk to colleagues doing similar research
  • Look for funding sources credited in books and
    journal articles describing similar research
  • Use the web and other information resources

Information on the Internet
  • Funding Agency websites
  • Compilations of funding opportunities
  • Automatic e-mail notifications services
  • Database services
  • Google is your best friend

Funding Agencies Hotlinks Table
  • Funding Agencies Hotlink Table.doc
  • Federal Grant Making Agencies.doc
  • Notes about agency web sites
  • First place funding opportunities will show up
  • Pages with funding opportunities can be buried
    when you find a good one, make a note of the url
  • Look for unsolicited proposal opportunities
  • Look for additional info on opportunities

Compendia of Funding Opportunties
  • All Federal Funding Opportunities
  • http//www.fedgrants.gov/Applicants/index.html
  • Foundations
  • http//fdncenter.org/pnd/rfp/index.jhtml
  • University grants office websites
  • Iowa State
  • http//www.vpresearch.iastate.edu/OSP/FundingOppor
  • http//www.vpresearch.iastate.edu/OSP/Maillogs.htm
  • Duke University http//www.ors.duke.edu/find
  • University of Iowa http//research.uiowa.edu/dsp/m

University Grants Websites (contd)
  • Cornell http//www.osp.cornell.edu/Funding/
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Oregon http//rfd.uoregon.edu/fundin
  • University of Vermont Research Funding
  • http//www.uvm.edu/ospuvm/?PageFunding_Opportuni

Email Alert Services
  • Email Alert Services for Funding
  • NSF
  • http//www.nsf.gov/mynsf/
  • http//grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/listserv.htm
  • Dept. of Education
  • http//listserv.ed.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A1ind05Ledinf
  • http//www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edinfo/index.ht
  • Federal Grants
  • http//fedgrants.gov/ApplicantRegistration.html
  • Foundations
  • http//fdncenter.org/newsletters/

Database Services
  • Community of Science (COS)
  • Available through Office Sponsored Projects
  • Input profile with key words get e-mail
  • Be sure to fine-tune search parameters

Google is Your Best Friend
  • http//www.google.com/
  • http//www.yahoo.com/
  • Search for research opportunities
  • Backdoor/end run to subscription funding services
  • E.g., IRIS
  • http//carousel.lis.uiuc.edu/7Eiris/deadlines/all
  • Find funded programs, abstracts
  • Find workshops, conferences, seminars
  • Find reports, publications, project documents
  • To search within a site, type keywords siteurl
    of site
  • E.g., preservation languages sitewww.nsf.gov

Ways to Improve Your Success in Finding Funding
  • Get to know most likely funding agencies
  • Mission, vision
  • Funding mechanisms
  • Recurring funding opportunities
  • More on this later
  • Check funding opportunities regularly
  • Fine-tune search parameters for subscription
  • Learn how to quickly evaluate a potential funding
    opportunity (more later)
  • Keep a list of funding agencies, funding
    opportunities with urls (e.g., MS Word table with

Backgrounding an agency and evaluating a
potential funding opportunity
Backgrounding the Funding AgencyQuestions to Ask
  • What are its mission and goals?
  • What are its investment priorities, strategic
  • What time horizon are they aiming for?
  • How do they get their funding?
  • What procedures do they use to notify the
    community of funding opportunities?
  • Who influences their planning and goals?
  • What language do they use?

Backgrounding Funding AgencyQuestions to Ask
  • What is their culture like?
  • What procedures do they use to review proposals
    and make funding decisions?
  • What are their review criteria?
  • How are they organized?
  • Who are the personnel and what is their
  • What have they funded in the past?
  • What is their budget?

Backgrounding the Funding AgencySources of
  • Web site
  • Solicitation
  • Organization Chart
  • Strategic Plan/ Roadmap
  • Bios of Program Officers
  • Reports, Publications
  • Contacts with Program Officers (visits,
    conferences, phone and e-mail conversations)
  • Agency workshops and seminars
  • Leadership Speeches
  • Congressional Testimony
  • Current Funded Projects Databases
  • Project Abstracts
  • Contacts with Funded Researchers
  • Contacts with former Program Officers
  • Contacts with former Reviewers

Funding Agency Culture Mission
  • Agency reflects vision, mission, objectives, and
    strategic goals of founding intent
  • Operational components of agency reflect a range
    of objectives, for example
  • Strategic research plan
  • Strategic investment plan
  • Research portfolio investment time horizon
  • Technology transfer, patenting, licensing,
  • Research priorities characteristics

Funding Agency Culture Mission Basic
Research Agencies (NSF, NIH)
  • Independent agency management
  • Independent research vision, mission,
  • Award criteria based on intellectual and
    scientific excellence
  • Peer panel reviewed, ranked, and awarded by merit
  • Focus on fundamental or basic research at the
    frontiers of science, innovation, and creation
    of new knowledge
  • Open ended, exploratory, long investment horizon
  • Non-classified, non-proprietary

Funding Agency Culture Mission
  • Mission-oriented federal agency research
  • RD serves agency goals and objectives, but
    reflect Executive Branch policy directions, or
  • E.g., Agriculture, Energy, Education, Defense,
  • Scope of work tightly defines research
  • Predominately applied research for meeting near
    term objectives, technology development
    transfer, policy goals
  • Predominately internal review by program officers
  • Awards based on merit, but also on geographic
    distribution, political distribution, long term
    relationship with agency, Legislative Executive
    branch policies
  • Classified and non-classified research

Funding Agency Investment PrioritiesExamples
  • National Science Foundation
  • Strategic Plan 2003-08 (http//www.nsf.gov/od/gpra
  • Office of the Director (http//www.nsf.gov/od/)
  • National Institutes of Health
  • NIH Roadmap (http//nihroadmap.nih.gov/)
  • NIH Director Elias Zerhouni (http//www.sciencemag
  • NIH Directors Page (http//www.nih.gov/about/dire

Funding Agency PrioritiesExamples
  • Department of Education
  • Dept of Ed Strategic Plan http//www.ed.gov/about/
  • Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative
  • Mission Statement, Strategic Plan and Goals
  • Reports and resources http//www.ed.gov/about/offi

Funded Projects Databases
  • NSF Award Search Site (abstracts of awards
    available) http//www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/index.js
  • NIH Award Search Site (abstracts of awards
    available) http//crisp.cit.nih.gov/crisp/crisp_qu
    ery.generate_screenhttp//crisp.cit.nih.gov/ DoD
  • SBIR/STTR Search http//www.dodsbir.net/Awards/Def
  • NEH Awards Search http//www.neh.gov/news/recentaw
  • USDA Awards information and Forms
  • US Dept. of Education Awards Search (limited)

Sifting through RFPs
  • What do they want to accomplish through this
  • How much money is allocated and how many awards
    are anticipated?
  • Who is eligible to apply?
  • What are the budget guidelines?
  • What, if any, partnerships are required?
  • Have other grants been made under this program?

Request for Proposals, RFP
  • Program Description
  • Mission Context
  • Eligibility Information
  • Award Information
  • Review Criteria
  • Program Officers
  • Reference Documents
  • Award Administration
  • Proposal Guidelines
  • Format
  • Document Order
  • Project Description
  • Scope of Work
  • Performance Goals
  • Management
  • Attachments
  • Budget Guidelines

Performance Expectations
  • Publications
  • Curriculum
  • Commercialization
  • Patents
  • Degrees awarded
  • Technologies
  • Map to RFP Evaluation Criteria
  • May require internal and/or external evaluation
    annual performance review

Researching a Specific Funding Opportunity
Reading the Solicitation
  • Read and re-read the solicitation!
  • The solicitation is not a list of suggestions it
    is a list of requirements
  • It is a window into the thinking of the funding

Things to Look for in the Solicitation
  • Purpose of the program
  • Research topics of interest
  • Changes from previous programs
  • Inspiration for program and references
  • Program requirements
  • Proposal requirements
  • Budget guidelines
  • Review criteria
  • If you are pursuing an unsolicited
    opportunity, you will have to find these things
    out using other available information sources

Purpose of the Program
  • Commonly discussed in background section
  • Make sure the goals of your proposed project
    mirror the program goals
  • Look for words that are repeated often
  • e.g., innovative
  • You will want to use those words to describe your
    project (and back up those claims)
  • The outcomes of your proposed project should
    support program objectives

Research Topics of Interest
  • Understand which topics are fundable under this
  • Read solicitation
  • Look at funding history (use databases, if
  • Talk to Program Officer
  • Note terminology and language used you will want
    to use similar terminology in your proposal

Inspiration for Program and References
  • Program may be result of committee report (e.g.,
    National Academies, National Science Board,
    special study committees)
  • May be documented in Workshop presentations and
  • May be documented in final reports and
    publications of previously funded projects
  • May be outgrowth of agency roadmap, strategic
  • Read and cite these reports in your proposal

Program Requirements
  • Read carefully and make a checklist
  • Plan to explain how you will meet each program
  • Start work on setting up collaborations,
    partnerships if needed
  • Supporting letters may be needed for your
  • To be competitive, you must meet all program

Explicit Proposal Requirements
  • Note carefully formatting rules (page limits,
    fonts, margins, etc.) these may be in a
    separate document
  • Look for suggested or required sections
  • Make an outline that mirrors solicitation
  • Include checklist of everything that must be
    addressed, divided by sections keep this
    checklist through early drafts
  • Note supplementary documents needed
  • Bios, Lists of Current Funding, Letters of
    support, Facilities and Equipment, etc.

Unspoken Expectations
  • Qualifications and experience of PI(s)
  • Infrastructure provided by PIs institution
  • Preliminary data
  • Very important!
  • Varies greatly depending on agency, discipline,
  • Info sources
  • Previous awardees
  • Previous reviewers
  • Program officers and previous program officers

Talking to the Program Officer
  • Do your homework first
  • Read solicitation carefully
  • Read background documents
  • Investigate previously funded projects
  • Prepare a concise description of your project
  • Goals, objectives, outcomes
  • One short paragraph
  • Try e-mail and phone
  • If possible, use e-mail to set up phone
  • Ask open-ended questions and listen carefully

Talking to Previous Awardees
  • Most previous awardees very generous (unless they
    will be competing with you for renewal)
  • Ask about program reviews, feedback from program
  • Be aware that programs may evolve and criteria
  • Previous awardees often also reviewers
  • May make sense to cite results of previous
    awardee or forge a connection with previously
    funded programs

Review Criteria
  • Most important part of solicitation!
  • Plan how you will meet each review criterion
  • Structure your proposal outline to reflect review
  • If you are weak in an area, plan how you will
    address this

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
  • Line up institutional support, if needed
  • Line up colleagues to edit your outline and
  • Generate schedule for producing your proposal

Set up a Schedule to Produce Your Proposal
  • Work back from deadline
  • Start budget early
  • E-mail your draft text and final budget to
    proposal administrator for routing
  • Allow at least 4 days for routing additional
    time if multiple investigators
  • PI
  • Department Head
  • Dean
  • Office of Sponsored Projects

  • Work on these before you start writing
  • Be clear about roles of collaborators and
  • 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

Preliminary Data
  • Understand the expectations of the agency and
  • 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

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

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

Contact Your Proposal Administrator
  • Agencies providing proposal administration
  • Research Foundation
  • http//rf-web.tamu.edu/preaward/proposaladm.html
  • TEES Research Services
  • http//trsweb.tamu.edu/contact.html
  • TAES Preaward Services
  • http//agcg.tamu.edu/staff.htm
  • TTI
  • Toni Monroe979-862-3942t-monroe_at_ttimail.tamu.edu
  • If unsure which agency to contact, talk to your
    Department Head

Log in Proposal with Administrator
  • Provide the following information
  • Funding Agency
  • Program name and/or solicitation number
  • Proposal title
  • Proposal due date
  • Name of PI
  • Name of all Co-PIs
  • Involvement of collaborators or subawards
  • Contact your proposal administrator early!
  • No later than 2 weeks before due date but ideally

Proposal Administrator
  • Provides assistance in drawing up budget
  • May provide other assistance (check with your
  • Electronic submission of proposal
  • Checking compliance with required formats (e.g.,
    biosketches, etc.)
  • Cover sheets and forms
  • Routing
  • Copying and mailing

Writing the Proposal
Introductory writing tips
  • The abstract, proposal summary, and introduction
    are keythat may be all many reviewers read and
    it is here you must excite and grab the attention
    of the reviewers
  • 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

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

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

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
  • Put main idea of sections and paragraphs up front

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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

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

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

  • Provides a concise overview of the proposed
  • May be the only section the reviewer reads!
  • Generates enthusiasm for the proposed project
  • Requires that you provide a great deal of
    information within a tightly prescribed format
  • Who, what, when, where, why, and how
  • Additional agency-specific information
  • NIH Relevance of the research to public health
  • NSF Intellectual merit and broader impacts
  • Frequently becomes public record if the project
    is funded
  • Should be written in third person
  • Should not include confidential or proprietary

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

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

Background/Literature Review
  • Spend some time researching this
  • This section should tie closely to your proposed
  • 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

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

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
  • 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!

Connect narrative text to budget
  • Budget categories are defined by the funding
  • 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

Beware of boiler plate dont copy paste
  • Boiler plate refers only to the grant application
    forms required by the funding agency
  • Thinking of proposal narrative as boiler plate
    will result in a mediocre, disjoint proposal
  • Begin each proposal as a new effort, not a copy
  • Be very cautious integrating text inserts
  • Strong proposals clearly reflect a coherent,
    sustained, and integrated argument grounded on
    good ideas

Outcomes or deliverables
  • Develop short, hard-hitting lists off-set by
    bullets or other typographical formats
  • Relate outcomes to goals and objectives
  • Outcomes should be specific and measurable
  • Timelines and schedules with milestones can
    orient reviewers and provide a quick overview of
    how program components fit together

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

Craft of grant writing web sites
  • http//cpmcnet.columbia.edu/research/writing.htm
  • http//nextwave.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/19
  • http//grants.library.wisc.edu/index.html
  • http//www.research.umich.edu/proposals/PWG/pwgcom
  • 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
  • http//www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDet
  • http//www.pitt.edu/offres/proposal/propwriting/w

National Science Foundation
  • Funds research in
  • Biological Sciences (BIO)
  • Computer and Info Science and Eng (CISE)
  • Engineering (ENG)
  • Education and Human Resources (EHR)
  • Geosciences (GEO)
  • Math and Physical Sciences (MPS)
  • Polar Research (OPP)
  • Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
  • Cross-cutting Research

  • In addition to research grants, NSF funds
  • Instrumentation
  • Conferences and Workshops
  • Doctoral Research in Selected Areas (Doctoral
    Dissertation Improvement Grants)
  • International Travel
  • Graduate Fellowships

NSF mission
  • To support
  • Basic scientific research and research
    fundamental to the engineering process
  • Programs to strength scientific and engineering
    research potential
  • Science and engineering education programs at all
    levels and in all fields of science and
  • An information base on science and engineering
    appropriate for development of national and
    international policy

NSF Goals and mission
  • Agency goals are defined in terms of people,
    ideas and tools
  • People A diverse, competitive, and globally
    engaged U.S. workforce of scientists, engineers,
    technologists and well-prepared citizens
  • Ideas Discovery across the frontier of science
    and engineering, connected to learning,
    innovation and service to society
  • Tools Broadly accessible state-of-the-art
    science and engineering facilities, tools, and
    other infrastructure that enable discovery,
    learning and innovation

NSF Organization
Directorates divided into divisions
  • Example Math and Physical Sciences (MPS)
  • Astronomical Sciences (ASI)
  • Chemistry (CHE)
  • Materials Research (DMR)
  • Physics (PHY)
  • Division Mathematical Sciences (DMS)

Programs/clusters within organization
  • Materials Research
  • Ceramics
  • Metals
  • Electronic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Theory
  • Solid State Chemistry
  • Etc.

Funding opportunities
  • see Guide to Programs at http//www.nsf.gov/fund
  • Program Description or Program Announcement
  • Solicitations
  • Supplements
  • Dear Colleague Letter
  • SGER (Special Grants for Exploratory Research)

Example funding opportunities
  • Grants Funding Equipment (web sites in handout)
  • Major Research Instrumentation (MRI)
  • Earth Sciences Instrumentation and Facilities
  • Research Equipment for Chemical Transport System
  • Chemical Research Instrumentation and Facilities
  • Multi-user Equipment and Instrumentation
    Resources for Biological Sciences
  • Archaeometry Awards
  • Astronomical Sciences Advanced Technologies and
    Instrumentation (ATI)

Example funding opportunitiesCAREER
  • http//www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id52
  • Duration 5 years
  • Funding level minimum 400K total (except min.
    500K total for BIO directorate)
  • Eligibility
  • Have a PhD
  • Untenured, holding tenure-track assistant prof.
    Position or equivalent
  • Have not competed in CAREER more than two times
  • Have not won a CAREER award
  • Due July 20 22 depending on directorate
  • Typical 10 20 success rate

NSF Review Criteria
  • Intellectual Merit
  • How important is activity to advancing knowledge
    and understanding in own field and across fields?
  • How well-qualified is proposer to conduct
  • How creative and original are ideas?
  • How well-conceived and organized is proposed
  • Is there sufficient access to resources?
  • Broader Impacts
  • How well does the activity advance discovery and
    understanding while promoting teaching, training
    and learning?
  • Will it enhance infrastructure for research and
    education such as facilities, networks,
  • Will results be disseminated broadly to enhance
    understanding of science?
  • What are potential benefits to society of
    proposed research?

NSF Review Criteria (contd)
  • Integration of Research and Education
  • How well does project foster integration of
    research and education, infusing education with
    the excitement of discovery?
  • Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects
    and Activities
  • How well does project broaden opportunities and
    enable the participation of all citizens, women
    and men, underrepresented minorities and persons
    with disabilities?

Review Process
  • May be ad hoc or panel review (at least three
  • Proposal rated
  • Excellent, Very good, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Comments included as feedback
  • NSF tries to return reviews within 6 months of
    due date

Dean of FacultiesWriting Effective Research
Grant Proposals
Susan E. Maier, Ph.D. Research Development Officer
Outline of PresentationNational Institutes of
Health (NIH)
  • Overview of NIH
  • Understanding NIH funding priorities
  • Submitting proposals to NIH
  • The review process
  • Learning more

Overview National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • Current Secretary, Tommy Thompson, J.D.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
    Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
  • Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ)
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Administration for Aging (AoA)
  • Program Support Center (PSC)
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)

Overview National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
    Administration (SAMHSA)
  • http//www.samhsa.gov/grants/2006/ataglance.aspx
  • Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ)
  • http//www.ahcpr.gov/fund/grantix.htm
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • http//www.cdc.gov/od/pgo/funding/grantmain.htm
  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
  • http//www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/acfdps/index.htm
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • http//www.grants.gov/
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • http//grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Administration for Aging (AoA)
  • Program Support Center (PSC)
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)

OverviewNational Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Primary agency for funding biomedical,
    behavioral, mental health research
  • NIH is the worlds largest and most
    distinguished organization dedicated to
    maintaining and improving health through medical
    science (http//www.hhs.gov/budget/06budget/nih.h
  • Consists of Office of the Director (OD), and 20
    Institutes and 7 Centers (IC), and Facilities
    Construction(related mostly to biodefense)
  • Current director of NIH is Elias A. Zerhouni,
  • Access web pages for the Office of the Director
  • Access web pages for Institutes and Centers (IC)

OverviewNIH Mission
  • The mission of the NIH
  • Improve the health of humans, promote healthy
    lifestyle, and reduce the burden of illness and
  • Basic scientific research in pursuit of
    fundamental knowledge (including data collection
    about the occurrence and risk factors for
    specific diseases
  • Translational research involving moving the
    knowledge derived from basic science research
    (the bench) to the clinical populations (the
  • Office of Director may suggest specific areas of
    research focus IC Directors use this input to
    direct their own IC funding priorities
  • Important to review the individual IC web pages
    and talk to specific program officers about the
    current focus
  • Currently, hot trends at NIH involve trans-NIH
    initiatives or intra-agency research research
    projects that cut across the various IC

Understanding NIH Funding Priorities
Understanding funding prioritiesNIH Investment
  • NIH funds research projects
  • Its own laboratories (intramural)
  • At national or international locations
  • DHHS FY2006 budget for NIH is 28.8 billion
  • http//www.hhs.gov/budget/06budget/nih.html
  • Appropriations
  • 84 for extramural research
  • 11 for intramural research
  • 5 for research management and support
  • Majority of funds go to extramural research
  • Eligible research projects involve basic,
    translational, and applied research in many
    medical and health-related fields
  • E.g., funding for education and outreach
    activities that will fulfill the goal of
    promoting healthy lifestyles

Understanding funding prioritiesTargeted NIH
Investment Priorities
  • Targeted areas of support for FY2006
  • Biodefense
  • HIV/AIDs Research
  • NIH Roadmap for Medical Research
  • NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research

Understanding funding PrioritiesTargeted NIH
Investment Priorities
  • Targeted areas of support for FY2006
  • Biodefense 11 increase from FY2005
  • Research directed at detecting and countering
  • Basic research on the biology of microbial agents
    with bioterrorism potential host response to
    infection and defense mechanisms
  • Applied research directed at improved
    diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics to control
    bioterrorism outbreak
  • NIH Roadmap for Medical Research lt1 increase
    from FY2005
  • New Pathways to Discovery
  • Research Teams of the Future
  • Re-engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise
  • HIV/AIDs Research lt1 increase from FY2005
  • Development of an AIDS vaccine
  • HIV prevention research
  • Addressing HIV/AIDS health disparities
  • NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research
  • Involves 15 IC
  • Develop single-gene knockout mouse strains,
    enhance training in cross cutting techniques such
    as imaging and computational biology support
    core centers (cell culture, DNA sequencing, gene
    vector development, molecular biology service
    centers, proteomics)

Submitting Proposals to NIH
Submitting proposals to NIHSolicited versus
unsolicited proposals
  • Solicited (agency-initiated) proposals (18)
  • Requests for Applications/Proposals (RFAs, RFPs)
  • Program Announcements (PAs)
  • Due dates may vary for each solicitation
  • Unsolicited (investigator-initiated) proposals
  • Grant cycles
  • Major deadlines for research project grants
  • February 1, June 1, and October 1 (new)
  • March 1, July 1, November 1 (revised)

Submitting proposals to NIHIdentifying Research
Funding Opportunities
  • Solicited proposals
  • NIH funding opportunities page
  • Includes funding opportunities for NIH only
  • Located at http//grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/ind
  • Search all RFAs and PAs for current week or for
  • Subscribe to weekly listserv to receive RFAs and
  • Grants.gov
  • Includes funding opportunities for NIH, as well
    as for the 25 other federal grant-making
  • Located at http//www.grants.gov/Index
  • Search by keyword, funding opportunity number,
    category, agency, funding instrument, eligibility
  • Search all posted grant opportunities for last 7
  • Subscribe to grant opportunity notifications

Submitting proposals to NIHFunding mechanisms,
the basics
  • Unsolicited proposals
  • Numerous funding mechanisms
  • (R01) Research Project Grant
  • Supports discrete, specified, circumscribed
  • Almost all IC support this funding mechanism
  • (R03) Small Research Project Grant
  • Supports small research projects that can be
    carried out in a short period of time with
    limited resources
  • (R21) Exploratory Research Project Grant
  • Supports exploratory and developmental research
    that breaks new ground or extends previous
  • High risk high yield

Submitting proposals to NIHFunding mechanisms,
  • Other types of proposal mechanisms (unsolicited
    or solicited)
  • Program project (P01)
  • Specific to IC, supports large scale projects
    involving many investigators
  • Broadly based multi-disciplinary research
    programs that have a well-defined central
    research focus or objective
  • Successful P01s must demonstrate that the results
    of the program will be more meaningful than if
    the individual investigators were each given R01s
    for their specific project
  • Institutional research training grants (T32, T35)
  • Develop and enhance research training
    opportunities for individuals training for
    careers in biomedical, behavioral or clinical
    (e.g., predoctoral, postdoctoral, short-term
    research training experiences)
  • E.g., T32 uses PA-02-109 (http//grants2.nih.gov/g
    rants/guide/pa-files/PA-02-109.html) regular
    training opportunity
  • E.g., T35 uses PA-05-117 (http//grants2.nih.gov/g
    rants/guide/pa-files/PA-05-117.html) short-term
    training opportunity
  • Due dates are Jan 10, May 10, Sept 10, but some
    IC have only 1 date per year

Submitting proposals to NIHFunding mechanisms,
advanced contd
  • Other types of proposal mechanisms
  • Small business funding opportunities (SBIR/STTR)
  • Biomedical information and science technology
    initiative (BISTI)
  • NIH bioengineering consortium (BECON)
  • Institutional development awards (IDeA)
  • NIH Roadmap
  • Presidential early career award for scientists
    and engineers (PECASE)
  • Support for conferences and scientific meetings
    (R13 U13)

Submitting proposals to NIH Funding mechanisms,
Career Development
  • Career awards - targeted programs
  • Some directed at retraining, professional
    development, and recognition of career success
  • K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Award
  • Provide mentored career development in a new
    research area
  • K02 Independent Scientist Award
  • Develop career of funded scientist
  • K05 Senior Scientist Award
  • Recognize outstanding Scientist with sustained
    level of high-productivity (Merit)
  • K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Award
  • Development of the independent clinical research
  • K18 Career Enhancement Award for Stem Cell
    Research (restricted to select IC)
  • K25 Mentored Quantitative Research Career
    Development Award
  • To foster interdisciplinary collaboration in
    biomedical research by supporting career
    development experiences for scientists with
    quantitative and engineering backgrounds

Submitting proposals to NIHForms
  • All NIH proposals use PHS Form 398 or a variation
    of PHS398
  • Step 1 Download the Instructions and PHS398
  • http//grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs39

Submitting proposals to NIHProposal Basics,
e.g., R01
  • The Research Plan the what, why and how of the
  • Minimum requirements for the Research Plan
    include Sections A-D, which cannot be more than
    25 single-spaced pages, unless the RFP/RFA or PA
    states differently
  • Section A (the what). Specific Aims
  • Section B (the why). Background and
  • Section C (the why and how). Preliminary
    Data/Progress Report
  • Section D (the specific how). Research Design
    and Methods
  • http//deainfo.nci.nih.gov/extra/extdocs/gntapp.ht

The review process
The review processCenter for Scientific Review
  • Center for Scientific Review
  • http//www.csr.nih.gov/default.htm
  • Integrated Review Groups
  • Study Sections
  • Scientific Review Administrator (SRA)
  • About 20 peer reviewers from your discipline
  • Scientific review process
  • Each proposal assigned a primary, secondary and
    tertiary reviewer
  • For investigator-initiated R01, R21, R03
    proposals, the reviewers are asked to identify
    the bottom 50 of their proposals streamlining
    or triage (dont call us.)
  • Review committee meets to discuss applications
  • Primary reviewer presents your application to the
    group (reads the abstract/executive summary)
  • Group discusses your application for 10 to 15
  • Individuals with the group assign a priority
    score to your application
  • SRA converts the average priority score from the
    individual group members to a percentile
  • SRA prepares a summary statement for your
  • Streamlined applications receive summary
    statement verbatim from all reviewers with no SRA
  • Scored applications receive summary statements
    re-written by the SRA, along with their score and
    percentile rank

The review processCenter for Scientific Review
  • General review criteria
  • Investigator
  • Education, training, relevant experience
  • Having relevant collaborators as Co-Investigators
    on your proposal can help immensely
  • Environment
  • Suitability of facilities and support of
  • Available equipment (especially high-tech or
    services available)
  • Significance
  • Ability of the project to improve health
  • Approach
  • Feasibility of methods and appropriateness of
  • Time-line, anticipating problems and proposing
  • Innovation
  • Originality of research
  • How new is the research? Is the question
    original or just the technique?

The review processCenter for Scientific Review
  • For agency-initiated proposal requests, check for
    specific review criteria in the RFP, RFA, PA
  • For example, PAR-05-124, High End Instrumentation
  • http//grants2.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-
  • Used the PHS398 form, but the Research Plan
    section (normally, sections A-D) were the
  • Section A. Justification of Need
  • Section B. Technical Expertise
  • Section C. Research Projects
  • Section D. Institutional Commitment
  • Section E. Administration of the Instrument
  • Section F. Financial Administration
  • The review criteria categories were the same as
    those used for the Research Plan

Specific Aims
Background and Significance
Preliminary Data
The review processMake use of the available
scientific resources
  • Visit with institute representatives at national
  • Let them know who you are (associate a face with
    a name)
  • Contact your program officer early in the
    proposal preparation process
  • Verify that your proposed project addresses the
    specific IC priorities
  • Ask if the program officer is willing to review
    your abstract/executive summary for a specific
  • Give special attention to abstract/executive
    summary sections
  • The abstract/executive summary has a longer shelf
    life than any other portion of the proposal
  • Remember that this may be the only section some
    reviewers will read!
  • Use these sections to generate excitement about
    and advocacy for your proposed research project

The review processPost-Award Expectations
  • Annual progress reports results from funding
  • Peer-reviewed publications
  • Advances in knowledge
  • Inventions, patents, therapeutics, translational
  • Productivity during current funding affects
    future funding success
  • About 1.5 years prior to the end of the grant
    period, submit a competitive renewal
  • Develop new hypotheses and directions for
    research based on research findings from current
    award and from results found in literature
    reviews of research area

Learning More
Learning moreCRISP
  • CRISP database
  • Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific
  • Searchable biomedical database of federally
    supported proposed research conducted at
    universities, hospitals, and other research
  • Includes projects funded by NIH, AHRQ, CDCP, FDA,
  • Located at http//crisp.cit.nih.gov/

  • Allow plenty of time to do your homework
  • Read the relevant NIH tutorials
  • http//www.niaid.nih.gov/ncn
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