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PEER Presentation Writing winning grant proposals: Neal Stewart email@example.com Posted on http://plantsciences.utk.edu/stewart_research_ethics.htm Prediction is difficult— especially about the future Yogi Berra Outline • Grant proposal 101 • Timelines • Budgets • RFPs and program managers • Communication • Ethical considerations • Practical advice • Q&A Why write proposals—especially full-sized federal proposals? • Get paid, do research • Discipline encapsulated – Thinking, planning, writing, and more planning – Forces organization – Forces scholars to design research – Process for creating rigor in research • Badge of honor-increases a scholar’s “stock” 101 continued • Most “regular” grant proposals get submitted through the institution’s research or grants office—typically by faculty • The lead submitter is the principal investigator: PI. Others can be collaborators or co-PIs • Institution gets a “cut” of the budget: indirect cost, F&A, or overhead (UTK = 45% or direct cost)-more on budgets later. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail Ancient proverb Alert G&C Communication and Task Timeline you’re submitting! RFP, RFA, FOA, BAA To compete or not to compete? Day 60—LOI or preproposal accepted Initial planning and teambuilding Start writing proposal Send writing assignments Day 45 Day 30 Day 20 Negotiate sub and team budgets Check in Collect sub and Issue deadlines for text with sub and team narratives and paperwork team on campus Day 0-5 Day 7 Day 10 Day 15 G&C Submit Budget and forms Sub-contractor paperwork submits narrative submitted—all completed and in to G&C paperwork completed except for the narrative Everyone has a plan—until they get punched in the face. Mike Tyson Alert G&C Communication and Task Timeline you’re submitting! RFP, RFA, FOA, BAA To compete or not to compete? Day 60—LOI or preproposal accepted Initial planning and teambuilding Start writing proposal Send writing assignments Day 45 Day 30 Day 20 Negotiate sub and team budgets Check in Collect sub and Issue deadlines for text with sub and team narratives and paperwork team on campus Day 0 Day 5 Day 10 Day 15 G&C Check in w/ Budget and forms Sub-contractor paperwork submits G&C submitted—all completed and in to G&C Final proposal paperwork completed to G&C except for the narrative It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law Hofstadter’s Law by Douglas Hofstadter Budget categories • Personnel, e.g., grad students, postdocs, etc. – Salaries and wages – Fringe benefits • Materials and supplies • Travel • Equipment • Other items • Indirect costs Budget highlights • Simpler the better • Smaller the better • Use real salaries and fringe rates of real people if possible • If the budget does not correspond to the two items below it won’t get funded: – Agency guidelines—in-range – Scope of work • Matching costs requirements (sometimes) Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Murphy’s Law When to read the RFP, RFA, FOA BAA: • When you first know it exists • Then read it again • CALL THE PROGRAM MANAGER! • Before you submit your LOI or pre- proposal • After your pre-prop is accepted • Halfway through the proposal writing • Five days before submission day How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Roles • G&C staff: grants.gov-ify your budget and help with matching costs, collect your documents and put them in grants.gov THEY KNOW THE RULES BETTER THAN YOU DO. • You (me): communicate regularly with principals, prepare killer narrative, and also refs, biosketch, facilities and equipment, COI, C&P, summary, collaboration letters, etc. Send docs to G&C staff as soon as they are finalized. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear Mark Twain Ethical considerations • It is bad manners to invite someone to join your proposal then un-invite. • It is misconduct to include a collaborator’s preliminary data, text, ideas and then un-invite; e.g., if it didn’t get submitted in one competition and you submit it during another competition. • It is also misconduct to use information in proposals (yours with collaborators) or others for purposes other than those intended—they are confidential documents. Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching. Unknown Proposal maxims Chances are your proposal won’t be funded. It most definitely won’t be funded if not submitted. The reviewers’ main job is to find ways to eliminate proposals The best proposals win. The best proposals enthral reviewers in the first few pages. A proposal that has been thrown together in a few days looks like it. There can’t be too much preliminary data. There is no substitute for good ideas. Pick the best collaborators. Less is more. A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds Francis Bacon Comments on losing proposals* • “A convincing case about____ has not been made.” • “It wasn’t clear how ____ experiments will be done.” • “Relatively little detail is provided on how the investigators plan to…” • “Crafting of the proposal is poor. The arrangement is difficult to follow.” • “It is also not clear that the materials they have selected for study are optimal for this type of analysis.” • “Thus, the work is not particularly novel and the panel could not envision…” • “Yet this part of the proposal was the most poorly developed and explained and seemed like this research activity would be largely outsourced.” • “Overambitious…I doubt they can get the work completed…” *Please note that these are actual comments from my own proposals—just when I think I’ve made every mistake possible, I learn that I was mistaken. I failed my way to success Thomas Edison Advice • Competition: go where they ain’t. • Be a competitor. • Be a good collaborator and co-PI. • Above all, practice ethics. • Diversify your portfolio. • Use all the tools in your box.
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