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stewart_writing_winning_grant_proposals

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					      PEER Presentation
Writing winning grant proposals:

                         Neal Stewart
                     nealstewart@utk.edu
                           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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posted:11/19/2012
language:English
pages:24