0 Facilitating Large and Complex Proposal Efforts

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					Facilitating Large and Complex
Proposal Efforts for Universities
Why Are Large and Complex
Proposals Different?

They usually involve multiple:
   –   Investigators
   –   Disciplines
   –   Departments
   –   Colleges
   –   Campuses
   –   Institutions
   –   International components
   –   Site visits
Why Are They Difficult?

   Significant resources need to be dedicated to
    reach submission
   Extremely competitive environment
   Multi-disciplinary projects mean participants
    need to learn each others ―language and culture‖
   Trust needs to be built over time -- short time
    frames stress the process
   They can be high risk, high yield, high profile
   Complexities abound within the scope of work,
    budget, management
Is there one model or size to assist
the process?

   No one model or size fits all environments

   Institutions and their cultures approach the
    challenge differently

   Commonalities exist for us to learn best
    practices and adapt those to our environment
Our Approach to this Challenge

   Provide centralized support for large and
    complex proposal submissions
   Office reports directly to VPR and works with
    pre- and post-award, compliance, foundation
   Provide dedicated space – offices, war room
   If the project is also a limited competition we
    manage the selection process OR decide on a
    strategic set aside
   Relationship building with partners and ―power
Research Development Services Office

   Assess viability for large and complex research
   Assemble research teams and work directly with PI et
   Provide ongoing support for proposal preparation
    and planning
   Provide guidance and establishes timelines
   Provide editorial and graphics support
   Coordinate red team reviews, site visits
   Assist with management planning
   Assist with evaluation and assessment plans
   Assist with budget forecasting and development
Factors to Consider

   Identify a strong faculty lead with knowledge,
    stature/credibility, commitment and time
   Have champions - Chair, Dean, VP, Provost
   Establish realistic timeframes to develop a
    competitive proposal and for ―red team‖ and editorial
   Establish a complete understanding and agreement
    on the RFP requests
   Have firm commitments for cost share, infrastructure
    support, space
Remember the human nature

People will ask what is in it for me???
Who gets credit and recognition?
Who gets the F&A?
Who controls the budget?
Who controls the resources?
Addressing administrative issues

   Establish submission timelines
   Garner commitment from participants to adhere
    to timelines
   Establish robust communication among
    colleagues (meetings, listserv, website)
   Define responsibilities for writing, research, and
    budgeting and the final draft
   Identify and respond to all proposal
Are there special considerations
for large and complex projects?

   Subcontracting – Partners (industry/business, intl’,
   Multiple research activities – how do they interrelate
   Education Plans – recruitment, retention, pipeline,
    curriculum development, new degrees, etc.
   Outreach Component – community relationships
   Data Dissemination Plan
   Evaluation and Assessment Plan – outcomes,
   Diversity Plan
   Management Plan
Some Pitfalls to Avoid

   Failure to articulate an integrated scope of work
   Failure to integrate proposal into a single voice
   Weak partnerships
   Weak management plan
   Unrealistic budget
   Lack of/or weak letters of commitment and
Helping with site visits

Remember what they are all about…
     It is an inspection and examination
     Project, individual and team, and
      institution is under the microscope
Can you walk the talk???

Answer unaddressed questions
Clearly illustrate strengths and capabilities
Show that the PI is the expert in charge
Showcase the team as a ―well-oiled
Show the University administration is fully
  on board
How RDS helps with the site visit

Prepare in advance for the site visit
   Discussion meetings and conference
   Convene a complete rehearsal

   Assure all key individuals and partners
    are available and prepared to participate
   Provide background data on site team
Thank You

      Denise Wallen

   Difficult to encourage working across traditional
    subject matter boundaries
    e.g., engineers in clinical areas, psychologists in
    the military, social scientists in the life sciences
   Silo thinking - lack of ability to envision the
    application of research interests and tools to
    different questions

Getting the Ball Rolling

   Overcoming fear of embarrassment and
   Getting folks talking to each other–does beer
   We’ve always done it this way. Why change?
Getting the Ball Rolling

   Letting faculty know about the wide range
    of available solicitations – they tend to
    keep knocking on the same doors
   Convincing faculty to start early
   Letting faculty know what resources are
    available on campus
Getting the Ball Rolling

   Interceding early with help in application
    preparation logistics
   Release of faculty time to work in groups
   Negotiating small seed funds within the
   Be available to help or find help for those
    who want to try

   Large multidisciplinary grants nearly always
    have a site visit
   Agencies using reverse site visits more and
    –   Proposal team goes to the locale of the funding
        agency (usually DC vicinity)
    –   More likely if resources are not critical for
    –   Make sure you bring along any props you need

   Rehearse—several times!!
   Make sure that there is a dress rehearsal
   Gather a sophisticated audience–invite
    folks from other institutions
   If you can afford it, hire a company that
    trains for site visits
   Select your presenters carefully–don’t do
    a cast of thousands but have all available
    to answer questions
SITE VISITS at Your Place

   Make sure time is carefully planned but
    remain flexible
   Visitors may throw a monkey wrench into
    your plans and you must go along
   Visitors may not want to see all you wish
    to show them. Don’t be surprised
SITE VISITS at Your Place

   Visitors may surprise you by asking to
    see something or someone
    unexpectedly–try to accommodate them
   Plan some time for site visitors to meet
    with students who might be involved in
    the project. Enthusiastic students are
    always a plus

   Try to have someone with a sense of
    humor and a pleasant personality leading
    the site visit on the campus side
   Involve senior administrators who can
    attest to their support for and the
    importance of the project for your campus
   The first few minutes can set the tone for
    the rest of the session and can result in a
    winner or a loss.
Multidisciplinary collaborations benefit
   Mutual interests, consensus on common (delimited) topic
   Developing a common vocabulary
   Opportunities to interact – colloquia, research reviews,
   Shared resources, infrastructure
   New organizational units – non-departmental centers, institutes,
    research parks
   Trust & flexibility; charismatic leadership; mutual management
   New models for collaborations
   Access to scholarly publications & data
   Access to funding & resources - money goes to best ideas and
    these tend more and more to require multidisciplinary partnering
   Visionary administrators; strong institutional support
Individual & institutional challenges

   Promotion and tenure –
    recognizing contributions
    of all parties
   Specialization vs. synthesis
   Space assignments
   F & A recovery distribution
   Sponsored project credit
   Administrators
    understanding of benefits
   Infrastructure for
Multidisciplinary Proposal
Development Team:

 To enable greater collaboration among researchers from
  different disciplines and colleges,
 To assist them to develop competitive proposals, and
 To facilitate continued program-building activities and
  follow-on funding
   RD director; RD analyst; senior writer/editor;
    outside contract workers, if needed
What do we do?
•   Facilitates preliminary meetings with potential researchers
•   Helps identify additional collaborators (esp. early career faculty)
•   Explores ways to make project fit sponsors program
•   Facilitates proposal planning, preparation, university boilerplate
•   Assists with communication links,
      e.g., listservers, conference calls, meetings
•   Runs interference with chairs, deans (commitments)
•   Assists with management plan; budget development
•   Reviews and edits proposal drafts; organizes red team reviews
•   Assists in inter-institutional partnerships and major university
      research centers – UC Research Development Group
•   Helps locate seed, supplemental or follow-on funding
UCSB Case Study: Bio-inspired Materials,
Biosensors and Information Processing

   UC Biotechnology Research & Training
    Grant Program ($200K over 4 years)

   DoD DURIP for shared instrumentation
UCSB Case Study: Bio-inspired Materials,
Biosensors and Information Processing

   DoD MURI: Bio-inspired
    design and fabrication of new
    materials and devices

   W.M. Keck Fdn Science &
    Ecotechnology of Coral Reef

All of which eventually contributed to 
Army UARC: Institute for
Collaborative Biotechnologies

   UCSB-led collaboration with MIT, CalTech
   Interdisciplinary teams of molecular biologists,
    chemists, physicists and engineers
   ~$50M+ over 5 years
   Four areas of emphasis (and growing):
    –   Biomolecular Sensors
    –   Bio-inspired Materials and Energy
    –   BioDiscovery Tools
    –   Bio-inspired Network Science

   14 industry partners, including Aerospace Corp,
    CytomX, Dell, Mitre Corp, Raytheon Vision Systems,
    Veeco Instruments
Some considerations:
   Know your faculty
     – Faculty orientations
     – Expertise databases
     – Google search in your .edu domain
     – Brown bag lunches on selected topics
     – Attend symposia/research reviews in areas ripe
       for interdisciplinary collaborations
   Build around faculty interests
     – Stay connected to research-intensive faculty
     – Mediated fund searches
     – seed funding (e.g., internal, SGER, R21,
More considerations:

   Build on your institutions strengths
    –   e.g., physics, materials, marine/environmental sciences
    –   Consider social science & humanities perspective
        in natural science & engineering ppls

   Organize around specific funding opportunities…
    –   NSF Partnerships for International Research & Education
    –   DoD Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (MURI)
    –   NEH Collaborative Projects
    –   NIH Exploratory Centers for Interdisciplinary Research

        …but make sure PIs are passionate about the topic
        and willing to commit to work at the proposal stage
More considerations:

   Organize workshops/symposia around specific topics

    e.g., climate change, nanotechnology, energy efficiency, whatever…
          working with industry, intellectual property/technology transfer;
          keys to foundation funding
          broader impacts
          effective management structures for large initiatives
          program evaluation & assessment

        Invite agency program officers to participate

   Be visible!

Shared By:
Dr. Slord Suniverse Dr. Slord Suniverse Research Director
About Life is short. Talk is cheap. Results matter.