Effective Strategies for Crafting Competitive Research Proposals for

  • Slides: 25
Download presentation
Effective Strategies for Crafting Competitive Research Proposals for External Funding Ms. Stephanie A. Korcheck

Effective Strategies for Crafting Competitive Research Proposals for External Funding Ms. Stephanie A. Korcheck Research Coordinator for Proposal Development College of Education Dr. Nicole Wagner Assistant Director, Office of Research Development Office of the Associate VP for Research

Workshop Objectives v Understand how crafting a research proposal is very different from creating

Workshop Objectives v Understand how crafting a research proposal is very different from creating other scholarly works v Learn the critical things you must do as you craft your proposal v Leave with specific, practical strategies to make your proposal more compelling to funders Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 2

What are the major differences between preparing a journal article and preparing a research

What are the major differences between preparing a journal article and preparing a research proposal? Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 3

Academic Writing Grant Writing Scholarly pursuit: Sponsor goals: individual passion service attitude Past oriented:

Academic Writing Grant Writing Scholarly pursuit: Sponsor goals: individual passion service attitude Past oriented: Future oriented: work that has been done work that should be done Theme-centered: Project-centered: theory and thesis objectives and activities Expository rhetoric: Persuasive rhetoric: explaining to the reader “selling” to the reader Impersonal tone: Personal tone: objective, dispassionate conveys excitement Individualistic: Team-focused: primarily a solo activity feedback needed Few length constraints: Length constraints: verbosity is rewarded brevity rewarded Specialized terminology: Accessible language: insider jargon easily understood Porter, 2007 Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 4

What is the first and most important rule of preparing your proposal? Strategies for

What is the first and most important rule of preparing your proposal? Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 5

Know your Funder v. Strategic Plan v. Mission/Funding Priorities v. Awarded Projects v. Review

Know your Funder v. Strategic Plan v. Mission/Funding Priorities v. Awarded Projects v. Review Process and Panel Members Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 6

Stay Current Ø Develop a system to discover news and RFAs at the earliest

Stay Current Ø Develop a system to discover news and RFAs at the earliest possible time – Subscribe to funder newsletters, announcements, press releases – Attend webinars – Grant Resources Center (GRC) “Annual Deadlines” – Community of Science – Pivot tracks opportunities; shows anticipated due dates Ø Serve as a reviewer Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 7

Digging Deeper – Awarded Projects Ø Spend 1 -2 days screening databases of what’s

Digging Deeper – Awarded Projects Ø Spend 1 -2 days screening databases of what’s already been funded • Federal Re. PORTER database: https: //federalreporter. nih. gov/Projects/Smart. Search • NIH Re. PORTER database: https: //projectreporter. nih. gov/reporter. cfm • NSF Award Search: www. nsf. gov/awardsearch/index. jsp • USDA Current Research Information System (CRIS): http: //cris. nifa. usda. gov/ Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 8

Who’s Reading Your Proposal? v In many cases three people - a primary reviewer,

Who’s Reading Your Proposal? v In many cases three people - a primary reviewer, a secondary reviewer, and a tertiary reviewer will be assigned to review your full application. • Everyone else on the panel will ONLY receive your Abstract/Project Summary • “Seasoned grant reviewers will admit to making up their minds on the first page” (Porter, 2005) NIH Video - “Peer Review Revealed” https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=f. BDx. I 6 l 4 d. OA Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 9

All funded research begins with a good idea… Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals –

All funded research begins with a good idea… Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 10

Critical Considerations v. Be passionate about your project v. It’s all about the “so

Critical Considerations v. Be passionate about your project v. It’s all about the “so what? ” for potential funders v. Multidisciplinary approach v. Think big! Think grandiosely! Your project will change the world! Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 11

Preparing Your Proposal v. Do you have enough time? v. Step 1 v. Step

Preparing Your Proposal v. Do you have enough time? v. Step 1 v. Step 2 v. Step 3 v. Proposal Checklist v. General Writing Style Guide Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 12

Before You Start Writing… v. Create a Work Plan v. List how your project

Before You Start Writing… v. Create a Work Plan v. List how your project directly relates to what you know about the funder using their language v. Note repetitive words/phrases in program guidelines & application instructions v. Email program officer a threeparagraph summary of your project’s “so what? ” Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 13

What are the most important components of a proposal? Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals

What are the most important components of a proposal? Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 14

Project Title v Identify words/phrases that emphasize project’s “so what? ” and novelty v

Project Title v Identify words/phrases that emphasize project’s “so what? ” and novelty v Use identified words/phrases to create several titles § 10 words or less § Don’t waste words – “A Study of…” § Know your audience re: jargon § Look at titles of funded projects v Ask colleagues and family/friends to help winnow list and refine Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 15

Project Title (continued) v Use Short Title in place of “this study” or “this

Project Title (continued) v Use Short Title in place of “this study” or “this proposal” in your narrative v Examples § Studies on the Development of Objective Techniques for Monitoring the Development of Visual Acuity in Infants vs. Visual Acuity in Infants: Objective Monitoring of its Development Short Title: Visual Acuity in Infants § Project SUPERB: Scholars Using Psychology and Education to Reach Bilinguals § Sober. Cats Smartphone App to Decrease Binge Drinking in College Students Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 16

Abstract and 1 st Page v Most important… hardest, most time-consuming to craft v

Abstract and 1 st Page v Most important… hardest, most time-consuming to craft v Need to “grab” reviewers, create enthusiasm! v Succinct, compelling descriptions in abstract § Problem/need your project addresses and why it is important – situate in current literature but don’t over-cite § How you will conduct the research – research questions/goals, research design (methods, data analysis & interpretation) § Significance & impact (so what? ) – inform the literature, benefit participants, broader impact by changing policy and practice Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 17

Follow the Instructions! v If necessary, repeat Steps 1 -3 on slide 8 v

Follow the Instructions! v If necessary, repeat Steps 1 -3 on slide 8 v Pay attention to the details – formatting requirements, page limits, required vs. optional documents v Narrative – present the required information in the order they request it § Even if you don’t like it, think it doesn’t flow well, or want to use a different order § Use their headings § Why? Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 18

Do. Or do not. There is no try. v Don’t use language that raises

Do. Or do not. There is no try. v Don’t use language that raises doubts about your ability to complete the project v Be confident, positive, and definitive about what you will do, how you will do it, what you will accomplish § Sober. Cats will examine… We plan/intend to examine…. § Project SUPERB’s findings will… It is expected that Project SUPERB’s findings will… § Avoid conditional words – but, if, however § Use active voice – no forms of “be” (am, is, was, were, are, been) passive: The project team is planning to… active: The project team will… Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 19

Important Tips v Appearance and layout matter § White space – allows reader to

Important Tips v Appearance and layout matter § White space – allows reader to “rest” § Headings/subheadings – help reader mentally organize your project’s components v Use a footer – see Work Plan and Style Guide for example v Bad/inconsistent grammar, spelling, and punctuation will distract reader from substance of proposal v Research Coordinator will proof final draft Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 20

Most Common Mistakes v Poor writing style Ø vague and unfocussed v Mistakes in

Most Common Mistakes v Poor writing style Ø vague and unfocussed v Mistakes in spelling and grammar Ø encountered frequently when PI does not allocate sufficient time to prepare application Ø reviewers assume that sloppy errors will translate into research v Prose that is too densely academic Ø written like a journal paper Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 21

Resources v College Research Coordinators v Office of Research Development – http: //www. txstate.

Resources v College Research Coordinators v Office of Research Development – http: //www. txstate. edu/research/for-researchers. html – Proposal planning and writing resources – Do’s and don’ts of talking with program officers v ORD-Sponsored Workshops – Once each semester – Focus on federal agencies (e. g. , NSF in January 2016) v Colleagues who have been funded Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 22

Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 23

Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 23

Questions? Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 24

Questions? Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 24

PRESENTER INFORMATION Dr. Nicole Wagner Assistant Director, Office of Research Development Office of the

PRESENTER INFORMATION Dr. Nicole Wagner Assistant Director, Office of Research Development Office of the Associate VP for Research n_w [email protected] edu; 512 -245 -2314 http: //www. txstate. edu/research/ Ms. Stephanie A. Korcheck Research Coordinator for Proposal Development Office of Research and Sponsored Programs College of Education sk [email protected] edu; 512 -245 -2041 http: //www. education. txstate. edu/orsp/ Strategies for Crafting Competitive Proposals – March 29, 2016 25