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MANAGING GRANT OPPORTUNITIES. Michelle Schoenecker University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee March 15, 2013. Purpose of Presentation Identify/discuss best practices of grant searching and dissemination

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Managing grant opportunities


Michelle Schoenecker

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

March 15, 2013

Managing grant opportunities

  • Purpose of Presentation

    • Identify/discuss best practices of grant searching and dissemination

    • Focus on developing structure/processes for managing the opportunities we find and that faculty want

    • Share experiences and learn from each other

Managing grant opportunities

  • Out of Scope

    • Identification of free/paid search engines

    • How to use search engines

    • Comparison of subscription services

      • Features, benefits, tools, cost

    • Recommendations for subscription services

      • Every institution is unique

Who are you helping and how do you help them
Who are you helping and how do you help them?

Managing grant opportunities

  • What is the scope of your situation?

  • Who are you helping?

    • Small or large department?

    • School/college or entire campus?

    • Junior, middle, or senior faculty?

    • Attitudes/expectations?

      • Institution or department philosophy

      • Faculty

    • Sponsored Programs Office: PreAward Focus

      • Is this part of a broader faculty mentoring effort?

Managing grant opportunities

Managing grant opportunities

  • What do I need to know to meet these needs? search?

    • General or specific understanding of their research?

    • Where do I obtain information?

  • How do I organize/maintain the information?

    • Format: Excel? Access? Word doc? HTML?

    • Online tools?

    • Who should have access to information?

    • Archiving: How long do I keep information?

Managing grant opportunities

  • The Big Challenges for RAs search?

    • T I M E

      • Pre-award staff juggle multiple responsibilities

      • Searching can be very time-consuming

      • Searching is easily usurped by more immediate tasks

      • Searching may be given to student workers

        • Quality issues with content, format, accuracy

      • Preparing and sending information

      • Recordkeeping/maintenance

Managing grant opportunities

  • Knowledge Base search?

    • Unfamiliarity with topic(s)

    • Too much information to know

  • Budget

    • Paid subscriptions are costly (Pivot, IRIS)

    • Tools are costly (MyWebGrants)

    • Staff is costly

  • Return on Investment

    • Quantitative: App/win ratio? Financial threshold?

    • Qualitative: Service delivery? Client satisfaction?

Managing grant opportunities

  • GOAL: Manage Opportunities search?Effectively

    • Search efficiently

      • Know the right sponsors

      • Know your sources for information

      • Know your faculty’s research, if necessary

    • Record and archive wisely

      • Make it easy to use

      • Make it accessible

    • Don’t recreate the wheel

      • Create/modify templates

      • Research what other institutions are doing/share tools

Managing grant opportunities

Managing grant opportunities

  • Early-Stage Faculty search?

    • Inexperienced

      • May be unfamiliar with funding sources/programs that benefit early-stage investigators

      • Little to no proposal development experience

    • Highly Motivated

      • Must get tenure

      • Shoot at everything and hope to hit something

      • Need strategic planning/mentoring

Managing grant opportunities

  • Experienced Faculty search?

    • Established funding track record

    • Established contacts (colleagues, program officers)

    • Familiar with federal/private funding sources and programs, but don’t keep up with changes

    • Seek sustainability

      • Sustain current projects

      • Seed funding for new projects

      • Leverage expertise in large-scale grant projects

Managing grant opportunities

Managing grant opportunities

  • Know Faculty Members’ Primary Sponsors and Programs search?


      • Early investigator/career; mentored; pilot/seed funding; clinical trials; centers/institutes

    • Investigate unlikely sponsors

      • DoD funds medical research

      • NIH funds polymer research for drug applications

      • NSF and DoD fund large-scale instrumentation for non-clinical applications

Managing grant opportunities

  • Go to the Well: search?Manual searching

    • Sponsor Web sites

      • Less-robust search functions; fewer options

    • Free databases (e.g.,, FedBizOpps, internal)

      • More robust functionality due to scope

    • Paid subscription databases (e.g., Pivot, SciVal)

      • Highly robust functionality; extensive customization

Managing grant opportunities

  • Benefits of the Well search?

    • Allows for very refined/granular search

    • May find links/references to new sources

    • Increased knowledge/familiarity with sponsor

    • Better organization

  • Drawbacks of the Well

    • Can be very time-consuming

    • Difficult for busy offices/departments

Managing grant opportunities

  • Turn on the Faucet: search?Auto-aggregation/ Notification Services

    • Free or a feature of paid subscription service

    • Typically just a list with no additional functionality (sorting, bookmarking) unless generated by a paid subscription service

    • Pre-determined frequency

    • Reliable, easy to use, accurate

    • “Hands-free” approach

Managing grant opportunities

  • Types of search?Free Faucets

    • Government-wide

      • Federal Register

      • Grants.Gov

      • FedBizOpps

    • Agency-specific

      • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs(CDMRP/US Dept. of Defense)


    • Public Service

      • ScanGrants

Managing grant opportunities

  • Paid aggregation search?subscriptions offer to do all the work for you

    • Finding

    • Alerting

    • Organizing

    • Reporting/predicting

    • Archiving

    • Awards

Managing grant opportunities

  • Examples of Paid Subscription search?Services

    • SciVal

    • Community of Science/Pivot

    • InfoEd/SPIN

    • ResearchResearch

    • Foundation Center

    • Grant Spy

    • Grant Forward (formerly IRIS)

  • In-house databases (Arizona State, NU)

Managing grant opportunities

  • Domain-Specific search?

    • National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions

    • State Science and Technology Institute Weekly Digest (SSTI)

    • HNet (Humanities & Social Sciences Online)

    • FundSource (behavioral/social science)

    • Grants Alert System (for grants that serve non-profits and citizens in Illinois)

Managing grant opportunities

  • Value of search?Paid Subscription Services

    • Save time

    • Broad access and distribution

    • Save money?

      • Reduce staff?

      • Improve efficiency?

    • Improve win rate?

    • Increase faculty satisfaction?

Managing grant opportunities

  • Benefits of the Faucet search?

    • Receive notices from the agencies/orgs of your choice

    • Set parameters once and change as needed

      • Keyword list

    • Faster and easier to sift through a collection of opportunities

    • Repetition can help make sure you didn’t miss important opportunities

  • Drawbacks of the Faucet

    • Easy to put aside; easy to scan through too fast

    • Can be easy to miss a good match

    • Deadlines can be too close

    • Repetition bores the mind; easy to disregard

Managing grant opportunities

  • Drawbacks of the Faucet search?

    • Overlapping/repetitive information

    • Price

    • Free services lack useful features/online tools

    • Accuracy in paid subscriptions – better to go directly to the source?

Managing grant opportunities

  • What search?Data do I Need to Keep?

    • Keywords

    • Program titles

    • Sponsors

    • Deadlines

    • Faculty distribution

      • Individual

      • Department/college/school

      • Date sent

Managing grant opportunities

  • What search?Data do I Need to Keep?

    • Recurring opportunities

    • Limited submissions

    • Applications based on distribution

    • Awards and/or rejections

    • Web sites

    • List of free subscription services that you receive (e.g.,; NSF Update, NIH Update)

Managing grant opportunities

  • Where do I Keep the Data? search?

    • Excel® and Access® databases

      • Easy to categorize, sort, query, generate reports

      • Low-cost

      • Advanced knowledge helpful

    • Homegrown/internal systems

    • Full-service subscription service

      • Generate reports when needed

    • Email folders

      • Sponsor, faculty, dept., deadlines, etc.

Managing grant opportunities

Managing grant opportunities

  • How Long Should I Archive the Data? search?

    • Why should you keep it?

      • Topic trending

      • Faculty documentation for tenure

      • Recycle recurring opportunity announcements

        • Create templates and boilerplate content

      • Metrics to determine ROI

        • Volume

        • Application/win rates

        • Faculty satisfaction (surveys)

        • Assess effectiveness of paid subscription services

Managing grant opportunities

  • Determine how faculty prefer to receive opportunities search?

    • Visit a Web site?

      • Your institution’s? The sponsor’s?

    • Receive an email or e-newsletter that you created?

    • Forward sponsor’s/vendor’s email w/aggregated list?

    • All of the above?

    • Make sure the method is manageable for you and effective for faculty

Managing grant opportunities

  • Do search?not waste faculty members’ time

    • Send only relevant opportunities

    • Do not send too many, too often

    • Briefly summarize the most important information

    • Create a format that is easy to skim

    • Include links to full solicitation, program Web page, and other relevant sources

    • Solicit feedback often – are you providing the right kinds of opportunities?

Managing grant opportunities

  • Entice faculty members to read your information search?

    • Use language and formatting strategies (keywords, headers, boldface, underline, bulleted lists, numbering)

    • Use lots of white space to increase readability

    • Maintain standard format for consistency, familiarity

    • Use templates and boilerplate content when possible

Managing grant opportunities

  • Provide ample lead time before the deadline search?

    • Keep track of deadlines

    • Keep a record of distributions

    • Send reminders

      • Determine preferred frequency

      • Remind yourself!

  • Stay on top of searching and distributing

    • Make it a priority

    • Easy to let it get away from you

    • Hard to catch up

Managing grant opportunities

  • Summary search?

    • Determine the scope of grant searching for your institution

    • Understand your faculty and their needs for the information

    • Determine if the well or faucet is best for your institution and faculty

    • Determine if you want to pay for comprehensive services

Managing grant opportunities

  • Summary, continued search?

    • Create a database of information based on the metrics that you want to track and report

    • Create informative, but easy to read templates

    • Make grant opps a priority to avoid falling behind and missing great opportunities for faculty

Managing grant opportunities

Questions? search?

Michelle Schoenecker

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee