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Preparing Great Grant Proposals!. Dr. Kristi H. Martines Director of Grant Development NKU, Research, Grants & Contracts. NKU Routing Form Mandatory (handout 1). http://rgc.nku.edu see “routing form link” at bottom BUDGET CONTACT Mary Ucci (x5768) – after her approval

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preparing great grant proposals

Preparing Great Grant Proposals!

Dr. Kristi H. Martines

Director of Grant Development

NKU, Research, Grants & Contracts

nku routing form mandatory handout 1
NKU Routing Form Mandatory(handout 1)

http://rgc.nku.edu see “routing form link” at bottom

  • BUDGET CONTACT Mary Ucci (x5768) – after her approval
  • Signatures of Chair AND Dean are required
  • Return form to RGC so that Signature of Authorized Institutional Rep. (Dr. Carole Beere) is obtained by RGC)

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY THE PROPOSAL IS DUE TO CALL RGC!

types of proposals
Types of Proposals
  • Letters of Intent to Apply
  • Letters of Inquiry
  • Pre-proposals
  • Full Proposals

*REGARDLESS of the TYPE of proposal, read the funding agency’s guidelines before you prepare anything!

funding agencies
Funding Agencies
  • Agencies differ on their method of:
    • Submission
      • NSF requires FastLane
      • NIH is working on NIH Commons
    • Required forms
      • All Federal sources require several forms

*You can not wait until the last minute to put these forms together – RGC will provide help in filling in and answering these forms!

the overall plan of a proposal
The Overall Plan of A Proposal
  • Develop the Idea
  • Establish the Need
  • Develop a Problem Statement
  • Plan to address the problems with goals and objectives (which relate directly to the...
  • Action Plan
  • Evaluation
  • Budget
  • Letters of Commitment (NOT SUPPORT)
developing an idea
Developing an Idea!
  • What kind of project would you like to conduct?
  • What are your funding priorities?
    • Research: what does that mean?
    • Instruction/Training
    • Service
    • Equipment
finding a funding source
Finding A Funding Source
  • Where to look?
  • Go to http://rgc.nku.edu (look at

“Funding Opportunities, then “External Sources”)

      • SPIN
      • SMARTS (handout 2)
finding a funding source 2
Finding A Funding Source (2)
  • Grant Select
  • RGC : contact the RGC office for

searches specific to projects you would

like to conduct

  • Does that source fit your project. The #1 complaint among reviewers is that the PI didn’t read the directions – wasting your time and theirs!
finding a funding source 21
Finding A Funding Source (2)
  • NOW, DO YOUR HOMEWORK
  • Does your project, it’s goals and your plan fit what the agency wants to fund?
once you ve found a source
Once You’ve Found A Source...
  • Breakdown the requirements of the grant into bullet (or outline) format – review several times so as not to miss anything.
  • Use THEIR wording in your headings (e.g., if they say “objectives”, don’t give them “goals”
establishing a need
Establishing a Need

*What is your “target population”?

  • Who do you want to serve? – regardless of your project, the organizations funding you want to know how they will be helping others?
  • They will also want to know what they are getting out of it (more later).
establishing a need 2
Establishing a Need(2)
  • Once you know who you want to help, you will have to find proof that the target population needs help!
  • RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
  • RGC has some info on Kentucky and the US.
  • Check with Office of Institutional Research for NKU-specific numbers
problem statement
Problem Statement

Now that you have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish, who it will help, and how it will help, you can make a “problem statement” (a paragraph) that sums this up!

goals objectives
Goals & Objectives
  • Many grant proposals label the same items in different ways… but in your plan to address the problem, you will state your goals and objectives and what specific actions you will take to address these. This is a good place for a summary table (handout 3).
action plan
Action Plan
  • Action Plan must match the goals/objectives!
  • Can not be too ambitious, it must be attainable and it must be measurable (next class!).
effective writing
Effective Writing

You must mean what you say and say what you mean. Every person (at least on the 3rd draft) feels as though their writing is poetry – it’s NOT!

Have another two or three people read for content, language, spelling, grammar, and nonsense!

The 15 minute Test

persuasiveness and active voice
Persuasiveness and Active Voice
  • The grant needs to sound active and proactive.
  • Weak writing, with too many unnecessary words

leaves the reviewer dozing off.

  • Keep it lively, with graphs and charts.
  • Leave page limit to a minimum!
the world today
The World Today
  • Money is tighter than ever before – your proposal must stand out!
  • There is a growing demand for projects dealing with
    • Homeland Security
    • Bioterrorism
    • Math and Science Education
    • “Bridging the Gaps” in All Types of Education
    • Among Others...
formative vs summative evaluations
Formative vs. Summative Evaluations
  • Formative Evaluation: Making progress toward achieving its objectives.
  • Summative Evaluation: Achieving its objectives at the end of the project period.
external evaluation
External Evaluation
  • What is an external evaluation?
  • Why is it important?
sustainability
Sustainability
  • How will your project continue after the money dries up?
  • There are few if any grant programs (public or private) who will NOT ask this question.
  • How will you sustain your project?
sustainability1
Sustainability
  • Saying that you will “apply” for more grants is not enough!
  • Buy in – NKU, others??
budget development
Budget Development
  • What EXACTLY are you looking to accomplish. You should answer this before you start looking for a funding agency!
  • If you know what you want to accomplish, you can find an agency who matches your goals as well as your budget!
budget development1
Budget Development
  • What can you ask for?
    • Reassign time (and benefits)
    • Equipment
    • Research supplies
    • Travel
    • Student Stipends
    • INDIRECT COSTS
  • RGC has examples (and spreadsheets for budgets)
budget development2
Budget Development
  • What are fringe benefits:

Staff = (salary x 0.15) + 3864

Faculty = (salary x 0.19) + 3864

  • And when you factor in summer, it gets more confusing!!!
  • SOLUTION…
budget development3
Budget Development
  • CALL Mary Ucci to get an idea of what your reassign time is worth!
  • After you have a budget together, you will need to review it with Mary Ucci before your chair, dean, and the authorized institutional representative will sign off on your proposal!
budget development4
Budget Development
  • The authorized institutional representative is Dr. Carole Beere, Associate Provost of Outreach and Dean of Graduate Studies.
  • She will approval a proposal to leave NKU (to be submitted) only after RGC has reviewed it.
budget development5
Budget Development
  • Matching policy
    • Mandatory
    • Documented evidence that matching monies will increase the chances of grant approval
why all the paperwork
Why all the paperwork?
  • There are many federal and Commonwealth laws – of which NKU rules (for external funding) are based on.
  • Some include the inability to use federal dollars as matching dollars for federal projects!
  • All rules that come out from NKU RGC are based on laws and best practices.
the abstract
The Abstract
  • Also called the “Executive Summary” is the last thing you write.
  • It is a 1-3 paragraph description of the project that succinctly describes the project.
  • It easiest to write it last after you have all of the specific details ironed out.
slide33
To write a successful grant, one of the most important things is to have a “unique” idea or a novel project. (See ornithologist example!)
  • Finding the right funding agency (best fit) is as important!
top 13 reasons why grants receive unfavorable reviews
Top 13 Reasons Why Grants Receive Unfavorable Reviews

13. Typos

12. Poor grammar

11. The use region-specific assumptions: You know what you’re talking about – unfortunately, they don’t! (bridge example)

10. Unclear writing! Too tired to hunt – reviewers can’t understand how the project you propose relates to the actual guidelines

top 13 reasons why grants receive unfavorable reviews1
Top 13 Reasons Why Grants Receive Unfavorable Reviews…

9. Budget does not relate to proposal objectives, budget too high, budget too low

8. Sloppy work

7. Establishing a need for the project

6. Evaluation – or lack thereof

5. No sustainability plan

4. Proposed project does not fit RFP – call Program Director

top 13 reasons why grants receive unfavorable reviews2
Top 13 Reasons Why Grants Receive Unfavorable Reviews…

3. Unreasonable goals

2. Duplication of efforts

1. LACK of PLANNING AHEAD: writing, etc

the use of region specific assumptions
The use of region-specific assumptions
  • You know what you’re talking about, but do they?

“This program is aimed at working with people north of the Bridge.”

“The CPu projects directly to the MFB, which projects finally to the SNpc”

  • It is vital that you know who your audience is!
  • Never assume that a “local” audience will understand
unclear writing
Unclear writing
  • Too tired to hunt – reviewers can’t understand how the project you propose relates to the actual guidelines
    • Match wording in program solicitation with proposal headings (handouts)
    • Uses “evaluation criteria” as best model
    • Comments from NKU faculty who have reviewed proposals
unclear writing1
Unclear Writing
  • NSF’s new requirement:

(1) the intellectual merit of the proposed activity; and

(2) the broader impacts resulting from the proposed activity.

effective writing1
Effective Writing

You must mean what you say and say what you mean. Every person (at least on the 3rd draft) feels as though their writing is poetry – it’s NOT!

Have another two or three people read for content, language, spelling, grammar, and nonsense!

unreal budget
Unreal Budget
  • While some granting agencies have salary caps, it is important to remember that the purpose of the grant money is to accomplish the project! (not necessarily to provide one with 50% reassign time)
  • Never undersell! Shipping, handling, per diem (rats), etc.
sloppy work
Sloppy Work
  • Believe it or not… several reviewers have commented on the low level of professionalism displayed in some proposals
    • Mislabeled figures, tables, appendices
    • Missing text
    • Section headers on last line of a page
    • No consistency in margins, spacing
    • Varying font type and size
slide43
Need

What is your “target population” ?

  • Who do you want to serve? – regardless of your project, the organizations funding you want to know how they will be helping others?
  • Funding agencies will also want to know what they are getting out of it.
slide44
Need
  • Once you know who you want to help, you will have to find proof that the target population needs help –or-
  • Proof that your project will be useful to science and society !
  • RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
evaluation
Evaluation
  • Many proposals do not have an adequate evaluation plan.
  • Formative Evaluation: Making progress toward achieving its objectives. Measures throughout the project.
  • Summative Evaluation: Achieving its objectives at the end of the project period.
evaluation1
Evaluation
  • What is an external evaluation?
  • Why is it important?
sustainability2
Sustainability
  • How will your project continue after the money dries up?
  • There are few if any grant programs (public or private) who will NOT ask this question.
  • How will you sustain your project?
sustainability programmatic
Sustainability (programmatic)
  • Saying that you will “apply” for more grants is not enough!
  • Buy in – NKU, others??
project does not fit the solicitation
Project does not fit the solicitation
  • Trying to be sneaky! - CCLI
  • Very, very important to discuss your project with a person at the funding agency before you write it up...
duplication of efforts
Duplication of Efforts
  • Important to determine if any local agencies have grants or contracts to do similar work - may need to reconsider submitting if duplication of effort is perceived.
  • If significant differences or improvements in the proposed project's goals can be clearly established, and a collaboration developed, chances for receiving funding increase.