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The nuts ‘n bolts of submitting a grant proposal…. Trish Lowney, Ph.D. Exe Dir, Office of Sponsored Programs osp.syr.edu | plowney@syr.edu | 113 Bowne Hall. Topics. Why pursue external funding How to find likely sponsors The Application Process Peer/Merit Review

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The nuts ‘n bolts of submitting a grant proposal…


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    1. The nuts ‘n bolts of submitting a grant proposal… Trish Lowney, Ph.D. Exe Dir, Office of Sponsored Programs osp.syr.edu | plowney@syr.edu | 113 Bowne Hall

    2. Topics • Why pursue external funding • How to find likely sponsors • The Application Process • Peer/Merit Review • Characteristics of a compelling application • Other important matters • Key Terms

    3. Why pursue external funding • Need more resources than have in hand to conduct or disseminate research • As a grad student – • Establish track record of success • As a post doc • Enables pursuit of *your* interests • Establish or build up track record • As a faculty member • Increase amount and pace of work can do • Train next generation of researchers / investigators • Tenure / promotion

    4. Proposal development lifecycle Obtain all application materials Idea Identify Sponsor Develop proposal Internal Feedback Internal Approvals Complete application – correct format Award OSP Submits Wait 6-9 months Do good & important Work

    5. How to find likely sponsors • Ask your advisor / colleagues who’ve come before you • Check out the acknowledgements section of your literature • Search Community of Science, Illinois Research Information Service • http://osp.syr.edu/Finding%20Funding/Search%20Engines/subscription-databases.html • Then – investigate promising leads….

    6. Investigating promising leads…. • Confirm that your interests / needs align with sponsor’s • How? • Review sponsor’s mission, current interest, topics.. • Review open FOAs • Review recent awards • ID who will shepherd at sponsor (program officer - PO) • CONTACT PO well in advance of deadline • ??s - Is program, mechanism appropriate for proposed project?? • Send ‘concept paper’ (see OSP website) • What are common proposal weaknesses • GOAL - Develop a relationship with this person…

    7. Promising leads…. Open FOAs – • Grants.gov – the central portal for federal financial assistance • Agency solicitations • NIH – The NIH Guide: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html • NSF – Find Funding: • http://www.nsf.gov/funding/ • USED IES – Funding Opportunities: • http://ies.ed.gov/funding/ • Sign up for electronic notification…

    8. Promising leads…. Recent awards • NIH • http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm • Includes study section/review panel group • Review who members are • NSF • http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/ • USED IES • http://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/index.asp • Get copies of funded applications… • Awarded folks might be future collaborators or colleagues!

    9. Sample FOA & solicitation • FOA • http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=3rhDMT8T98ZcFXGjCGG1MMqmdTBpBHflcWvDznWgTvL5FyGW2p9Y!240750350?oppId=44094&mode=VIEW • Instructions • Application (pdf ‘envelope’ decorated with attachments) • Linked Agency solicitation • http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-08-169.html • Agency /program-specific application instructions • FOA + solicitation + application instructions together = information you need to apply

    10. Instructions • NIH – SF424 (R&R) • http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm • NSF – the Grant Proposal Guide for FASTLANE • http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/gpg_index.jsp • USED IES • Not quite generic (varies with CFDA #) • http://ies.ed.gov/funding/ncer_rfas/readwrite.asp

    11. Instruction aids.. • Does OSP have summaries or checklists for sponsor’s instructions? • Yes – NIH, NSF • If not – ask if can be developed • Use of these summaries does not relieve you of obligation to know all information in application package.

    12. Proposal development lifecycle Obtain all application materials Idea Identify Sponsor Develop proposal Internal Feedback Internal Approvals Complete application – correct format Award OSP Submits Wait 6-9 months Do good & important Work

    13. The Application Process • READ FOA & instructions • This will take healthy chunk of time • Mechanics of submission • Internal routing & review process

    14. Application Instructions – common components • Summary (NIH - narrative; other ‘labels’) • Research Plan / Narrative / Description • Bibliography, references cited • Biographical sketches • Current & Pending support (NIH – JIT) • Budget & justification • Facilities, Resources, Equipment • Other stuff required or allowed • Follow instructions exactly – this is not time to be creative. Questions? Ask OSP or PO. • Let your narrative convey your enthusiasm, creativity, importance and innovation of your work

    15. Application components • Research Plan / Description • What you are going to do and how you will do it (among other things) • Budget • How much $$ you need • Budget is the financial expression of work plan • Understand sponsor’s award limits • NIH – direct costs • NSF, IES – total costs

    16. Sponsor award amounts • Direct costs, e.g., • R03 - $50k direct costs /yr for 2 years • R21 – max of $250k direct costs for 2 yrs • NIH then add IDC to this amount for total award • Total costs • Direct + indirect costs • $200k total costs = $137k direct costs for research • POINT: Funds available dictate amount of work can do..

    17. Mechanics of Submission • Grants.gov (NIH, (PHS), IES, others) • DO NOT REGISTER – unless award to individual • DO download the ‘application package’ • Sign up for ‘alerts’ for solicitation – things change and it’s your obligation to be aware of latest & greatest • OSP submits as authorized institutional rep • FASTLANE (NSF) • Ask OSP to create account – name, degree and year issued • Other processes • ProposalCentral? Paper? Specific website? • Work with OSP.

    18. Internal Routing and Review • Internal Routing and Review form • osp.syr.edu • Why do we care? • We are certifying to the accuracy, completeness, truthfulness of all materials, assuring compliance with all applicable federal regulations, and agreeing to comply with all applicable terms and conditions for award, among other things. • We need the fully signed IRR to do this (you do this too on IRR) • OSP service guidelines • http://osp.syr.edu/About%20Sponsored%20Programs/OSP%20Service%20Guidelines/OSP%20Service%20Guidelines.html

    19. Proposal development – • Plan on being finished 2 weeks before deadline • Work backwards from THAT internal deadline • Do you need materials from others? • Collaborators, advisors, mentors, references? • Inform asap, do as much prep work for them a possible • OSP will not submit application that names folks from whom we don’t have proper written permission • Non-SU individuals: letter of collaboration • Non-SU organizations: letter of commitment/consortium agreement • New collaboration form coming to help with FFATA requirements • Give yourself plenty of time • Have others read draft narratives (including Program Officer if you’ve budgeted time) • Your advisor and others need to ‘sign off’ on IRR

    20. Peer/Merit Review • Understand how your application will be reviewed • What’s the process used • Who are the reviewers • Is there anything unusual about your application what requires special consideration? • Suggest ad hoc reviews • Select appropriate review panel (NIH CSR) • Application must respond to review criteria

    21. Characteristics of a compelling application – clearly communicates • Great / Important idea! • Best approaches to take • Rationale for choices • Alternatives presented • Speed bumps identified • Qualified and capable applicant • All expertise needed for success is available • All resources needed for success are available

    22. Characteristics of a compelling application • “SO WHAT” conveyed… • Significance of idea • Context presented and consequences / impact of outcomes achieved • Significance of each aim • Analysis and interpretation of results (expected & unexpected) • Next steps presented

    23. Characteristics…. • Exciting, informative, importance / significance crystal clear • Easy to read • Avoid jargon (or clearly define) • Remember the reviewer • White space • Judicious use of cartoons, illustrations, tables etc (a picture is worth a thousand words) • Follow instructions – • Formatting errors  return without review

    24. Other important matters • Human Subjects • Animal Subjects • Financial Conflicts of Interest • Environmental Health and Safety

    25. Summary • Understand process • Plan ahead (time management) • Grant development – not to be done in isolation • Ask for input, help early & often • Every institution has an OSP (may have different names) – we’re available to help.

    26. Funding opps for grad students.. • F31- Pre-doctoral fellowships • http://grants.nih.gov/training/F_files_nrsa.htm • F32 – Postdoctoral fellowships • http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-110.html • Pathways to independence • http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-063.html • NSF- SBE Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants • http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=13453&org=NSF&sel_org=NSF&from=fund

    27. Key Terms • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) • How the federal gov’t communicates to public its interest in supporting a program ordinarily through grant or cooperative agreement • HOW: Find Grants.gov and agency sites • NIH – Types of FOAs: Program announcement (PA (and PAR / PAS)), Request for Applications (RFA) • NSF - Types of FOAs: Dear Colleague Letter, Program Description, Program Announcement, Program Solicitation • Financial Assistance • Awards that transfer money, property, or services to a recipient so that it can accomplish a public purpose. Has a catalogue of federal domestic assistance number (CFDA no)

    28. Key Terms • Grant • Legal instrument for a type of financial assistance – award to institution or individual; ordinarily incorporates provisions from OMB circulars (Office of Mngt & Budget) – A-110, A-21, A-113 • Cooperative Agreement • Variation on grant award; has significant involvement /engagement / oversight of agency program officer • Procurement • Awards that transfer money to a recipient so that it can address a need or purpose for the benefit the agency. – Agency presents specifications, deliverables etc

    29. Key Terms • Contract • Legal instrument for procurement; provisions governed by Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) • Sponsored Program • At SU – any activity supported by a third party through any legal instrument with SU with period of performance. Managed by Office of Sponsored Programs • Program officer (or manager, director) • Individual at agency / sponsor who is responsible for overseeing technical aspects of award. Ordinarily is not authorized to obligate agency or funds on behalf of sponsor.

    30. Key Terms • Grant or contract officer • Individual at agency / sponsor who is responsible for administrative/contractual aspects of award. Is authorized to obligate agency or funds on behalf of sponsor. • Principal investigator (or Project Director) • Individual at SU who is responsible for overseeing technical aspects of award. Is not authorized to obligate SU resources. • Authorized Institutional Official (Representative) • Individual at SU who is responsible for administrative/contractual aspects of award. • OSP Research Administrators: authorized to obligate agency or funds on behalf of sponsor. • OSP Exe Director: authorized to execute contracts up to $500,000