January 30, 2012

2012 Student Symposium Registration Now Open!

17th Annual Student Symposium
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 
2nd Floor, L.A. Pittenger Student Center 
Poster Session: 1:30 - 4:30
Presentation of Awards: 4:30 - 5:00

The Ball State University Student Symposium is approaching! The Symposium is an opportunity for students to present their creative and scholarly projects in an afternoon poster session. It encourages interdisciplinary discourse, allowing students to learn from each other about engaging topics. This forum also provides a platform for learning the ins and outs of creating a poster and for practicing speaking with those within and outside one’s discipline about the work.

All students are eligible: undergraduate, graduate, or those from Burris Laboratory School and Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, who have engaged in organized work either inside or outside the classroom, and who were advised by a Ball State faculty mentor. Those not yet involved in research will discover that attending the Symposium is a great way to learn about the broad range of opportunities available on campus.

Please read the 2012 Student Symposium Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions before registering.

Click here to access the secure Registration Form.

All this information can be accessed through the Sponsored Programs Office website by clicking here.

All students are encouraged to participate in this event! A student must register to participate.

The deadline for registration is 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 17, 2012.

Every student will receive a certificate recognizing his/her participation. In addition, cash prizes will be given for the most outstanding projects (review the guidelines for more information). Questions may be directed to Augusta Wray at SPO.BSU@gmail.com or to the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) at 285-1600.

January 24, 2012

From {Centered}: When the foundation grant is less than you asked for

If you submit proposals to several foundations each year, sometimes you get good news and other times bad news. But what happens when you get good news and bad news simultaneously - when you got the grant, but it's for less than you requested?

How you deal with this scenario will have a long-term impact on your relationship with the grantmaker. So let's explore it from the perspective of several foundation executives. What has their experience been, and what do they expect their grantees to do in these circumstances?

I spoke with Kerry Anderson, President, True North Foundation; Dave Beckwith, Executive Director, Needmor Fund; Keith Burwell, President, Toledo Community Foundation; Lois DeBacker, Senior Program Director - Environment, The Kresge Foundation; Jon Jensen, Executive Director, Park Foundation; and Sam Passmore, Program Director - Environment, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Here's what they told me:

Initial stages of the grantmaking process
Four of the six foundations rarely, if ever, make grants for less than was requested in the proposal. This is because they negotiate the amount in advance with the prospective grantee either through a conversation or after a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) has been submitted. During these discussions they may determine whether there are other possible sources of support for the total amount the applicant needs for the project, and they may ask the applicant to lower the amount of the original request.

Some of these four will not bring a proposal to their board for an amount the board won't fund. Others tend to be flexible if they've had a long-term relationship with the applicant and know a great deal about the organization.

The other two foundations nearly always make grants for less than requested - even when they are enthusiastic about a proposal. This is because, although they are open to proposals from new groups, they get more requests each year, while the amount they can give stays static. If they have funded a group previously, they look at the historical precedent with that grantee and try to stay in the same general range.

In all cases, the foundation executives advise you never to ask for more than a foundation says is its maximum if its grant ranges are clear.

When the amount essential for the project is more than the foundation can support
Since none of these six foundations is likely to be the sole supporter of a project or organization for which a proposal is submitted, they will discuss the possible consequences for the applicant and for the project if the total amount needed is not obtained.

In the initial discussion, the foundation may challenge whether the group needs as much as proposed. Or it may ask the applicant to find additional sources of funding. In most cases, the foundation will help the applicant identify those sources. The prospective grantee may also be asked to scale back the goals of the project. If the foundation wants to support an organization or a project, such a discussion is unlikely to result in a decision not to invite the proposal.

One of the funders said that, in these conversations, "foundation staff's job is managing expectations." Even then they rarely ask a group to redraft a proposal, but they do point out the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal.

The funders that negotiate an amount to be requested will not forbid the applicant from asking for more, but they will not make any promises. If the request clearly is for partial support of a larger project, these funders often ask that the foundation's support not be tied to specific line items; instead they ask the applicant what they won't do if they don't get the total amount.

As one foundation executive said, "The grantseeker needs to have a clear, compelling, and reasonable rationale for the amount requested - if they ask for a larger amount assuming it will be reduced, it weakens their case."

After the grant is made 
The foundation executives I spoke with were very clear about what they do and don't want from a grantee organization that gets less than it requested.

What they expect you to do:

  • Listen to what foundation staff say and send updates on progress with the project. 
  • Develop a relationship with the program officer. 
  • Adjust your goals or seek funding from other sources. 
  • Show how you will make the project happen, and ask for help if you need it. 
  • Inform the foundation if grants expected from other funders don't come through; then discuss how you might change the scope of the project or whether the funder could help you find other foundation support. 
  • Do as much as possible with the resources available and seek funds from other sources. 
  • Let the foundation know if you need to make significant changes to your project. 

What you should never do:

  • Ignore the fact that you got a smaller grant. 
  • Say - if the difference is significant - that even with the lesser amount, you can still do everything you had originally planned to do. 
  • Kill yourselves trying to produce results with insufficient resources. 
  • Wait until the end of the grant period to tell the foundation that you couldn't accomplish the grant purposes for lack of money. (Foundations don't like surprises!) 
  • Whine or give up on the project. (Don't blame the foundation for your failure.) 
  • Use the grant for other purposes. 

None of the foundations want to set their grantees up to fail. They want the projects they fund to be sustainable, and they're willing to help their grantees find other foundation support. But, without timely and honest communication from you, they can't help you either restructure your project or obtain the other grants you need to fully complete it.

So don't shoot yourself in the foot if you get a foundation grant that's for less than the amount you requested. Instead, use this as an opportunity to build a stronger long-term relationship with the foundation.

Jim Abernathy is a consultant to nonprofit groups and to other organizations on general management, board and staff leadership issues, coalition-building, and grantmaking. He has worked in the field of nonprofit management for over 35 years and was the founding Executive Director of the Environmental Support Center.

Source: {Centered} January 2012 - Volume 5, Issue 1 © 2012 The Grantsmanship Center, Inc. All rights reserved. www.tgci.com

January 20, 2012

From GRC GrantWeek: An Unexpected Route to an NIH Review Panel

Shelly Michalski, associate professor of parasitology at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, is a self-declared “late bloomer.” She defended her dissertation at age 31, and then taught night school for two years while starting a family. But a non-traditional path to the academy and a heavy teaching load at a predominantly-undergraduate institution have not limited her ability to attract federal research support and earn professional recognition. Here, Michalski shares perspective on being selected to serve on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) review panel. 

I was fortunate to obtain an NIH AREA [R15] grant early in my career (thanks to a collaboration with an R1 laboratory), and a subcontract for an NIH-funded research resource center in recent years. I guess this is how I landed on the NIH radar. [But] until recently, I did not have a high level of confidence in my ability to compete for extramural research funds - my teaching load is prohibitive, and because I didn't do a postdoc, I had no [proposal development] experience. I also lacked confidence in my abilities as a “little guy” to do good science.

Several years ago, the NIH e-mailed people with recent AREA grants to ask if they would be interested in serving on review panels. I sent an affirmative response, and promptly forgot about it. Last February, the NIH had an onsite meeting to gather leaders in my field of research to give short presentations on the current state of the field. I was asked to participate in this. Was I their first choice? I think likely not. But I was a choice, and I took the opportunity to do it. Remember the saying that “half of success is showing up?” I think that taking the opportunity to be seen in the presence of “big guys” as a peer at an NIH sponsored meeting led to me being asked to be on the review panel that fall.

Honestly, I was very intimidated at the prospect of being on the review panel. Who am I to critique the strategies of established leaders in the field? But I knew that this was the absolute best way to learn how to write good [research proposals], so I took a deep breath and agreed to it.

I was assigned sections from [six] multipart proposals, and yes, they were challenging. I'm not up to date on new techniques, and there was a learning curve involved.

Then there was the review session itself. [I was] literally sitting around a table with people whose names I've known my entire career....and I had to orally state my scores and critiques of my assigned sections through a microphone! Why did I do this?!

This story has a great ending. [I learned that] you don't have to be a major researcher or be conversant in all the newest techniques to be a good judge of science. You just have to love science and let your innate fascination lead you. Amazingly, it turned out that I rocked that review session, made great contacts, and came away feeling confident and excited and exhilarated. I now see opportunities that were always there, but were somehow hidden from my view, and I'm having the time of my life!

The review experience allowed me to see the inner workings of the review process, and really understand what goes into a successful (and an unsuccessful) proposal. It just couldn't have been learned any other way.

Go to Grants Resource Center via Ball State by clicking here

January 18, 2012

Webinar: NEA media arts guidelines discussion

National Endowment for the Arts
Media Arts Guidelines
January 26th - 3pm

The Media Arts funding area of the National Endowment for the Arts continues to evolve in tandem with the dynamic nature of the media arts field. We would like the public’s feedback on our approach to this funding category.

In 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts changed the category of “Arts on Radio and Television” to “Arts in Media.” This change reflects the variety of media through which artists are now creating and the public are consuming art. On January 26, 2012 the Endowment will conclude its proposal review for Arts in Media. We are holding a webinar to capture the reflections of our proposal advisory panelists and the public to the Endowment’s shift from “Arts on Radio and Television” to “Arts in Media.” You’ll be able to hear directly from NEA staff and members of the Arts in Media panels and text to us your questions and comments.

The webinar will not focus on any individual proposal and no specific application will be identified or discussed. We will use this forum to hear reactions to our guidelines and what, in general terms, they yielded from the field. We’ll examine the expansion from radio and television to other distribution platforms including video games and web-based content, we’ll explore the impact of media as it is now being used in other artistic disciplines, and we’ll look for opinions on the state of the media arts field and what leadership the Endowment might provide in order to effectively foster artistic excellence and best serve the American public.

Instructions for joining the webinar: 
You do not need to register in order to attend the webinar. Simply go to this URL on January 26th. You do not need special software; make sure, however, that you have the latest version of Flash.

Click here and select "Enter as Guest." Type in your full name, then click "Enter Room" 

January 09, 2012

One Month Left for Individual Artists to Apply for an IAP Grant

The Indiana Arts Commission's Individual Artist Program (IAP) grant deadline is quickly approaching.

Indiana artists have until February 2, 2012 to apply for an IAP grant in the following disciplines: crafts, design, media arts, photography, visual arts, and folk arts as related to the disciplines listed here.

Individual artists living and working in Indiana may apply for up to $2,000 from the IAP grant, which requires no matching funds. The grants are intended to assist artists with specific project-related costs that will help them further their careers, and provide public benefit through the completed project. Applicants must be 18 years-of-age, must be an Indiana resident for at least one year prior to the application, and plan to remain in the state for the full grant period. Eligible artists may not be enrolled in a degree-granting program. All projects must be completed between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

Application guidelines and the online grant application system are currently accessible on the IAC website at http://www.in.gov/arts/individualartistprogram.htm.

Artists should be aware that the application for IAP grants will only be available through the online grant application system, and artists are encouraged to read through the guidelines before beginning the application process.

Applicants are encouraged to carefully read the grant guidelines. If there are additional questions, please contact Susan Britsch.

January 04, 2012

From NIH OER: New Changes for the AREA Program

From Sally Rockey, NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research:

Last month I told you about our small business programs, and it got me thinking that many people might not be aware of the many NIH programs that exist beyond the scope of the R01. One such program is the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA). These awards create hands-on research opportunities for faculty and students at less research-intensive institutions (less than $6M in research and training funds per year). AREA awards provide up to 3 years of renewable funding, with a maximum of $300,000 in direct costs for the entire project period.

As you can see, the popularity of this program has grown over the past several years. We received the highest number of applications to date last fiscal year.

We have been in touch with AREA-eligible institutions who have helped us hone the program. Starting with the latest review round, we now cluster AREA applications during review so that applications from AREA investigators can be reviewed together. This allows reviewers to focus on the specific goals of the program, which are distinct from the other research grants they were reviewed side-by-side with previously (R01s, R21s and R03s).

We’ve also heard your interest in getting AREA-eligible investigators onto review panels. During this past round, we had greater inclusion of AREA-eligible investigators than ever before, in part due to the Center for Scientific Review’s Early Career Reviewer Program. This program specifically targets investigators from less research-intensive institutions.

Finally, for those of you applying to the AREA program, either for the first time or for a renewal, I urge you to read the program announcement. It was recently updated with new language to emphasize and clarify the goals of the program for both applicants and reviewers. Applicants should pay special attention to the sections about including students in the research and demonstrating that you have experience supervising students. I think one of the great benefits of this program is the exposure students get to research, so be sure to highlight that in your application. Reviewers will be evaluating not only the scientific merit of your application, but also how you plan to address the program goals of exposing students to research and strengthening the research environment of your institution.

See the original post on the Extramural Nexus newsletter by clicking here.

January 03, 2012

COS Pivot

For years, COS has delivered tools focused on helping researchers find funding opportunities as well as potential collaborators. COS is now taking the next giant step with Pivot.

Pivot provides Research Administrators, Research Development Professionals, and their institutions the edge to bring together the right research opportunities, funding, and people—quickly and easily. It provides global and local connections that strengthen research by exploring new avenues for funding and collaboration—for faculty, staff researchers, and graduate students.

Pivot is a powerful tool that:
  • Provides access to the most comprehensive source of funding opportunities globally
  • Identifies researcher expertise from within or outside of your organization
  • Fosters collaboration by cultivating essential partnerships and alliances
  • Allows the focus to be on winning the necessary awards and grants by removing the more tedious aspects of finding and connecting funding
  • Enhances communication, monitoring, and tracking amongst individual faculty, teams, or researchers and the Research Development office
  • Builds a strong network of connections for faculty members to rely on throughout their careers
Check it out: http://pivot.cos.com
Please note if you are not already signed up for a free COS account or accessing this link from a computer on the Ball State network, you will not be able to get into the system. If you need more information, please contact Augusta Wray in the Sponsored Programs Office.

Save the Date!

17th Annual Student Symposium 
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 
L.A. Pittenger Student Center 

Guidelines and registration information available soon! 

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