April 24, 2012

From GRC: Pass it on to Campus Innovators and Partners

The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have announced the creation of the IP Awareness Assessment, a free tool that lets users evaluate their intellectual property (IP) knowledge and then chart a customized training regimen. 

In an era when every competitive research or development proposal is expected to convey a potentially transformative idea, it's more important than ever to anticipate and protect potential discoveries. Researchers at teaching-intensive, predominantly-undergraduate institutions bear the exactly the same onus as research powerhouses to safeguard the products of their - and their institutions' - innovations. GRC and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) have undertaken a partnership to distill the aspects of IP protection and technology transfer that are critical at the pre-proposal, pre-award stage of grantseeking.

Meanwhile, patent reform, transparency legislation, and the drive for more multi-sector collaboration have created a world that essentially levels the field for innovation funding. Patent attorneys, students, basement inventors, and scientists are all facing the need to learn and re-learn what it means to be a responsible innovator. Federal government tools such as the IP Awareness Assessment and programs such as the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps were developed to guide participants through the business end of intellectual discovery. 

David Kappos, undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property, believes greater awareness "will help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality and bring them to market faster, thereby creating jobs more quickly, too." GRC members agree. 

April 17, 2012

From GRC GrantWeek: NIH Posts R21 Funded Proposals

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which leads National Institutes of Health (NIH) efforts to provide proposal-writing resources, has posted four funded R21 proposals and accompanying summary statements online. These recent successful examples reflect the reduced NIH page limit. Each includes a one-page specific aims section, a 12-page research strategy, budget information, and biosketches of key personnel. While the proposals have an allergy/infectious disease research focus, they give researchers in all fields a view into excellent proposal development.

The NIH R21 mechanism supports early-stage project development for new exploratory and developmental research projects. R21 awards tend to support high-risk, high-reward research, with or without significant preliminary data, poised to produce innovations to substantially advance biomedical research. Awards are limited to $200,000 per year, up to $275,000 in direct costs over a project period of up to two years.

April 11, 2012

From NYFA Quarterly: The Etiquette of Getting Grants

A little grant writing advice can go a long way. In the following article, Shakurra Amatulla outlines some of the basic information necessary for researching and writing grants.

Shakurra Amatulla (The Grant Lady)

So you want a grant—that chunk of money that’s "out there" just waiting for your request? But you’re impatient, sometimes believing that the road to success must open before you faster than Moses parted the Red Sea. In your search for grants, you buy and read everything about this free cash, continually look for people to guide you to said loot, and still you haven’t gotten any closer to it. At some point, you’re probably going to run into me, hear about me, or be directed to seek me out. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I’m a whine-buster. I became a grant consultant in 1982 after applying for and receiving a grant from a writer’s organization. It was then that I discovered an over-abundance of often overlooked funding sources. As a result, I launched a monthly grants newsletter which preps subscribers to realistically assess if their funding needs can be sensibly obtained from immediate means—such as a local community service agency—or if their needs are best addressed through a grant. The following is a collection of familiar whines consistently thrown at me during my grant lectures, or via letters, email, or telephone. Each whine is followed by my usual response.

The real deal
Whiner: "I want some of that free grant money to support me so I can stay home and create my art." 

I know of no grant that will wholly support you. You may have heard of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship that awarded $500,000 to each of this year’s recipients. However, you must be nominated by a special committee to receive this grant. You cannot apply nor nominate yourself. It’s worth your while to view the biographies of this year’s winning Fellows (www.macfdn.org). I guarantee it will be a humbling experience.

Let’s burst a myth right here and now. There’s no such thing as free money. Even if the only thing you do is mail a simple request letter, you’ve already spent something. You’ve spent time writing the letter, and you’ve also spent money for the stamp. It may not sound like much at first, but it will add up over time. If you’re really serious about applying for grants, you shouldn’t stop at just one. You should make applying for grants a part of your life. For example, as a playwright, I consistently enter playwrighting contests and/or send my plays to theaters on a monthly basis, and have been doing so for more than a decade. I’m concerned—and this should also be of concern to you as an artist—that my work is continually circulating before the public. This is how you get noticed. In addition, applying regularly for grants forces me to create new playwriting material. I don’t want to send last year’s play (again) to the same funding organization I’m applying to this year.

April 10, 2012

Grantsmanship Information Session - April 11

Need grant funding to carry out your work?  In a quandary about how to get started?

Please join us:
Grantsmanship Information Session 
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
12:00-3:00 PM
Bracken Library

Click here to get the flier! 

This professional development opportunity, hosted by the Sponsored Programs Office, is designed to provide junior faculty and those new to grant writing with the "tools" for your toolkit to aid in your quest for external funding.

Panel Discussion: 12:00-1:30 PM in Bracken Library 104 Hear first-hand experiences from funded colleagues who have successfully navigated the path to a grant award. This hour-long discussion will include topics such as, how to identify funding opportunities, and how to position yourself as a scholar. The panel discussion will be followed by a half-hour question and answer session.

Information Session: 1:30-3:00 (Open House) in Bracken Library's Schwartz Digital Complex Lobby The focus of this event is to shine a spotlight on BSU grantmanship resources available to faculty. Stop in after the panel discussion (or at any time during our open house hours) to learn about funding opportunities and strategies, connect with colleagues from across the BSU community, and share ideas with funded professionals.

Refreshments will be served!

To RSVP or to request additional details concerning the Grantsmanship Information Session, contact the Sponsored Programs Office at 765-285-1600 or spo@bsu.edu.

April 04, 2012

From NIH RockTalk: Does It Matter Where Your Grant Application Is Reviewed?

There are a lot of urban myths out there about NIH grant review. Here is a common one—your chance of getting funded is lower if your application goes to the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) for review rather than to another NIH institute or center (IC). Well, I have the data and took a look.

The first thing to point out is the split between CSR reviews and the other IC reviews is roughly 80/20. In fiscal year 2010, ICs managed the reviews about 17% of all applications. The major difference between CSR and IC reviews are the types of applications they review. While the separation is not absolute, CSR manages the review of most R01, fellowship, and small business applications. ICs manage the review of most program project, training grant, and career development award applications. ICs do review some R01 applications—typically the ones with IC-specific features, as well as specific requests for applications (RFAs). Tip: check the funding opportunity announcement to find out where your application will be reviewed. It is usually stated there. You can also learn where funded grants were reviewed by looking them up in NIH RePORTER, which lists the study section that reviewed them.

So, back to the question, “Does your application have a different chance of success if it is reviewed in CSR or in an IC?” Given the very different mix of applications reviewed, it is perhaps not surprising that the answer is yes, on average. In fiscal year 2010, 17% of all the applications that went to CSR for review were awarded compared to 25% in the ICs.

But that is really comparing apples to oranges. It doesn’t tell you the whole story. A closer look shows that there is essentially no difference in your likelihood of getting funded when you compare the same types of applications. Take R01 applications, in fiscal year 2010, 18% of R01 applications reviewed in the ICs and 19% of applications reviewed in CSR were awarded.

Another example, applications submitted in response to RFAs in that year were funded at almost identical rates whether reviewed in CSR (24%) or in the ICs (22%).

Since all our reviews comply with the same set of applicable laws, regulations, and policies, I’m glad to see the outcomes are similar, once we compare apples to apples.

Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program

The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program for 2012 is accepting applications until April 23, 2012. This program provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor. Projects may include short-term seminars, curriculum development, group research or study, or advanced intensive language programs.

Projects must focus on the humanities, social sciences and languages, and must focus on one or more of the following areas: Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the Western Hemisphere (Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean), East Central Europe and Eurasia, and the Near East. Applications that propose projects focused on Canada or Western Europe will not be funded.

The estimated available funds for this program are $2,990,000. The estimated range of awards is $50,000–$125,000 for short-term projects and $50,000–$375,000 for long-term projects.

To read the full program announcement click here.

If you are interested in applying, please contact your department or unit's Proposal Manager in the Sponsored Programs Office.

April 03, 2012

From GRC: Private Giving Not Bigger, but Perhaps Smarter?

Even at their muddiest, the federal budget and agencies’ distribution of discretionary grants are much easier to track than grantmaking in the private sector. Pundits, even foundation leaders themselves, are having a difficult time marking progress toward pre-recession endowment levels.

According to a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy survey, over 70 percent of foundations responding say they plan to give the same amount or less in 2012 than in 2011. The follow-up to 2011’s predictions is also fairly grim. A year ago, 40 of the nation’s largest foundations told the Chronicle they would increase their grantmaking in 2011, but only 25 of those organizations wound up following through. And of 34 grantmakers that predicted their giving would remain flat last year, 10 were forced to decrease.

But beneath the numbers live encouraging trends in creative spending. More foundations are willing to cover operating costs, commit to long-term investments, and reduce red tape to get their funds working faster. Along with the information gathered by the Chronicle, survey results from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations show that foundations are adapting to their leaner financial portfolios with the kind of creativity that makes them more attractive to applicants, not less. J. McCray, chief operating officer for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, writes in Philanthropy News Digest that foundations ought to “embrace feedback mechanisms to track progress and strengthen relationships with their grantees and community organizations.”

Foundations are much more nimble than federal agencies, allowing them, as in the case of the Durfee Foundation, to act quickly on grantee feedback, and allow applicants to play a powerful role in determining the future of giving. Grantseekers should use this particularly competitive time both to speak up, and to reinforce their use of best practices, such as these strategies offered by the Chronicle: ·

  • Don’t rely too heavily on traditional supporters. Solicit many grantmakers. ·
  • Articulate clearly why the nonprofit’s work matters and be prepared to give concrete examples of its impact. 
  • Stay focused on the charity’s mission. · 
  • Demonstrate how a foundation grant can help secure long-term fiscal health. · 
  • Consider collaborating so that expenses are shared and grant money can go further.

April 02, 2012

From the Institute of Education Sciences: Funding Opportunities Webinars

The Institute of Education Sciences will host a series of funding opportunities webinars in April – August, 2012. These webinars will focus on a wide range of topics for applicants to the FY 2013 grant programs, including the application process, grant writing, and overviews of specific funding opportunities. Full descriptions of the webinars are available and registration is now open.

Register for the webinars by clicking here: http://ies.ed.gov/funding/webinars/index.asp.

Sessions include:
  • General Webinars, including Basic Overview and Application Process
  • Grant Writing Overviews
  • Grant Writing for 84.305A and 84.324A
  • Overviews of Specific Funding Opportunities
Once a webinar has been aired, the presentation slides will be available here