June 27, 2012

From Inside Higher Ed: How To Ask

This article was originally published by Inside Higher Ed June 6, 2012, written by Elizabeth H. Simmons.

Suppose you have a great idea for improving a course, starting a research project, undertaking public outreach, or helping students explore alternative career paths. To launch this idea, you need some key resource: a research assistant, working space, a teaching fellow, supplies, a website, or support to attend a workshop. Perhaps you’ve even recently seen an invitation from a foundation, a federal agency, an on-campus institute, or your department chair to apply for support.

How can you acquire what you need to start the project? That depends what you need and from whom you need it.

Formal calls for proposals from external funding agencies are straightforward to pursue. They usually come with specific directions about what kinds of activities are supported, how much to request and what documentation to submit.

Seeking funds within your institution can seem more murky. If you are contacting your department chair in response to a brief announcement at a faculty meeting, it may be hard to know where to start. This article discusses how to ask for resources effectively, whether or not an official call for proposals has been issued.

June 26, 2012

From {Centered}: Aim for clarity in your proposals

Before submitting a grant request, you must thoroughly research and understand the needs of the grantmaker, and you must plan the program for which you will seek funds. Then comes the crucial final step--producing a convincing proposal. In "Clear Writing Helps Make the Case for Funding" (Local/State Funding Report, April 30, 2012), Jodi Pearl explains how to achieve the necessary clarity:

  1. Do the obvious--follow the grantmaker's guidelines! Read them through twice. Highlight directions on formatting requirements, length restrictions, allowable and non-allowable costs, etc. 
  2. Use the conventions of standard English. Put sentences in the active voice. Try to avoid using boldface type, ALL CAPS, underlining, or italics unless the guidelines request them. 
  3. Organize the ideas in the proposal appropriately. 
  4. Express those ideas so that even a reviewer who is not expert in your field can understand them. If possible, test how well you've done this by having someone outside your organization read the proposal. 
  5. Make your argument persuasive enough to stand up against competing proposals. 

Source: {Centered} June 2012 - Volume 5, Issue 6 © 2012 The Grantsmanship Center. All rights reserved. www.tgci.com

June 20, 2012

Ball State Research - Summer 2012 Update!

The Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) is pleased to publish an update to the annual online “magazine,” Ball State Research. The publication features scholarly and creative activity of representative faculty members who have been funded by external sponsors.

The Summer 2012 Update explores two projects that are 2,000 miles apart but closely aligned in their commitment to understand and preserve cultural heritage.

June 12, 2012

Welcome the new Director of the Sponsored Programs Office!

It is our pleasure to announce the appointment of Justin M. Miller as the Director of the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) effective July 1, 2012. Justin joined the SPO staff in 2007 and is well known to many on campus as an energetic and capable Proposal Manager. In his new role as Director, he will be responsible for all pre-award services related to sponsored program activity, including guiding SPO staff in information dissemination, proposal development and submission, campus education, incentive and internal grant programs, and alignment of data and procedures with the University ERP system.

Prior to his service in sponsored programs, Justin was Program Coordinator for the Arizona Humanities Council. His undergraduate degree from Ball State was in Environmental Ethics (within the Religious Studies major), and he received the Master of Public Administration degree from Arizona State University in 2007. His completion of the Ed.D. in Higher Education from Ball State University is anticipated in December 2012.

Please join us in welcoming Justin Miller to his new post as the Director of the Sponsored Programs Office!

June 05, 2012

NCURA's YouTube Tuesday - America Invents Act

Cathy Innes of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, gives an overview of what is changing with the new Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011.

Summary of the Bill:
On September 16, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), a bill that updates the United States patent system to encourage innovation, job creation and economic growth. Much-needed reforms to the patent system are long overdue. The last major patent re¬form was nearly 60 years ago. The Act implements a first-inventor-to-file standard for patent approval, creates a post-grant review system to weed out bad patents, and helps the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) address the backlog of patent applications. 

For those interested, the full text of the Act can be found at the United States Government Printing Office as a PDF.

June 01, 2012

From GRC: NIH Launches New Tool for PIs to Evaluate Prospects

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently introduced LikeThis, a new search tool to help principal investigators identify other research projects that have similar goals and objectives as their own. By entering specific search terms or clicking on the “LikeThis” link on their own application or award pages in the Commons, investigators will gain access to awards, publications, and potential partners to help them develop more successful future proposals.

LikeThis is expected to be used in several ways: to identify the likely institute or center to contact as the application progresses and to list as a preference in the cover letter; to formulate new ideas for research based on what NIH has awarded in the past; and to determine whether a research idea really is innovative. The tool is currently available only to principal investigators. Following eRA’s July 19-20, 2012 software release, LikeThis will be made available to signing officials and others with eRA roles such as trainees, postdoctoral researchers, and assistants. In the meantime, see the user guide and frequently-asked questions for more information.