September 25, 2012

From GRC GrantWeek: Where’s NEA Going? There’s a Map for That

In a move that signals growing rigor and a closer alignment with scientific research agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has released a five-year research agenda, system map, and measurement model. GRC strongly encourages members to review the report on these developments, “How Art Works,” which was officially released at American University on September 20, 2012.

GRC was there as NEA chairman Rocco Landesman described the agency’s efforts to both map the system and tell the story of how art works. The map is the result of a series of community engagement activities designed “to develop a common view of the relationship between art and individual and community outcomes.” Landesman admits that it is “both too complex and too simple but,” nonetheless, “useful.” The map provides what Keats called “negative capability,” or the ability to imagine a system without having to resolve apparently contradictory aspects. Questions such as “what is art?” are intentionally left unanswered, as NEA encourages arts researchers to map everything from Kanye West to a visit to the Met.

Instead, the intention is to explore the interplay among arts participation and creation; the artist, the artwork, and audience; how arts participation influences the lives of individuals and their communities; and how individuals and their communities influence artists and their work.

Sunil Iyengar, director of the NEA Office of Research and Analysis, believes the most significant change over the next five years will be the shift from inductive to deductive arts research, with the expectation that awardees will make explicit connections between NEA-funded research and the public good.

Download the full report and listen to the recording of the September 20 event online.

Cohen Peace Fellows: Deadline November 1

The call to submit proposals for the Benjamin V. Cohen Peace Fellowship is now open. The Fellowship provides support to conduct basic or applied research on topics related to peace. For the 2012-13 academic year, Ball State faculty members AND graduate students are eligible to apply.

  • Faculty Members: Funds may be used for salary, supplies, expenses, and/or travel. Preference will be given to tenure track faculty members at Ball State University. 
  • Graduate Students: Funds may be used for assistantship stipend, supplies, expenses, and/or travel and may also include tuition remission during the academic time period of the fellowship. 

Completed applications and all required materials are due to the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) by 5:00 PM on November 1, 2012. SPO will route the University Clearance Sheet and forward the completed applications to the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. The Cohen Proposal Evaluation Committee will then review the proposals. 

For more information on how to apply for the fellowship, visit the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies website or contact CPCS at 285-1622 or

September 21, 2012

From {Centered}: How to avoid common errors in federal grant applications

The competition for federal grants is already fierce, and the pressure to reduce the federal budget overall is almost certain to intensify it. How, then, can you increase your proposal's chances of surviving the review process? In "From a Proposal Reviewer's Perspective" (CharityChannel, August 22, 2012), Ron Flavin, who reviews grant applications for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Education, and Health and Human Services, offers practical advice.

Having reflected, with his fellow reviewers, on why only 3% of the applications he has reviewed were recommended for funding, he has concluded that the most common reasons for rejection are:
  • You failed to follow the directions in the funding agency guidelines, especially by omitting any information for one of the review criteria.
  • You submitted a boiler plate proposal - one you used with other potential funders and that does not respond to the particular proposal requirements and format mandated by the RFP.
  • You failed to adequately explain how the project will be sustained after the grant money is gone.
  • You didn't bother to fully describe the applicant organization, the community, or the problem being addressed, because - having been funded by the agency previously - you assumed the description was unnecessary. This is dangerous because you're unlikely to get the same set of reviewers every time. 
  • Your budget appears to be padded, because it's for exactly the maximum amount available. To avoid this, always develop your budget from the bottom up to total all necessary expenses, even if that total is less than the maximum allowed.
{Centered} September 2012 - Volume 5, Issue 9 
© 2012 The Grantsmanship Center. All rights reserved.

September 19, 2012

ARPA-E University: Winning Technical Proposals

Funding applications often require something shorter than a research paper, but more substantive than a business pitch—you need a technical pitch. Join ARPA-E Program Directors Dr. Dane Boysen and Dr. Ilan Gur on Wednesday, October 3rd for the next installment of the ARPA-E University webinar series. Dane and Ilan will share their 5 best practices and 5 deadly sins for writing technical proposals.

Participants will also learn about ARPA-E’s mission and unique role in funding energy innovation. While the webinar will use concepts from the ARPA-E funding selection process, the proposal strategies are applicable to anyone who communicates complex technical information in a short format. Registration is free.

**Date updated on 9/25

September 18, 2012

Workshop Reminder: Focus on the Search - September 25th

This is a reminder for the previously posted workshop: Focus on the Search.  Focus on the Search is one-hour long intensive workshop session that highlights the resources SPO has to offer for grantsmanship as well as how to effectively search for funding opportunities. The session is held in the SPO conference room and is intended to be a personalized, one-on-one experience. Participants are asked to bring their own Internet-ready device, like a notebook or tablet computer. 

To register: Please follow the following link to the mini-course registration system through Learning and Development. Search for keyword “Focus on the Search”.

September 13, 2012

ASPiRE Student Grant Opportunities

Are you working on a thesis or major project? Planning to present at a conference? Then look to the Internal Grants Program as a funding resource!

ASPiRE Internal Grants supports aspects of student research and creative arts projects. Funds can be used to assist in project costs such as travel or supplies. Proposals are capped at $500 for Graduate students and $300 for Undergraduate Students.

Graduate Student Competition:
Undergraduate Student Competition:
  • Research applications due: November 12, 2012 and January 25, 2013
  • Creative Arts applications due: November 19, 2012 and February 1, 2013
Student Travel Grants: applications due 15th of the month prior to travel date (for presentations of papers and/or posters, etc., at meetings or conferences)

For more information, visit the ASPiRE Student Programs page or call (765) 285-1600