October 31, 2012

Follow agency priorities to improve federal grant prospects

All federal grant guidelines indicate, directly or indirectly, the issuing agency's priorities for the grant program. A recent article ("Understanding Priorities Improves Proposals," Local State Funding Report, September 24, 2012) defines three categories of priorities - absolute, competitive, and invitational - and offers tips on how to recognize these and address them in your application.

The absolute priority for each federal grant program is the purpose Congress intended in enacting the statute authorizing the program. Any proposal that does not adequately address the absolute priority will almost certainly fail.

Competitive priorities are elements which can earn a proposal extra points. These points, which can be the deciding factor in close competitions, may go to organizations that have received prior awards or whose programs target specific groups, such as veterans or at-risk populations.

Some, but not all, grant guidelines may include invitational priorities, which encourage applicants to address additional issues of concern to the grantmaking agency. This won't earn you extra points but, in very close competitions, it could still tip the grant decision in your favor.

Source: {Centered} October 2012 - Volume 5, Issue 10 © 2012
The Grantsmanship Center. All rights reserved.

Evaluation: You won't get far without it

Over the past 20 years, nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies have been steadily ramping up their commitment to objective and specific outcome measures and to quality program evaluation. But push has now come to shove. The recession-induced drop in foundation giving and the volatile uncertainties of government funding are producing an increasing demand for accountability. To get funding to start new initiatives and to sustain existing services, you've got to be able to prove that what your organization does makes a difference.

How can nonprofit administrators make the tough decisions about where to put limited and often decreasing resources? How can they know which of their efforts are producing the most impact? The question is not, "Did we do the work?" The question is, "Did it make a difference?"

And grantmakers face similar dilemmas. How can they know which of their social investments are paying off? How can they decide which organizations to support with their shrinking bank accounts?

October 29, 2012

Emerging Media Digital Feed - The Applications of Digital History Research and Topic Modeling

On Friday, October 19th, Dr. Douglas Seefeldt (Assistant Professor of History, and Emerging Media Fellow) and Dr. James Connolly (Director, Center for Middletown Studies, and Professor of History) showcased their digital history research projects which utilize multiple techniques, the most interesting is topic modeling. Topic modeling is a statistical model method, utilizing computer programs, for discovering and extracting 'topics' and vocabulary patterns within one or many electronic documents. This serves the purposes of analysis and application of analyzed data. Through this analysis, one could more easily verify the validity of a text, narrow down a large list of possible research sources based on key words and phrases, or check for plagiarism and duplicate entries.
Dr. Seefeldt's projects focus primarily on historical texts, like newspaper articles and the analysis and comparison of those documents to find correlative truth. Many times the same incident is reported differently by various sources, the analysis and comparison of the sources leads to evidence of the ways that rhetoric was shaped and how it was conveyed in discourse. Some of these projects include:

October 26, 2012

Kennedy Center Seeks Nominations for Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is seeking nominations for the 2013 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, a series of annual grants that recognize inspiring teachers in the United States.

Now in their third year, the awards were created in honor of American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who frequently attributes his success to the teachers in his life. The awards are presented each year on Sondheim's birthday — March 22 — to a handful of teachers, kindergarten through college, who are nominated via the Kennedy Center Web site.

To be eligible, nominees must be legal residents of the U.S. Nominations must be based on experience as a full-time classroom teacher in a K-12 school in the U.S. or as a college or university instructor in the U.S. Nominators must be at least 18 years of age and have been a student of the nominee. Nominations for teachers by peers, parents, relatives, or other individuals based on non-teacher-student interactions will not be reviewed.

Last year, ten teachers were recognized for their outstanding influence on students. The recipients each received a $10,000 prize and their stories, as told by the nominating student, were featured on a Web site dedicated to inspirational teachers.

Complete program information and the online nomination form are available at the Kennedy Center Web site.

Contact: Link to Complete RFP

October 25, 2012

Your Resubmission—Application Act Two

Nobody likes bad news, but unsuccessful applications are a fact of life every investigator eventually faces.

But unlike the director of a Broadway play, you don't have to worry about your audience walking out on your second act. Your reviewers will play their part, keen on seeing how you addressed their critiques.

Before we discuss the ins and outs of resubmitting, let’s back up to earlier events where you judge whether resubmitting is your most effective tack.

After you learn your application is not fundable, you’ll first need to spend time to effectively deal with your anger and frustration.

When you've done that, you'll be ready to take a cold hard look at your options and do a thorough analysis of your situation so you can determine what to do next.

Reminder: Cohen Peace Fellow Grants

This is a reminder that the Benjamin V. Cohen Peace Fellowship proposals are due on November 1, 2012. 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.

For more information on how to apply for the fellowship, visit the Cohen Peace Fellowship page, or contact the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, 285-1622, peacecenter@bsu.edu.

October 24, 2012

NIH Transparency Helps Offset Austerity

As the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirms plans to reduce non-competing research grant awards by at least 10 percent as long as the FY 13 continuing resolution is in effect, the agency is pumping out a wide range of resources to build researchers’ capacity to be strong applicants and responsible stewards of federal funding.

The Center for Scientific Review’s Peer Review Notes, published primarily for NIH staff and reviewers, is a rich source of information on review policies and procedures. The September 2012 issue includes fresh perspective on innovation and peer review from Sally Rockey, director of the NIH Office of Extramural Research; advice for new reviewers by former NIH study section chairs; discussion of how reviewers can use the “Additional Comments for Applicants” box to provide thoughtful recommendations to applicants; and insight into who exactly takes part in review meetings.

GRC recommends that researchers and administrators at all experience levels subscribe to Peer Review Notes and to two institute-specific resources that routinely deliver NIH- and even government-wide insight.

From GrantWeek: ED Board Offers IES Planning and Competition Insight

During an October 5, 2012 meeting of the National Board for Education Sciences, GRC staff joined a discussion on the future of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the primary research arm of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Background information and meeting materials will provide important insight to researchers who are preparing to compete for FY 13 and 14 federal education research funding.

Although IES remains one of ED’s most selective grantmaking units, it has steadily increased the number competitions—beginning with just three in its inaugural year—and awards. In FY 12, for example, the institute supported 49 new projects through the National Center for Special Education Research and 33 new projects through the National Center for Education Research. IES leaders are currently working their way toward FY 13 funding decisions, with reviewers wrapping up evaluation of proposals submitted in June before turning to last month’s round of submissions.

Meanwhile, the institute is seeking comments on a new FY 14 research topic, tentatively titled Continuous Improvement Research in Education. With a February competition planned, the program will offer $1.5 million over five years for research on the ways education system components work together to generate desired outcomes. The broad objectives are to create a safe, orderly, and supportive learning climate for students from preschool through high school; improve students’ transition to high school; and increase access to college and postsecondary training.

The continuous improvement research topic will join the existing Evaluation of State and Local Education Programs and Policies (84.305E) and Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research (84.305H) topics under a new program umbrella, Partnerships and Collaborations Focused on Problems of Practice or Policy. These will complement, not replace, IES’s established Education Research Programs (84.305A).

October 19, 2012

NIH: Next Steps?

NIH recently created an online resource, Application Guidance: Next Steps, to address  frequently asked questions that investigators have about the application review process as well as what the "next steps" are. The questions are grouped into three categories: Scores, Funding Decisions, and Resubmitting.  Questions include:
Further information on the Review Process itself is linked on the Next Steps page and can be found at the Peer Review Process website.

October 17, 2012

BSU Faculty Member Named "Hero in Health Education"

From the Ball State University Communications Center: The Department of Physiology and Health Science is very proud to inform that Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, Assistant Professor of Community Health Education and Faculty Fellow of the Global Health Institute, has been named a "Hero in Health Education" by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The SOPHE's National Health Education Week (NHEW) for 2012 is from October 15-19. During NHEW 2012, SOPHE is celebrating the 2012 Heroes in Health Education Honorees who have made exemplary contributions to the field of health education and adolescent health and wellness. The honor letter read, "We are so pleased to recognize you as one of our 2012 Heroes in Health Education! It is well-deserved and SOPHE proudly salutes your efforts in educating individuals and communities about important actions they can take to maintain or improve adolescent health. Our most heartfelt congratulations to you!"

Dr. Khubchandani is also the recipient of the 2012 Governor's Award for Service Learning. The annual service awards, Indiana's most prestigious honor for volunteer work, recognize individuals and organizations for contributions of time and talent to the betterment of their communities. Dr. Khubchandani was honored at the Governor's Residence on October 1st 2012. He has also been invited to serve on a panel for mentoring public health education students nationwide. The panel has been organized by the Society for Public Health Education and will be held at San Francisco, CA in October 2012.

Join us in congratulating Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani!

October 04, 2012

ASPiRE Deadlines Approaching: October & November

As a reminder, here are the ASPiRE deadlines for the months of October and November: 
Also, the Ad-Hoc Program, Reprint Support, and External Travel Support deadlines are the 15th (every month)
For more information, visit the ASPiRE Internal Grants page or call (765) 285-1600

Sabbatical Presentation: Dr. Kristin Perrone McGovern, Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services

Kristin Perrone McGovern
Kristin Perrone McGovern spent her sabbatical year in 2011-2012 doing postdoctoral training in neuropsychology in order to acquire competence in this specialization. She worked closely with Dr. Andrew Davis, who supervised her training in neuropsychological assessment. This training included diagnostic interviewing, neurobehavioral examination, neuropsychological testing, assessment scoring and interpretation, hypothesis generation, report preparation, report writing, family and individual feedback sessions, and consultation with referral sources. Guided didactic experience was accomplished through independent readings and discussion with Dr. Davis, in addition to attending two of his graduate classes in neuropsychology.

In addition to her clinical and didactic training with Dr. Davis, Dr. McGovern worked with collaborators from the University of Minho in Portugal and the University of Chicago on neuropsychophysiological research. In May 2011, prior to the beginning of her sabbatical academic year, Dr. McGovern was invited to speak at a a university in Portugal and then to stay and spend the week meeting with researchers at the Neuropsychophysiology Lab (NPL) in the Center for Research in Psychology (CIPsi) at the School of Psychology, University of Minho inf Braga, Portugal.  The main objective of the NPL is the development of research in the area of human clinical neurosciences, specifically the research of neuropsychological, neuroanatomical and psychophysiological correlates of several cognitive-emotional processes in a variety of neurological and psychiatry conditions.  While there, Dr. McGovern learned about different types of research methodology and met with research teams and developed a plan for collaboration on a research project. In May and June, 2012 a researcher from the University of Minho came to Ball State to work with our research team here, collecting and analyzing data for the empirical study.

October 02, 2012

From OER Nexus: What’s Next?—Reviewing Your Summary Statement and Thinking About Resubmitting

So you’re wearing your lucky shoes and are ready to take a first look at the results of your grant review. Whether you are anticipating doing a victory dance or getting ready to head out to the nearest kickboxing class, it’s a good time to think about what comes next.

Some of you have noticed that the summary statements now include a link to a new online resource to address just this question. Especially if you are new to NIH funding, I encourage you to check out this “Next Steps” page, which was put together to help NIH grant applicants with the “What’s next?” questions following receipt of the summary statement.

If you aren't in the position to be preparing Just-in-Time information for an award, but instead are considering resubmission, you may want to consider some of the data that have appeared in my previous blog posts, in addition to the resources available on grants.nih.gov. For example, in the post “Correlation Between Overall Impact Scores and Criterion Scores”, I show how approach, innovation, and significance factor heavily into the overall impact scores. As you look at your summary statement, talk to your NIH program official, and discuss your ideas with colleagues, it might be useful to keep this in mind.

Additionally our podcast series, All About Grants, includes conversations with NIH staff to help you understand how your grant is reviewed, such as these two episodes on summary statement basics and resubmission advice.

Whether you’re new to the grant application process or an experienced applicant, we hope you find these resources useful.