March 13, 2018

The SPA Colloquia Series Welcomes Dr. Youfa Wang

SPA welcomed Dr. Youfa Wang at our latest colloquium on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 in Bracken Library.

This colloquium was different from our previous sessions. We invited Dr. Wang to speak about his research efforts in a session titled "Research and Scholarship in the Fisher Institute of Wellness."

This colloquium focused on giving a Ball State faculty member the opportunity to share their work with their peers rather than the traditional faculty learning opportunity. We hope to incorporate more opportunities like this into our future event calendars.

Who is Dr. Wang?

  • John and Janice Fisher Endowed Chair of Wellness 
  • Associate Director of the Fisher Institute of Health and Well-being 
  • Professor of Nutrition and Health Science in the College of Health, Ball State University 
  • Expert consultant for the World Health Organization and the United Nations
  • Vice President of Chinese Preventive Medicine Association - Chinese Society on Global Health

  • Professor of Epidemiology, Environmental Health and Pediatrics, Department Chair, and a Program Director at the State University of New York at Buffalo 
  • Founding Director of the Global Center on Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control 
  • Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University 
  • Chair of the Obesity Society, Pediatric Section (North America)
  • Chair of American Society for Nutrition, Epidemiology Section 
  • President of the North America Chinese Society for Nutrition 

His Research 

Dr. Wang's research interests include epidemiology, nutrition, childhood obesity, non-communicable diseases, global health, big data, systems models, and mHealth.

He has over 230 publications, including more than 180 peer reviewed papers. Many of these papers have been published in well-known journals such as Lancet, Circulation, International Journal of Epidemiology, and Obesity Review.

Dr. Wang has received approximately $23 million in NIH research grants, which includes multiple R01 grants and a $16 million NIH U54 grant. 

Overall, his research has been funded by the NIH, US Department of Agriculture, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an Agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and more.

Dr. Wang has used interdisciplinary and international collaborations to support large research projects. If you wish to reach out to him for more information or advice you can email him at

If you have interest in sharing your own research in our future colloquia series feel free to contact Stan Geidel at or Jessie Roark at

February 15, 2018

Proposal Resubmissions and Addressing Reviewer Comments

SPA's director, Justin Miller, led one of our latest colloquiums on Friday, February 9, 2018 in Bracken Library.

Miller discussed proposal resubmissions and how to address reviewer comments, in his lecture titled "Not funded? Now what?!?!"

Should I Resubmit?

Stan Geidel welcomes the audience.
You didn't get funded, so now what? The answer is resubmit.

Your initial reaction will most likely be frustration causing you to think "no way!" But after taking a moment to process, you should definitely reconsider.

Proposal submissions work similarly to how journal submissions work. More often then not the project did not get funded because there was simply not enough money for everyone that round, not because your project wasn't great.

The National Institute states:
  • "For most investigators, achieving funding success usually comes from persistence and patience. The typical applicant who was successful in obtaining funding in the past few years
    from the NIH has submitted several applications prior to obtaining support for their research."
  • "13.1% of projects get funded on their first submission, while 33.5% get funded on a resubmission."

Here at Ball State we have a promising history of proposal success on the second and third submission, especially with federal funding agencies (NSF, DOJ, NEH).

"At the end of the day, this is a number’s game, and reviewers are often looking for reasons to not fund a project, because there are SO many good ideas" - Justin Miller.

Next Steps

The first step is to request reviewers' comments if they have not already been provided. If still not
provided, request a debriefing instead.

After you receive the comments or have the debriefing, share all of the comments and notes with SPA, your chair, and other important members.

In combination, all of these comments and conversations will help you revise your proposal.

Frequent Reviewer Comments and Tips

Justin Miller talks about his experience as
a proposal reviewer. 
  • Review the mission of the sponsor and their purpose for the program, even the legislation on federal or state opportunities, to be sure that your project supports both the mission of the sponsor and the specific program you are applying for.
  • Reviewers get distracted by typos, poor grammar, and unclear wordy narratives. Be sure to follow the guidelines and have your proposal reviewed by those inside and outside of your field. SPA can help you fund and find an external reviewer if requested.
  • Reviewers often state that there is not enough thought behind the research plan. They need to know the how, when, and by whom the work will be done, how the data will be analyzed, and if the necessary skills and resources are available to complete the research.
  • Include potential obstacles, contingency plans, and a realistic timeline.
  • Understand the review criteria: How are the points/percentages applied? What do the reviewers look for on each criterion?
  • Make sure your budget and narrative match. Your budget requests need to be justified in your narrative.

As a last piece of advice, consider becoming a reviewer. This opportunity will allow you to gain valuable experience about the review process and to see things from the reviewer prospective. You do not have to have been funded by a sponsor to be a reviewer.

Finally, you can revise and resubmit! 

If you have further questions or need help, please reach out to us at

February 09, 2018

Shining a Light on the Dark and Mysterious World of Grants and Contracts

SPA's very own Ted Kolodka led our latest colloquium on Friday, January 26, 2018 in Bracken Library.

Kolodka is SPA's Contract Compliance Analyst and his lecture focused on explaining award process, or the path grants and contracts take to get from us to you!

Stan Geidel introduces the "Ted" talk.

The Award Process

The first step is that the proposal gets funded. This simply means that the Sponsor offers Ball State the award, which is handled by the SPA pre-award operations. Ball State then has to accept the award through a signed award document. 

Award Documents:
  • Legally binding agreement 
  • Signed by both the sponsor and Ball State.
  • Usually generated by the sponsor
  • Usually a grant rather than a contract 

What do these documents do?
  • Provides funding for the project 
  • Defines the scope of work and the budget 
  • Defines ownership of the results

The second step is finalizing the award document. This is handled by the SPA compliance staff. This section of the process contains the following steps:
  1. Receive award document form sponsor 
  2. Review award document 
  3. Negotiate with sponsor 
  4. Sign award document, opening the grant
Ted Kolodka speaks about his experience in SPA compliance.
Receiving the award document from the sponsor can take longer than planned and is out of SPA's control. In the case that you have a time sensitive project, you can apply for an early account.

An early account allows for a grant to be opened (FOAP issued) and work to start before the award document is finalized. You can apply for an early account through SPA compliance

Compliance is very important in this process as they avoid audit findings and liability, ensure BSU’s eligibility for future funding, and provide favorable legal review by general counsel to allow signature of agreement. 

The final step is the FOAP (Fund Organization Account Program), which means your award is open and is now being handled by the SPA post-award operations. 

Take Aways

  • Grants & contracts are complex legal documents that take time, effort and accurate information to ensure proper document is generated.
  • Multiple BSU departments can be involved in ensuring the proper document is generated (pre-award, post award, General Counsel, PI, ORI, Business Affairs).
  • The main goal is to make sure that BSU faculty have the appropriate agreement that describes the project, ensures compliance and thus eligibility for future contracts.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Ted Kolodka at or SPA as a whole at

January 30, 2018

Invest in Your Idea!: Concept Papers Save Time & Grief when Deadlines Loom

Ball State’s Donna Browne led SPA’s latest colloquium on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 in the Arts and Journalism Building.

Browne's lecture focused on concept papers and the importance of creating one.

What is a Concept Paper?

Browne introduces herself to the audience.
A concept paper is not the same as a full grant proposal, but rather it is more of a condensed project pitch.

Attributes of a concept paper:
  • Brief overview of project
  • 2-3 pages & budget page 
  • Condensed texts
  • No budget narrative 
  • No attachments 
  • All opportunity - no risk 

Parts of a concept paper:
  • Introduction/Alignment with funder's goals
  • Background/Statement of need
  • Project description/Goals and objectives
  • Methodology 
  • Personnel/Organizational information/Resources
  • Evaluation plan
  • Benefits/Intellectual merit/Broader impacts
  • Contact information

The audience listens to Browne.

Why write a Concept Paper?

You should consider writing a concept paper if your research project is covering new ground and you need to determine the background data, a work plan, collaborators, a timeline, and the costs.

A concept paper can also help you answer important questions such as:

  • How will you benefit from this project?
    • Research goals
    • Professional development 
    • P & T requirements
    • Personal satisfaction

  • How will the funder benefit from this project?
    • Alignment with mission, goals, and values
    • Already supported similar projects
    • Currently supporting similar projects 

A concept paper will not only allow you to flesh out your research goals and project plans more thoroughly, but it will also help you stand out in highly competitive grant competitions. A concept paper will put you ahead of the game when the time comes to write a full grant proposal. 

Why a Concept Paper can make a Difference

A concept paper is an investment in time now that will save you time later...when it really counts!

This paper can serve as a draft for future grant opportunities. This draft can then help speed up the application process as grant opportunities are often unpredictable and deadlines are short.

A concept paper will allow you to put time and energy into your idea at your own pace before deadlines. This paper forces you to think critically about your idea and whether you want to pursue it without wasting a lot of time and energy; it is very low risk.

For more questions reach out to us or Donna Browne! 

Browne is a grant writer for Ball State University. She works specifically with the Center for Energy Research Education and Service, but is more than willing to help those from other departments. Brown can be contacted at

Register Now for the Second Annual Latinx Coalition Conference

Registration is now open for the second annual Latinx Coalition Conference. The conference will take place Tuesday, March 6, 2018 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM EST.

From the Eventbrite page:

  • Address equity and wellbeing across the state of Indiana through interdisciplinary collaborations for research and programmatic service aimed at improving the well-being of the Latino population in Indiana.
  • Engage key stakeholders across the state of Indiana in the development and participation in research and programming involving Latino populations.
  • Share knowledge that increases the capacity of researchers, scholars, community organizations, community leaders and policy leaders to develop and advocate for effective, evidence-informed interventions in Latino communities.
  • Create awareness of the issues that impact Latino populations in Indiana, how they are being addressed by different stakeholders, and what unattended needs have been identified.
  • Provide a platform for coordinating and strengthening the responses to the most important issues impacting Latino populations in Indiana.

As we did last year, this year's Conference of the Latinx Community-University Research Coalition of Indiana will bring together university faculty and staff, policy leaders, community organizations, and community leaders interested in the well-being of Latino populations across Indiana to catalyze and advance community-engaged research, and programmatic collaborations that are respectful of the needs, cultural identity, and interests of the Latino population and help remove barriers to resources and/or services.
This year's conference will feature panels, ignite sessions, and special interest group breakout and networking sessions. The overall objective will be to continue to build community-university research partnerships. With this goal in mind, a panel of university research administrators will discuss funding opportunities for these collaborations. In response to the theme of the conference, a panel focused on immigration will explore the experiences of the Latinx community, especially in these turbulent times.

Special interest group networking tables will be led by researchers and community partners already working in the special interest areas of the Coalition, which this year will include: immigration/migration, education, diabetes, mental health, employment & work quality, aging/older adults OR spirituality, immigrants' response to politics, arts & communities, and business development. We expect to provide opportunities for discussions, networking, partnering and advancing future research, programming and advocacy, and the development of community-university partnerships.

Registration will begin at 9:00. The Conference will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. We will serve breakfast and lunch. You will have the opportunity to learn about community-university research partnership results/findings (or share your own), as well as network with others in your area of interest.
This year our honored guest will be Dr. Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Espinosa-Dulanto holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum Theory and Educational Policies for Linguistic Minorities from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her writing as well as her academic research departs from identifying herself as a woman of color, a Borderlands Mestiza, and a non-mainstream person in the US. From that perspective, she explores the construction and transmission of knowledge. She uses narrative inquiry, photography, and poetry as tools to learn and communicate.

This year we are offering workshops right after the conference, as requested by last year's attendees. Led by professionals from across the state, workshops will focus on:
  • How to: Community Engage Research & Community Based Participatory Research
  • Role of Arts and Humanities in Community Wellbeing
  • How to: Translating research into practice
If you are interested in these workshops, plan to stay after the end of the conference. No need for additional registration or payment.

The Latinx Coalition Conference is sponsored by:
IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Community Health Partnerships
IUPUI Office of Community Engagement
Marion County Health Department

FOR MORE INFORMATION about the Latinx Community-University Research Coalition or the conference please email or call 317-274-6754

Become a member of the Coalition by joining us on Facebook at Not on Facebook? Contact Silvia Bigatti to be included in an e-mail listserve at

January 17, 2018

Updated Events Calendar for Spring 2018

Events Calendar Spring 2018
Sponsored Projects Administration
For more information: Stan Geidel (sgeidel@bsu – 285-2022)
or Jessie Roark ( – 285-5003)

SPA Colloquia: Faculty learning opportunities in a variety of formats on topics of interest pertaining to sponsored projects. Features faculty peers, Sponsored Projects Administration personnel, and other special guest panelists.
Focus on the Search: Workshops covering the funding search databases and techniques used at Ball State. Workshops are open to faculty, staff, and students. Registration through the minicourse system required. 
Special Events: Research Week; Researcher of the Year and Creative Endeavor of the Year Lectures; Student Symposium.
Updates: Be sure to check our blog at for the latest schedule changes and updates.


17           SPA Colloquia: Invest in Your Idea!: Concept Papers Save Time and Grief When Deadlines
               Loom. Presenter: Donna Browne (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
18           Focus on the Search: Part 1 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
24           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
26           SPA Colloquia: Shining a Light on the Mysterious World of Contracts and Grants.
               Presenter: Ted Kolodka (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)


1             Registration opens for the 2018 Student Symposium
2             Researcher of the Year Lecture with Dr. Scott Trappe. (3:00 pm, Ball Brothers Foundation
               Hospitality Suite, 2nd Floor, Emens Auditorium.)
7             Focus on the Search: Part 1 (11:00am, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
9             SPA Colloquia: Proposal Resubmissions: Addressing Reviewer Comments.
               Presenter: Justin Miller (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)
14           SPA Colloquia: Research and Scholarship in the Fisher Institute of Wellness.
               Presenter: Youfa Wang (Noon, Bracken Library 104)
15           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (11:00am, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
22           SPA Colloquia: Research and Scholarship in the Fisher Institute of Wellness.
               Presenter: Youfa Wang  Rescheduled for February 14th. 


2             Registration closes for the 2018 Student Symposium
14           SPA Colloquia: Voyage into the Real World: Working with Community Partners and Local
               Funders. Presenter: Donna Browne (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
21           Focus on the Search: Part 1 (5:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
27           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (5:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
30           SPA Colloquia: Preparing an Effective NIH AREA Grant Application.
               Presenters: Jackie Davis & Maria Bumbalough (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)


6             SPA Colloquia: The Fulbright Experience. Presenter: Justin Miller
               (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)
11           SPA Colloquia: NEH Summer Stipends – Preparing an Effective Application.
               Presenter: Augusta Isley (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
17           Student Symposium: Look for registration information in early January
19           Focus on the Search: Part 1 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
23           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required

January 16, 2018

2018 Student Symposium Update

The 2018 Studnet Symposium at Ball State University will be held on Tuesday, April 17.

Registration for the event will be open February 1 - March 2.

Updated guidelines will be available on Friday, January 19 at 5pm.

Researcher of the Year Lecture: Exercise Biology in the 21st Century

Sponsored Projects Administration is pleased to announce the following special event:

Scott Trappe

Researcher of the Year Lecture: Exercise Biology in the 21st Century

Dr. Scott Trappe, John and Janice Fisher Professor Of Exercise Science and Director of the Human Performance Laboratory

Dr. Trappe will briefly discuss Astronaut health for a mission to Mars, the benefits of exercise across the lifespan, and discovering molecules that regulate health.
  • February 2nd at 3:00 pm
  • Ball Brothers Foundation Hospitality Suite, 2nd Floor, Emens Auditorium
  • Lecture-Presentation by Dr. Trappe (3:00 pm)
  • Reception to follow

Please plan to join us for this special event!

Kindly RSVP to Brenda Ayers,
For questions about this event, please contact Stanley Geidel at

We hope to see you there!