Funding Your Research


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Regular MIT Informatics Workshop; Also presented at APSA; Harvard IQSS

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  • This work. Getting Started, Getting Funded, by Micah Altman ( is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
  • - Research grants have a lot of stuff.- Competitive – but conditional on doing your homework, you’re well ahead.
  • Funding Your Research

    1. 1. Getting Started, Getting Funded Micah Altman Director of Research, MIT LibrariesNon-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
    2. 2. Outline for this talk Background Research Grants  Planning  Targeting  Writing and Submission  Review  Management Source: Wikimedia Commons Other Types of Funding Resources [1/29/2013] 2
    3. 3. 4 Steps Develop an original idea for a research project that solves some part of an important problem (bonus points for cleverness) Do your homework – target a funder who is interested in that problem State the problem clearly for the reviewers:  How it is important  What you intend to do  Why you chose to do that Be persistent, meticulous and systematic in writing submission and review 3 [1/29/2013]
    4. 4. The MIT libraries provide support for all researchers at MIT: Research consulting, including: bibliographic information management; literature searches; subject-specific consultation Data management, including: data management plan consulting; data archiving; metadata creation Data acquisition and analysis, including: database licensing; statistical software training; GIS consulting, analysis & data collection Scholarly publishing: open access publication & licensing 4 [1/29/2013]
    5. 5. Background Planning Targeting WritingBackground Review Management Other Resources Sponsored Activities Characteristics of Research Grants Common Myths Guiding Principles 5 [1/29/2013]
    6. 6. Background Planning Targeting Writing Sponsored Activities Review Management Other Resources Supported Activities Sponsorship Types Endowment General Operations Award/Grant Challenge Money Employer matching Collaborative Agreement Annual funds Donation Naming Events Cash In-kind Research Seed/Pilot Projects Contract Community Services Fellowships & Scholarships Corporate Sponsorship Consulting Evaluation Cash In-kind Licensing“ „What‟s on second?” 6 Direct Services [1/29/2013]
    7. 7. Background Planning Targeting WritingResearch Grant Features Review Management Other Resources Primary goal is scientific understanding Peer-reviewed (in some way) Wide discretion over objectives, methods Judged retrospectively Most technical Most competitive* 7 [1/29/2013]
    8. 8. Background Planning Targeting WritingThe “Secret Handshake”* Review Management Other Resources Develop Professional Networks Networks of colleagues to review proposals Networks of collaborators for better projects Networks of program officers  Referrals to other funders  Insights into peer review  Insights into funding priorities  Comments and feedback * Credit to Stu Shulman for this term. 8 [1/29/2013]
    9. 9. Background Planning Targeting WritingCommon Myths Review Management Other Resources Myth: Grants are something for nothing. Myth: Writing proposals is a trial by fire. Myth: You need to know someone to get a grant. Myth: You need to be at a big prestigious institution. Myth: Collaborating gives you more time. Myth: One size fits all. Myth: Grants are few and huge. 9 [1/29/2013]
    10. 10. Background Planning Targeting WritingGuiding Principles Review Management Other Resources "Less than 10% of the proposals my foundation receives fits our guidelines – and the ones that dont fit are rejected" [Karsh & Fox 2006, pg. 81] Grants are rational agreements  Harmonize funder mission, program goals, and project goals A successful proposal makes a compelling argument  Reaching goals will make a great difference in areas about which the funders care deeply  Project plan to each these goals is clear, thoughtful, firmly grounded: scientifically, financially, organizationally  Project proposer (individual, group, institution) is well-prepared to carry out the plan Get Organized  A successful proposal has many “working parts”, track each one  Watch the calendar  Collaboration requires extra time Write to facilitate review  Above all, write clearly  Address your writing to the reviewers: peer reviewer, program officer, and board 10 [1/29/2013]
    11. 11. Background Planning Targeting WritingA Preview of Review Review Management Other Resources The purpose of planning is to make a good project The purpose of writing a proposal is to communicate to reviewers effectively. Reviewers may include:  Peers in your sub-field  Peers in your field  Peers in other fields  Methodological specialists  Program officers  Executives  Boards After reading your proposal a reviewer should be able to explain to others the answers to questions like these:  How do you know there is a need for what you propose?  Who or what would be affected, how much, in what ways?  How urgent, in relationship to what communities?  What other ways of addressing problem have been tried?  What happens if project is not implemented now?  Why are you best suited to do work?  What insight makes this solvable?  What is innovative about it?  How will the project be used in the future? Will it be of lasting value? 11 [1/29/2013]
    12. 12. Background Planning Targeting WritingWarm-Up Review Management Other ResourcesConsider the following scenarios: You propose to [pick one]… … create a database measuring international conflict … to develop method for applying voice stress analysis to measure attitudes … conduct a survey on the voting behavior of bloggers … develop a measure of industrialization based on satellite imagery … add your own idea Answer the following:  Describe a proposal in two sentences…  Think of 2 different sectors (federal government, state government, foundation, corporation, individual) or substantive areas (education, policy, science, etc.) to whom you could propose these ideas  How would an abstract of your proposal differ for each sector?HOMEWORK [Source: . Creative Commons Sharealike Licensnce] Locate 2-3 funders in each of these sectors who seem most likely to be receptive. Write a 1-2 paragraph abstract for each funder. 12 [1/29/2013]
    13. 13. Background Planning Targeting WritingPlanning Review Management Other Resources Timeline of the proposal process Taking Stock Ongoing Readiness Preliminary Research 13 [1/29/2013]
    14. 14. Background Planning Targeting Writing Timeline of Proposal Review Management Other Resources Taking Stock [days-weeks] Projects Institution Preliminary research [months-year] Collaborations Literature Pilots Targeting [days-months] Identifying Funding Identifying Funders Networking Reading RFP Opportunities Submission [month++] Personnel Administrative Scientific InternalCollaboration Title, Abstract Rewriting Budget Approvals Portion Review Review [1-2 weeks + Funder Program OfficerInternal Review Administrative Individual Review Panel Review Recommendation Board Approval (Internal)] Check s [6 mths + (Funder)] Funding [Start: weeks-months] Initial Budget [Project: up to 5 years] 14announcement adjustment Account Setup HR Annual Reports Extensions [1/29/2013]
    15. 15. Background Planning Targeting WritingTimeline @MIT Review Management Other Resources1. Proposal must be created in COEUS prior to submission2. Proposals should be reviewed with admin/financial officer – plan time for review.3. Proposals must be approved by DLC (Departmental/Laboratory/Center Administration) – Allow time for review.4. Proposal must be submitted to OSP 5 Business Days prior to official deadlineNote: Occasionally, funder will limit the number of submissions toan RFP per institution. In this case MIT VP of research & Deansdetermine an internal review process and deadlines. If you aretargeting a limited opportunity, contact OSP as far in advance aspossible to learn the internal submission dates. 15 [1/29/2013]
    16. 16. Background Planning Targeting WritingReview Your Research Program Review Management Other Resources  SWOT:  Strengths  Weaknesses  Threats  Opportunities  Readiness  Literature reviews  Pilot projects/data collection 16 [1/29/2013]
    17. 17. Background Planning Targeting WritingDo You need Money? Review Management Other Resources Need for funding…  What projects need funding to test feasibility?  What projects need funding to launch?  What ongoing projects need funding to continue in future?  Can funding dramatically change impact of ongoing projects? Could you accomplish your goal with in-kind resources? Special support may be available for…  Computing?  Surveys?  Publicity?  Research design & statistical help? Advantages  No indirect cost  Low administrative cost  Easier to obtain  Sometimes allows grants to individual directly Disadvantages  Has to be what you would have bought anyway  Can‟t be used for your time/RA time, etc.  Smaller, less prestigious 17 [1/29/2013]
    18. 18. Background Planning Targeting WritingIn-Kind Research Support Review Management Other Resources Supercomputing  Amazon EC2 Grants  XSEDE allocation Data Archiving  IQSS DVN  ICPSR  SDSC Survey time  Protogenie  Tess Ads  Google Grants (AdWords) Commercial Software  Techsoup 18 [1/29/2013]
    19. 19. Background Planning Targeting WritingYour Status Review Management Other Resources Educational Requirements  Ph.D. in hand (usually) Faculty Status (usually) Term of Employment  Award typically made to university  What happens if you move? Ownership of Intellectual Property New/Early Investigator Status Diversity Status 19 [1/29/2013]
    20. 20. Background Planning Targeting WritingPI-Authority Review Management Other Resources “Principal Investigator” (PI) Authority = authority to take ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the research for the institution A PI may or may not be  Primary author of the proposal  Primary author of the resulting publications  Primary person managing the project Other paid roles in a sponsored project  Co-PI - responsible for some portion, usually paid  Senior staff, paid  Technical staff  Student  Postdoc Co-authorship is orthogonal  Co-author on proposal and/or publications is possible w/out pay  Co-authorship does not necessarily imply responsibility for conduct of project 20 [1/29/2013]
    21. 21. Background Planning Targeting WritingPI Status @MIT Review Management Other Resources At MIT three categories of people have automatic PI Status: Faculty, Senior Research Scientists (SRS), and Principal Research Scientist (PRS). In order to be a PI when holding any other appointment at MIT, the individuals Department Head must request and receive permission from the relevant Dean for that individual to be a PI on a specific project. MIT requires that anyone beyond faculty, SRS, or PRS must provide confirmation of approval from their Dean for PI status for each protocol application (there is no blanket PI Status). 21 [1/29/2013]
    22. 22. Background Planning Targeting WritingConflict of Interest @MIT Review Management Other Resources MIT REQUIRES disclosure of outside activities and interests to designated Institute officers, including financial interests, that might give rise to conflicts Conflict of interest statements must be entered in COEUS prior to submission 22 [1/29/2013]
    23. 23. Background Planning Targeting WritingYour Institutional Eligibility Review Management Other Resources Status: 501(c)3, public/private, Carnegie classification. Special programs eligibility:  NSF: EPSCOR, RUI, ROA, “Broadening Participation” Grants  DOE- FaST (Faculty and Student Teams)  NIH IDEA Federal Compliance:  Human subjects,Vertebrate animals, Inventions and patents, Debarments and suspension, Drug-free workplace, Lobbying, Delinquent federal debt, Misconduct in science, Civil Rights, Handicapped Individuals, Sex discrimination, Age discrimination, … 23 [1/29/2013]
    24. 24. Background Planning Targeting WritingInstitutional Positioning Review Management Other Resources Competitive advantages Stakeholders Collaborations with other institutions Policies:  Sponsored research: approvals, permitted sponsors, P.I. authority  Space & time  Human Resources  Financials and Indirect costs  Publication and intellectual property policies Decision Makers: Chairs, Deans, Sponsored Research Office (S.R.O.), Human Resources H.R., etc. 24 [1/29/2013]
    25. 25. Background Planning Targeting WritingInstitutional Support Review Management Other Resources Types of support for sponsored research  Sponsored research office  Financial, H.R. Support  Training and review  Development and targeting  Culture: seed money, tenure and promotion, course load Support resources  Level 1  Who: Chair, Finance officer/Business officer, Statistical Consultant, Research Coordinators/Assistants  What: space, time, research funds, pilot funds, approval , editing , review, logistics, information tech, statistical expertise  Level 2  Who: dean, financial officer, development, office of sponsored research, IRB, HR, IAUC  What: contract negotiations, indirect costs, application forms and checks, funding prospects, approve human protocols, job description, pay ranges, rules and policies, training 25 [1/29/2013]
    26. 26. Background Planning Targeting WritingAward Support @ MIT Review Management Other Resources  OSP Department Contacts:  MIT Office of Foundation Relations  Department Admin/Financial Officer 26 [1/29/2013]
    27. 27. Background Planning Targeting WritingActive Preparations Review Management Other Resources “Chance favors the prepared mind.” -- Louis Pasteur Ongoing Readiness Action Research Preliminary Results 27 [1/29/2013]
    28. 28. Background Planning Targeting WritingOngoing Readiness Review Management Other Resources "Nothing new that is really interesting comes without collaboration" -- James Watson Organization  Maintain calendar of project & sponsor deadlines  Review opportunities regularly Materials  Bios up to date, in funders formats  Keep up to date on facilities Collaboration  Should be integrated into your research, not a response to an RFP  Networking: with colleagues, funders, decision makers, stakeholders  Familiarize yourself with support staff: OSP, staff, counsel  Build support: other communities served 28 [1/29/2013]
    29. 29. Background Planning Targeting Writing“Action Research” Review Management Other Resources Action research is…  an iterative inquiry process: planning, action, evaluation  integrated in engaging in the practice of an activity (teaching, politics, writing, etc.)  incorporates problem solving and empirical measurement of problem solving methods  collaborates with community of practice Can be used to jump start proposals  Research conducted in course of teaching, etc  Questionnaires  Informal in-class experiments  Market surveys 29 [1/29/2013]
    30. 30. Background Planning Targeting WritingPreliminary Results Review Management Other Resources Presentation of some smaller set of data  A prototype  A pilot experiment  A sub-sample  The proposed approach applied to a different population  … Why?  Establish working collaborations  Publish articles explaining and/or vetting methods, data, approaches  Show capability to do research  Show feasibility of approach  Show competence with required methods  Review literature, understand competing approaches  Reveal interesting puzzles for investigation 30 [1/29/2013]
    31. 31. Background Planning Targeting WritingExercise: Planning Review Management Other Resources IN CLASS What are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your:  Organization?  Research program?  Proposed project? HOMEWORK: What resources are available to you to support your funding search from:  Your university? [Source: . Creative Commons Sharealike Licensnce]  Your department?  Yourself?  Other sources? 31 [1/29/2013]
    32. 32. Background Planning Targeting WritingReview: Planning Review Management Other Resources Start now! You need time to…  Engage collaborators  Structure proposal for review  Prepare submission materials  Obtain internal approvals Examine your research portfolio  Strengths, weaknesses, threats, opportunities  Identify where funding will have the most impact Identify institutional resources Prepare as well as plan  Cogent summaries of your research projects  Data! … Anecdotes, action research, scientific puzzles, pilots, and preliminary results 32 [1/29/2013]
    33. 33. Background Planning Targeting WritingTargeting Review Management Other Resources Types of sponsors Finding Sponsors Finding Opportunities 33 [1/29/2013]
    34. 34. Background Planning Targeting Writing Sponsors Review Management Other Resources “ „Who‟s on first?” Sponsor TypesSponsors Government Federal State and Local Foreign Foundation Public Community Family Private Corporate Corporate Sponsorship Office Community Relations Individual 34 [1/29/2013]
    35. 35. Background Planning Targeting WritingPhilanthropic Giving Review Management Other Resources Source: Frumkin 200635 [1/29/2013]
    36. 36. Major Science Research Background Review Planning Management Targeting Other Writing ResourcesFunding  Sources for funding statistics and trends:  Foundation Center:  American Academy for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Reports:  Consortium of Social Science Organizations (COSSA) Reports: 36 [1/29/2013]
    37. 37. Background Planning Targeting WritingFunding Sources @MIT Review Management Other Resources Source: Institutional Research, Office of the Provost l/re.html 37 [1/29/2013]
    38. 38. Background Planning Targeting WritingSelected Sci Sponsors Review Management Other Resources Major Federal Funders of Science Research  National Science Foundation (NSF):  National Institutes of Health (NIH):  Department of Energy:  Depart of Defense:  NASA Federal Funders of Social Science, Education, Humanities  Dept of Education (social sci, education)  NEH (small funder, but large proportion of humanities funding)  NIJ  See information 38 [1/29/2013]
    39. 39. Background Planning Targeting WritingSelected Sci Sponsors Review Management Other Resources Top Foundations Funding Science in 2010 See: 39 [1/29/2013]
    40. 40. Background Planning Targeting WritingSelected Soc Sci Sponsors Review Management Other Resources Top Seven Foundations Funding Social Science in 2010 See: 40 [1/29/2013]
    41. 41. Background Planning Targeting WritingFoundation Trends Review Management Other Resources Funding Distribution 2009 Patterns  Large foundations more likely to fund science, public policy  Science more likely to be funded if policy relevant  8 out of 10 fields experienced foundation fund decline 2008-9 Source: 41 [1/29/2013]
    42. 42. Foundation Funding Background Planning Targeting WritingDistribution Review Management Other Resources Average/Median Foundation Grant in related fields 2008  Social Science $197K/$50K  Education $171K/$30K  Public Affairs $137K/$30K Large100 Foundation Funders in related fields 2008  Social science: $181M, 709 awards  Higher education: $1087M, 2792 awards  Public affairs: $1259M, 6665 awards Medium 1200 + Foundation Funders in related fields 2008  Social science: $304M, 4126 awards  Higher education: $1297M, 6888 awards  Public affairs: $1255M, 11664 awards See: 42 [1/29/2013]
    43. 43. Background Planning Targeting WritingNSF Profile Review Management Other ResourcesTotal Research Budget $6.5 Billion (FY 10 est.)Focus Basic Research in Sciences and EngineeringEligibility U.S. Nonprofit Academic Institutions, (SBIR only Small Businesses)Submission process Open programs. Open request for proposals. Fixed and variable deadline schedules. Main description = 15 pages.Review process • Mixed & extensive peer reviewed. • Usually ad+hoc, panel, and P.O. review • Reviewers score proposal. Score‟s assign broad categories (e.g. highly competitive, competitive, non-competitive). Program officers have discretion inside categories. Budget for program fixed in advance. • 6 month review timePrograms of interest for soc sci FY08 actuals: Social Behavior and Economic ($223M), Education and Human Resources ($845M), Office of Cyberinfrastructure ($185M) RAPID (quick response), EAGER (small highly innovative/high risk)Overall success rate Varies by program 18-40%. Many programs ~ 20%.Award length • Up to five years in most programs • Most programs average 3-4 years, Median 2.66 Years (Ry10)Median award $108K (FY 09 , includes dissertations awards & indirect costs)Useful URL‟s • Grants: • Award Statistics: • Award Database: 43 [1/29/2013]
    44. 44. NSF By the Numbers Background Planning Targeting Writing (FY2010) Review Management Other Resources Median award $: ~123,391 Average award duration, in years: 2.9 Proposals: 55542 Awards: 12996 Rejections reconsidered: 37 Proposals funded after formal reconsideration : 2 Proposals informally revised and resubmitted: (a lot  ) Average number of proposals per pi before award: 2.3 Percentage of awards to top 10 research universities: ~12% Percentage of awards to top 100 research universities: 75% Proposal funding rate: 23% (Top 100 Universities: 26% , 17% for other PHD ranting institutions) Percentage of NSF PI‟s with more than one grant: 20% Overall funding rate % of PI‟s over 3 years: 37 Average months of salary support for PI‟s: ~1.1[Source: NSB FY2010 Report on NSF’s Merit Review Process] 44 [1/29/2013]
    45. 45. Background Planning Targeting Writing NIH Profile Review Management Other ResourcesTotal Research Budget $ 31 Billion (FY 10 est.) (not including ARRA)Focus Health & MedicineEligibility U.S., Small business, Non-profit, GovernmentsSubmission process Open program announcements (PA‟s). Open special initiatives (RFA‟s). Fixed deadline cycles. Main description = 13 pages. (for R01, shorter for some other proposals)Review process • Uniform & extensive peer reviewed. • Standing panels + ad hoc reviewers + triage + institute approval. • Panel scores proposal. Institute determines fundable threshold. Funding awards made at different times during fiscal year (may receive award later, if funding available)Programs of interest for soc sci $10 Billion for Behavioral/Social Science Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Sociobehavioral Analysis in Aging, NIH/HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); NIH/HHS: Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI); Retirement Economics; y; Information Technologies and the Internet in Health Services and Intervention Delivery; Research on Research IntegrityOverall success rate 22% (FY10 – R01‟s )Award length • Up to five years • Most programs average 3-4 yearsAverage award $419K (FY 10, research projects – R01, direct costs only)Useful URL‟s • Grants: • Contracts: 45 • Award Statistics/Abstracts: [1/29/2013]
    46. 46. Background Planning Targeting WritingNIH/NSF Tips Review Management Other Resources- Submit to individual institute/program- Multiple/parallel submission usually ok within one organization – as long as you notify program officers- Keep to the letter on all guidelines for length (i.e.. maximum length=minimum length), deadlines, headings, etc.- Research program officer/panelists- Inquire with program officer for clarification on submissions after reading the RFP thoroughly 46 [1/29/2013]
    47. 47. Background Planning Targeting WritingFoundations as Sponsors Review Management Other Resources 56000 Foundations* Many are small, no website Proposals are similar in structure, but generally briefer Alignment of project with foundation interest is critical Proposals are shorter  Typically a proposal acts as the capstone to a series of discussions with the foundation  3-10 Pages not unusual Review varies E.g. – at a larger foundation  Very small grants are within discretion of program officer  Small grants require review by multiple program officers  Large grants require program officer to invite (ad-hoc) peer review, then review by foundation board * National Center for Charitable Statistics, based on IRS Businees Master File 47 [1/29/2013]
    48. 48. Background Planning Targeting WritingApproaching Foundations Review Management Other Resources Use foundation directories to locate Work to get a referral to a program officer or board member  From someone on your board  Sponsored development officer  Another foundation officer If no referral …  The very largest foundations will issue RFP‟s  Or send a letter of inquiry prior to proposal  If letter of inquiry is not desired  Then don‟t inquire about funding, but  Do send a related publication and a summary of your work  Do offer to discuss your work with them Network, network, network  Discuss plans with program officer  Proposal is culmination of these repeated discussions (typically short) 48 [1/29/2013]
    49. 49. Background Planning Targeting WritingFoundation Alignment Review Management Other Resources Source: Frumkin 200649 [1/29/2013]
    50. 50. Background Planning Targeting WritingIndustrial Sponsors Review Management Other Resources Mutually beneficial when fundamental research can rapidly translated to commercial products Special issues:  intellectual property  communication & culture  agreement negotiation  establishing peer-to-peer relationship  Publications See:  administration/information-for-industrial-sponsors  collaborations-and-agreements 50 [1/29/2013]
    51. 51. Background Planning Targeting WritingCrowd Funding Review Management Other Resources Advantages : Low overhead, direct-to-researcher Disadvantages: Smaller, Less prestigious, Less peer reviewed, science science journalism any cause except any any any charity only 51 [1/29/2013]
    52. 52. Background Planning Targeting WritingFinding Sponsors Review Management Other Resources Professional Organizations  Chronicle of Philanthropy  Professional Societies  Sponsored Research Offices  Academic/Scientific Lobbying Groups Foundation Directories  The Foundation Center  Guidestar Sponsor Websites  For Example: , ,  (These and many more are listed in the resources section) 52 [1/29/2013]
    53. 53. Background Planning Targeting WritingFinding Opportunities Review Management Other Resources Subscribe to funder and association mailing lists Funder Website Special Programs Read Chronicle of Philanthropy, Association newsletters Targeted search of databases  Geographic area  Funding amount  Award type  Awardee eligibility Past Awards  Funders Sites  FOIA (freedom of information act)  Foundation Tax Forms Funding Databases 53 [1/29/2013]
    54. 54. Graduate and Postdoc Background Planning Targeting WritingOpportunities Review Management Other Resources Limitations and Opportunities  Cannot be the principal investigator of most grants as a PI/Grad student  May be a Co-PI on a dissertation improvement grant  May still co-author with a more senior colleague and be paid as grad, postdoc, staff, or consultant  Co-authorship is not an official status, but may be very practical Many fellowship/postdoc opportunities linked to career stage:  First and 2nd year graduate students  Summer funding  Dissertation improvement  Postdoctoral fellowships How to find…  Foundations, federal funding sources  Often obtained through social networks – sponsored by particular departments, research centers  Others are announced through bulletins (website, email list, newsletters) sponsored by professional associations (APSA, AER, ASA, etc.) Writing  Same overall structure as a grant proposal, similar strategies apply  Different expectations on length, formatting, level of detail 54 [1/29/2013]
    55. 55. Background Planning Targeting WritingInternal Funding @MIT Review Management Other Resources Graduate/Undergraduate Public Service Grants MISTI – International Science and Technology Initiatives Alumni Supported Education/Teaching Funding Graduate Fellowships International Fellowships and Grants (Starr, Luce, Carnegie) Department/School Funds/Fellowships Examples: CAMIT, SHASS, Aero 55 [1/29/2013]
    56. 56. Seeking Foundation Background Planning Targeting WritingFunding @MIT Review Management Other Resources MIT Office of Foundation Relations Be aware:  Some large foundations are managed, should consult with foundation relation office before contacting:  Indirect cost underecovery  Foundations typically pay no or little overhead,  Funds for "underrecovery" must be identified from internal sources and committed before submission  Faculty should work with department heads, administrative officers, Foundation Relations staff, and school development officers 56 [1/29/2013]
    57. 57. Background Planning Targeting WritingFunding Information @MIT Review Management Other Resources OSP-Licensed External Funding Database: Foundation Relation Office Licensed External Funding (Contact the Foundation Relations Office for Access) External Graduate Fellowships: CIS Fellowship Database (includes postdoctoral) MIT Venture Mentoring Service 57 [1/29/2013]
    58. 58. Background Planning Targeting WritingSome Notable Fellowships Review Management Other Resources Early Graduate Work  Javits (D.O.E.), Soros, NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, Ford Foundation, See: Mid-Late Graduate Career  Fulbrights:  Harvard summer funding:  Internal Harvard funding:  NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement:  Separate applications through each NSF program  NIH Support for Individual‟s doing Doctorates:  Also see the HU graduate support database and others on my site: Postdoctoral fellowships  Most postdocs are administered and awarded through individual institutions and research groups…  NSF postdoctoral opportunities:  NIH Postdoc for Individual Applicants  Also see the HU postdoc database and others on my site: 58 [1/29/2013]
    59. 59. Background Planning Targeting WritingReading RFP‟s Review Management Other Resources First Reading: Eligibility Requirements  Project objectives  Eligibility  Deadlines  Award levels Second Reading: Structure and content  Outline of proposal  Special requirements  Additional Technical Requirements Third Reading: Search for intellectual foundations & referent  Referenced theories, reports  Key ideas, terminology 59 [1/29/2013]
    60. 60. Background Planning Targeting WritingUnstated requirements Review Management Other Resources Meta-Requirements:  Effectiveness  Accountability  Legitimacy Grey Zones:  How program serves both the founder and recipient interests  Hot-button issues at funder  Amount of in-kind cost-sharing  Reputation of your organization and staff  Reasonable salaries on budget  Percentages of secretarial, support personnel  Things may hide in the boilerplate  Simultaneous submissions What to do:  Talk to colleagues  Talk to program officers  Examine previous projects funded by the same program 60 [1/29/2013]
    61. 61. Background Planning Targeting WritingExercise: Reading an RFP Review Management Other Resources Read the RFP included in the handout. (Also available here: y=nsf08550) Identify the following  Eligibility requirements  Structure and content requirement  Intellectual foundations, key ideas  Domains/expertise of likely reviewers Draft a generic outline of a response to the RFPHOMEWORK Read background information about NSF and the directorates sponsoring this program at the NSF website What are the core missions of these organizations? What are the key stakeholders? What are some likely unwritten requirements? 61 [1/29/2013]
    62. 62. Background Planning Targeting WritingReview: Targeting Review Management Other Resources- Use online sources to identify… - The top funders in your area - Smaller funders with a special interest in “your” problem - Monitor - Funder mailing list and web sites - Professional associations and aggregated funding databases- Analyze particular programs and “RFP‟s” - - What are eligibility requirements? - - What is expected structure and content of proposal? [Source: . - What are intellectual foundations? Creative Commons Sharealike Licensnce] - Examine previous funded projects, and talk with colleagues and funders to find “unstated” requirements 62 [1/29/2013]
    63. 63. Background Planning Targeting WritingWriting & Submission Review Management Other Resources What to write  Outlines of Proposals  Writing Strategies Nuts and bolts  Materials and Special Sections  Managing the Submission Process 63 [1/29/2013]
    64. 64. Background Planning Targeting WritingProposal Components Review Management Other Resources Main Description & Summary  Titles  Abstracts  Executive Summaries  Description (Main) Supporting Material  Budgets  Management Plans  Data Management Plans  Appendices [Source: NIH] Collaboration Support  Budgeting  Letters & Memoranda of Endorsement, Support, Agreement 64 [1/29/2013]
    65. 65. Background Planning Targeting WritingMain Description Review Management Other Resources The Main Project Description  Organization  General Writing Strategies  Writing Tips  Outline 65 [1/29/2013]
    66. 66. Background Planning Targeting WritingProposal Organization Review Management Other Resources In most cases organize around outcomes When outcome may be small compared to method, organize around method If for general operating support, etc. organize around recent accomplishments, awards, present and future programs For awards, some fellowships, focus around accomplishments and future promise Know your disciplinary approach:[Lamont 2009]  Comprehensive – attention to details, context  “knowledge for knowledge’s sake”  Constructivist – giving voice, reflexivity  “knowledge for social change”  Positivist – generalization, hypothesis testing  Utilitarian – positivist focused on instrumental knowledge 66 [1/29/2013]
    67. 67. What we‟d like reviewers to think…67 [1/29/2013]
    68. 68. Background Planning Targeting WritingSimple Proposal Outline Review Management Other Resources State your central research question Explain how it is important Say what you plan to do (be realistic) Say why you plan to do it (and how the literature supports it)Other materials support this:  References – support importance & the “why” of your plans  Bio – supports your ability to carry out the “what”  Budget, Timeline – supports the “what” 68 [1/29/2013]
    69. 69. Heilmeiers Catechism Background Planning Targeting Writing(yeah! Wikipedia) Review Management Other Resources What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon. How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice? Whats new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful? Who cares? If youre successful, what difference will it make? What are the risks and the payoffs? How much will it cost? How long will it take? What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success? 69 [1/29/2013]
    70. 70. More detailed proposal Background Planning Targeting Writingoutline Review Management Other Resources1. Introduction (Specific Aims) - 1 page 1. Broad long term objectives: broadest use of findings, vision 2. Objectives (specific aims): problems to be addressed 3. Hypotheses/research questions: testable/answerable 4. Research rationale: why do this research now?2. Background and Significance (literature review, conceptual framework) – 2-3 pages 1. Establish importance of objectives 2. Put hypotheses in coherent context 3. Highlight intellectual merits 4. Justify research design and methods3. Preliminary Studies 1. Relationship between this project and your prior research 2. Demonstrate mastery of required methods 3. Use pilot data to highlight interesting puzzles, preliminary results4. Research design and methods 1. Explains completely how each hypothesis/question will be tested 2. Should be naturally connected to background and significance, preliminary studies 3. Most detailed/painstaking section 4. Important to note alternative designs, procedures, methods, etc. and justify why current one chosen 70 [1/29/2013]
    71. 71. Background Planning Targeting Writing Review Management Other ResourcesDetailed Research & Methods Project design  Type of design  Enough information to determine appropriateness  Simpler designs and quantitative designs preferred Subjects/Case  Characteristics of sample population  Selection mechanism  Amelioration of attrition and nonresponse  Benefits to subjects Instruments  Instruments to be used  Reliability and validity  Measurement levels Procedures  Sufficient detail for replication of major aspects…  Alternatives con  Measurement levels  Data cleaning and correction Methods of analysis  Relate to hypotheses  Statistical methods and models  Effect size, power and significance  Expected results  How will data be interepeted 71 [1/29/2013]
    72. 72. Qualitative ResearchMethods Careful attention to:  Connection between theory, data, and constructs  Alternative explanations  Negative cases and falsifiability  Operationalization of constructs  Expected findings  What counts as data; how it will be analyzed; how it will be collected  Generalizability beyond selected cases  Required: cultural fluency, language skill, contextual knowledge, methodological proficiency Some potential advantages of qualitative approach  Behavior and opinions that are not well understood my be difficult to quantify  Theory and hypothesis formation  May be more appropriate for sensitive/vulnerable populations  Process tracing can be used to expand set of observable implications of theory  Investigation of substantively/theoretically significant cases[See: Workshop on Interdisciplinary Standards for Systematic Qualitative Research Report, ] 72 [1/29/2013]
    73. 73. Variation: Dissertation Background Review Planning Management Targeting Other Writing ResourcesProposal Typically same structure, review as other research grants Reflects smaller projects than faculty proposals:  Often shorter duration  Smaller $$: e.g.,  Shorter proposal: e.g. 10 pages  Tend to ask for resource not available at the university, such as: travel for field work, data collection, data purchase, specialized analysis services, special equipment  Programs vary widely – check details of the individual program  Does not require PI status  Some are awarded to individuals, not institutions  Others are awarded to faculty advisor, with student as CO-PI 73 [1/29/2013]
    74. 74. Background Planning Targeting WritingGeneral Reviewer Questions Review Management Other Resources How do you know there is a need for what you propose? Who or what would be affected, how much, in what ways? How urgent, in relationship to what communities? Is this a priority for your institution/research program? Who else is working on issue locally/nationally? What other ways of addressing problem have been tried? Why should these particular needs/population receive attention now? What happens if project is not implemented now? Why are you best suited to do work? How you have capacity to initiate this effort? How do you know this is feasible? What insight makes this solvable? Synergies – complements other work Stakeholders, critical communities, incentives to involvement? Relationship to literature? Does the literature support the approach taken? How will the project be used in the future? Will it be of lasting value? 74 [1/29/2013]
    75. 75. Background Planning Targeting WritingOn Originality/Innovation* Review Management Other Resources Innovation is sometime required, always helpful Reviewers are often open to different forms of innovation:  New approach  New question  New data  New perspective  New connections  New argument  New synthesis  New importation into a discipline Your proposal should state clearly what is original. *Credit to Lamont 2009 for highlighting these 75 [1/29/2013]
    76. 76. How to be original Background Review Planning Management Targeting Other Writing Resources(like everyone else…)(According to Ayres and Nalebuff 2003) Imagine the unconstrained solution – what if you had unlimited time, brains and $? Look at how similar problem is solved in other domains Look for applications of a solution in your domain to other problems Identify the fundamental constraints that any solution would satisfy Identify externalities Try flipping portions of earlier approaches (According to Ron Hale Evans 2006)  Permute ideas: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse  Impose artificial constraints on solution  Identify analogies and systematically list correspondences 76 [1/29/2013]
    77. 77. Background Planning Targeting WritingWriting Organization Review Management Other Resources Outline format  Organize outline in exact form as implied by RFP  Answer every question in the RFP, address every topic.  Keep order of answers the same as in RFP. Topic Outline Paragraph  First line of each paragraph summarizes single topic  Collection of first lines coherently summarizes section  Sections summarize argument Be consistent in style, terminology Answer possible objections Customize for every funder 77 [1/29/2013]
    78. 78. Background Planning Targeting WritingWriting for Reviewers Review Management Other ResourcesWrite to make it easy for reviewers… Funnel, Focus, and Highlight*  Funnel from general to specific  Focus on your proposed research  Highlight innovations, key decisions, and answers to RFP questions Inverted pyramid summarization  Title summarizes project  Lead sentence summarizes project  Abstract summarizes  Executive summary Outline & Topic Sentence Structure  Section headings and sub-headings follow logical outline  Use expected headings and ordering  Short summary paragraphs at end  Topic sentences  First sentence in paragraph summarizes paragraph  Topic sentences form outline of section  Highlight key points*[Writing Successful Science Proposals by A. J. Friedland, C.L. Folt] 78 [1/29/2013]
    79. 79. Background Planning Targeting WritingWriting Style Goals Review Management Other Resources Clarity  The Common Prerequisite. Concision Force Positivity Inclusion  Include reviewers as audience  Include community as beneficiaries  Invite funders to become part of solution … but do not assume common knowledge 79 [1/29/2013]
    80. 80. Background Planning Targeting WritingWriting Style Tips Review Management Other Resources Use active & specific language (not passive & vague) "Vigorous writing is concise" Avoid negativity about project ("will" not "would", – Strunk & White "expect" not "hope") Use strong action words Groups of three adjectives. Then support them with facts. Avoid first person singular/plural (where possible) Topic sentence structure Simple sentences – only one dependent clause Avoid unnecessary synonyms Avoid unnecessary jargon Lots of headings Numbered and bulleted lists Short paragraphs Write as you should speak Dont exaggerate Keep value judgments, political views, humor, controversial issues out Italics/bold to highlight key issues Avoid abbreviations, acronyms Do not assume common knowledge [Source: Library of Congress] 80 [1/29/2013]
    81. 81. Background Planning Targeting WritingIncluding Figures Review Management Other ResourcesUse images, pictures, & charts for… Clarity – show things that are hard to describe Concision – images portray complex structure Demonstrate Preliminary Results  Proof of concept  Inter-ocular impactBeware of… Clip-art “Chartjunk” Unfaithful reproduction (color, fine detail, formats, …) 81 [1/29/2013]
    82. 82. Background Planning Targeting WritingSupporting Materials Review Management Other Resources References and citations Titles and Abstracts Pre-proposals Other supporting materials Project Plans 82 [1/29/2013]
    83. 83. Background Planning Targeting WritingReferences and Citations Review Management Other ResourcesReferences support significance and rationale. Citations  Use citation to establish background, significance, methods, approach, etc.  Usually 1-3 citations are sufficient to establish a point  Usually citations should be < ~10 years old  On controversial topics, cite opposing views as well  Generally appropriate to cite reviewers‟ related work Use a consistent format in both citations and references Read all work referenced Reference items should include:  all authors in publication sequence  article and journal title or book title  volume number & page numbers  year of publication  URL, if available, including access date References should not include:  parenthetical remarks/annotations  works not cited (Note: Follow the RFP, even if it differs from this.) 83 [1/29/2013]
    84. 84. Background Planning Targeting WritingTitles and Abstracts Review Management Other ResourcesTitles and abstracts summarize your proposal for different forms of review. Titles  Specific – guide choice of reviewers  Active – set reviewer expectation  Avoid cute titles & politically sensitive words Abstract  May be the only thing read at some stages of review  Capture:  Problem being solved, and why its importance  Essence of approach, and why its clever  Research rationale, and why its timely  [If possible] Comparative advantage of investigators  NSF: Should address intellectual merits and broader impacts explicitly. (in separate paragraphs, with italics…) Executive Summary  Usually not included. Longer version of abstract. 84 [1/29/2013]
    85. 85. Background Planning Targeting WritingPre-Proposals Review Management Other ResourcesPre-proposals summarize your project for different reviewers. Letter of intent  Usually quite short < page.  Guides program officer in creating the reviewer pool in advance. Pre-proposal  Part of a multi-stage competition  Establish eligibility, vision, preparedness  Detailed rationale and approach should be put in full proposal 85 [1/29/2013]
    86. 86. Other supporting materials Background Planning Targeting Writing Review Management Other Resources Letters Bios/CV‟s Facilities Appendices 86 [1/29/2013]
    87. 87. Background Planning Targeting WritingBios Review Management Other Resources Establish qualifications Establish preparedness for the research Clearly distinguish education, publications, positions held, projects/grants completed Where space is limited -- avoid padding with conference activity, editorial responsibility (etc.), minor honors, unless directly relevant Stick to requested format of RFP 87 [1/29/2013]
    88. 88. Background Planning Targeting WritingLetters Review Management Other Resources Reference  Positive evaluation of your past work / promise of future work  Most appropriate for fellowships/awards  Not appropriate for research projects Endorsement  General positive evaluation of proposed project  Most useful when it shows acceptance from perceived rivals, or broad-based community acceptance Support  Makes commitment to provide some service or resource  Can be very useful (more than endorsement) when the supporter is not funded by the grant Agreement (also called Letter/Memorandum of Understanding)  From partners, consultants, contractors funded on the grant  Confirms availability, pricing, scope of work Logistics  On letterhead  Line up early  Consider supplying supporting writer with a proposed outline for their letter 88 [1/29/2013]
    89. 89. Background Planning Targeting WritingBudgeting Process @MIT Review Management Other ResourcesSee: Faculty/Research Staff effort: 1. Adhere to NIH caps 2. Special language for AY effort of less than 10%2. Graduate Students/Postdocs: 1. Salaries and tuition subsidies (if any) set by school/DLC 2. Restrictions on use of Federal research grants for Postdoc funding 3. GRA tuition subsidy may be used as cost sharing (within limits)3. F&A Rate 1. Annually negotiated 2. Excludes tuition, capital expenditures, major equipment and subaward expenses over $25K 3. Non-Research activities carry separate rate 4. Research F&A rate is not reduced for any funder.4. Underrecovery 1. If funder will not support F&A rate, PI must identify & commit internal funding to recover difference 89 [1/29/2013]
    90. 90. Background Planning Targeting WritingAppendices Review Management Other Resources Put in what RFP asks for Minimize other material Reviewers might not read 90 [1/29/2013]
    91. 91. Project PlansProject plans are your project from different participants/stakeholders points of view… Budgets/Budget Justification Dissemination Plan Project Management Plan Data Management Plan Evaluation Plan Human subjects Postdoc mentoring plans Animal Use 91 [1/29/2013]
    92. 92. Background Planning Targeting WritingBudgets Review Management Other ResourcesA budget is your project from the financial perspective. Basic Categories:  Internal People & benefits people costs (health insurance, etc.)  PI  Staff  Grad/Ugrad/Postdoc  Consultants  Participants  Big equipment (over $5K)  Other “direct” costs (laptops, staples, travel)  Supplies  Travel  Etc  “indirect” costs/overhead 92 [1/29/2013]
    93. 93. Background Planning Targeting WritingHow Much to Budget? Review Management Other Resources Budget what you need to carry out the science  Budget what you need  Make it clear how each budget item supports the scientific plan Do‟s and Don‟ts  Do estimate costs based on current typical costs  Don‟t cut corners  Do talk to the program officer about unusual expenses or exceeding suggested limits  Do prepare for budget reduction  What would you leave out or scale down?  How would the results be diminished?  Would the project still be feasible? 93 [1/29/2013]
    94. 94. Background Planning Targeting WritingBudget Tips Review Management Other Resources What staff? Experience, education, training? Market salaries? Major Categories – May be limited flexibility to move between categories  Staff  Consultants  Equipment  Travel  Stipends Indirect  not easily traceable to a specific costing object  Indirect policies vary – accountant vs. foundation vs. federal Disallowed – personal entertainment, alcohol, bribes, development staff (fundraising), and other foundation specific disallowables Avoid miscellaneous categories (even if labeled "contingency") Dont round numbers very much Multiple institution Logistics  Collaborative budget – each institution manages their part  Subaward – all money flows (and is taxed) through one institution, other institutions have sub-budgets  Consultant/contract – limited fee-for-service payment to individual or institution 94 [1/29/2013]
    95. 95. Background Planning Targeting WritingDissemination Review Management Other ResourcesDissemination is your project from the community stakeholder perspective. Articles/books Reviews Web site Conferences Training/short courses Learning modules Community involvementSponsors may have additional requirements Particular forms or forums Open access 95 [1/29/2013]
    96. 96. Background Planning Targeting WritingManagement Plan Review Management Other ResourcesA management plan is your project from the operational perspective. Who  Staffing  Scientific and project management  Org chart When (typically year by year, maybe quarterly)  Major milestones:  objectives, evaluations, milestones  Deliverables  External deadlines  Staff recruitment  Participant recruitment  Marketing/dissemination (Occasionally) Risk Management  How will milestones/deliverables be measured  Major risks to schedule  Amelioration and contingency 96 [1/29/2013]
    97. 97. Background Planning Targeting WritingEvaluation Plan Review Management Other Resources Involve evaluator from beginning. May need to write this part Basics:  Who will conduct? What/who will be evaluated? How will evaluation data be collected? Who will interpret? When How will it be distributed? Standards: Accuracy; Feasibility (realistic/frugal/prudent; Propriety (legal/ethical); Utility (participants/end user) Formative vs. summative Qualitative vs. summative Internal vs. external Measurement tools / instruments Document everything Periodic reports See: 97 [1/29/2013]
    98. 98. Background Planning Targeting WritingData Management Plan Review Management Other Resources When is it required?  Any NIH request over $500K  All NSF proposals after 12/31/2010  NIJ  Wellcome Trust  Any proposal where collected data will be a resource beyond the project Safeguarding data during collection  Documentation  Backup and recovery  Review Treatment of confidential information  Overview:  Separation of identifying and sensitive information  Obtain certificate of confidentiality, other legal safeguards  De-identification and public use files Dissemination  Archiving commitment (include letter of support)  Archiving timeline  Access procedures  Documentation  User vetting, tracking, and support One size does not fit all projects. 98 [1/29/2013]