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Don't Gamble With Funding Your Research
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Megan Drangstveit, presentation at 2013 ACPA Convention in Las Vegas NV. …

Megan Drangstveit, presentation at 2013 ACPA Convention in Las Vegas NV.

Identifying and securing funding within higher education can mean the difference between a program continuing or ending, or a dissertation being completed on time, if at all. Understanding how to find appropriate funding opportunities, compose grant applications, and successfully secure funding for personal or organizational projects is a skill that can be helpful no matter your position. This session aims to assist higher education / student affairs practitioners and students in exploring the world of grants and external funding.

Please contact Megan at mdrangst@msu.edu with any questions.

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  • This is an informal presentation so feel free to stop and ask questions along the way.
  • Target your proposal at the intersection of four dimensions.
  • Early Stage, e.g. Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans Predissertation, e.g. research grants Dissertation, “the classic” category of funding, e.g. data collection--NSF, AERA, Fulbright Write-Up: e.g. living expenses/tuition--Spencer, AAUW Postdoctoral: Ford, UC, Columbia Research/Project grants can be used for project creation, innovation, and research.
  • When you are looking at a call for proposals or a grant description, here are some of the common eligibility issues: Citizenship, e.g. International Students (AERA/Spencer) vs. Domestic (AAUW & Fulbright). Some awards just for international students others just for domestic. Comprehensive exams and coursework--often a requirement of proposal—if looking at data collection don’t necessarily have to have proposal; some flexibility within requirements (depending on project coordinator); don’t necessarily need UCHRIS Defense of dissertation proposal--often a requirement of proposal—not necessarily, flexibility Employment--working fulltime or not, most can only work ¼ time, professional associations, institutions where they work, and associations that the institutions is affiliated with Faculty advisor’s “ok”: some grants ask for your sponsor or require a faculty as a lead PI. We recommend getting your advisor on board as early as possible in the process.
  • What are the sponsor’s goals and priorities? What have they funded in the past? i.e. usually abstracts/summary of awarded dissertation online, brief bios/descriptions of past fellows What is their program focus? population? method? Issue?: i.e., methods/qualitative (AERA), science or math/professional development & teaching/development of new methods (NSF) Who can I contact for information for assistance, guidance, or advice? i.e., contact program officers in a lot of cases (NSF) -- be sure you can be articulate about your project What are the review criteria? Do they have sample proposals?
  • It will likely take a minimum of 6 months until you receive the funding. Apply in Fall and find out in Spring for funding the next year; funding available in summer (Spencer, AAUW); some have a shorter time frame (AERA) and you get $ a little more quickly. What are you looking for funding for? Do you need $ to fund data collection, travel, living expenses, tuition. What do the programs fund? Data collection/dissertation completion. The proposal writing process can take awhile--allow plenty of time to revise! e.g. Fulbright requirements take multiple months to arrange--host country/institution letter, language requirement, etc. Apply through competitive process at MSU.
  • Target your proposal at the intersection of four dimensions.
  • ** Additional institutional involvement for larger $$ amounts – talk with your advisor about departmental funding and other sources
  • ACPA - http://www.acpafoundation.org/content/grants NASPA - http://www.naspa.org ACUHO-I - http://www.nacada.ksu.edu NACA - http://www.naca.org/Pages/Home.aspx NACADA - http://www.nacada.ksu.edu AERA - http://www.aera.net/default.aspx ASHE - http://www.ashe.ws AAUW - http://www.aauw.org NIH - http://nih.gov NSF - http://www.nsf.gov Ed.gov - http://www.ed.gov Spencer - http://www.spencer.org/content.cfm/fellowship-awards Ford Foundation - http://www.fordfoundation.org/ SSRC - http://www.ssrc.org ETS - http://www.ets.org/research Fulbright - http://www.iie.org/en/Fulbright/
  • There is a regular cycle to most grants. If you miss a deadline you may have to wait an entire year to apply. So plan ahead.
  • This video is extremely helpful, no matter your discipline. The tips provided are highlighted on the next slide.
  • Hook – start with an interesting point Compass – give people an overview of where you’re going to go
  • Read the proposal instructions and follow them meticulously. Answer all the questions and order research statement by the outline of the reader score card. Often the rubric for evaluation will be available during the writing process. Formatting (if margins or page limit is off, funder may throw out immediately w/o reading). Some reviewers read the budget first, then quit reading if your budget is not reasonable.
  • Read the proposal instructions and follow them meticulously. Answer all the questions and order research statement by the outline of the reader score card. Often the rubric for evaluation will be available during the writing process. Formatting (if margins or page limit is off, funder may throw out immediately w/o reading). Some reviewers read the budget first, then quit reading if your budget is not reasonable.
  • If you’re seeking larger amounts (>$20,000), be sure to involve university grant administration in your process, as there may be larger issues at play (competing for funds, processing internally, etc). They can also help you work though issues such as figuring out staff support, space, and what to do with “stuff” associated with your funds.


  • 1. Don’t Gamble WithFunding Your ResearchMegan DrangstveitMichigan State UniversityCo-Sponsored:Standing Committee for Graduate Students and New Professionals (SCGSNP)Commission for Graduate and Professional Student Affairs (CGPSA) 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Planet Hollywood, Sunset 5 #ACPA13Money
  • 2. IntroductionsMegan Drangstveitmdrangst@msu.eduDoctoral StudentHigher, Adult & Lifelong EducationGraduate Assistant Institute for Research on Teaching & Learning
  • 3. Program DescriptionIdentifying and securing funding within higher educationcan mean the difference between a program continuing orending, or a dissertation being completed on time, if at all.Understanding how to find appropriate fundingopportunities, compose grant applications, and successfullysecure funding for personal or organizational projects is askill that can be helpful no matter your position. Thissession aims to assist higher education / student affairspractitioners and students in exploring the world of grantsand external funding. #ACPA13Money
  • 4. Learning Objectives1. Understand the grant writing process – identify, understand, pursue.2. Identify resources to find appropriate funding for dissertation, independent research, and/or projects.Keywords Professional Outcomes • Graduate Students and New • Human and Organizational Professionals Resources • Professional Preparation • Transforming Higher Education
  • 5. Today’s Plan• Audience introductions• Target proposals: Money, Eligibility, Fit, Time• Finding funders• Basics of grant proposals• Resources• Q&A
  • 6. Audience Poll (think, pair, share)1. What are grants and how can they help me?2. Who has grant experience (writing, reviewing, etc)?3. What types of things are you hoping to fund?4. Where would you expect to look for funding?5. What assumptions do you have about the external funding process?
  • 7. What role can grants (or other externalfunds) play in my career?• Grants can be used for training, travel, work buy-outs, supplies, hourly staff, tuition, graduate assistantships.• Funds can be used to complete a dissertation, create/sustain a program, or conduct small research projects.• Funding agencies exist to advance research and/or practice within an area.• Foundations are required to spend their funds.• Start small, “earn” your way up to larger awards.
  • 8. Why Not?• If you’re seeking funding for your dissertation, you will do or have already done (most of) the work.• Grant writing skills are valued no matter your role. Turning your idea into a competitive grant proposal takes: A little An exciting A support planning idea network
  • 9. Target the proposal at the intersectionwhere:
  • 10. Money… is there research funding available?Internal Funding External Funding• Your department / • Databases college / program • Regional foundations• Research entities on • Professional campus (grant administration, other organizations & departments) associations• Institution-wide • Government entities opportunities
  • 11. Eligibility …are you ready? Think one stepAcademic Funding ahead! OR: Research or Project Grants To fund project creation, operation, and/or research activities
  • 12. Eligibility…do you meet the sponsor’s requirements?• Citizenship?• Comprehensive exams and/or coursework complete?• Dissertation proposal defense complete?• Full-time employee vs. faculty member vs. student?• Faculty advisor’s “OK”
  • 13. Fit…does your project match the funder’s goals and priorities?Many sponsors have websites with helpful information:• What are the sponsor’s goals and priorities? What have they funded in the past?• What is their program focus? population? method? Issue?• Who can I contact for information for assistance, guidance, or advice?• What are the review criteria?• Do they have sample proposals?
  • 14. Time... can a competitive proposal be written in the time available?• Start early.• Assess your timeline. ▫ When will you complete doctoral program requirements? collect data? conduct analysis? write up? ▫ Can your continue operations until funding would be received?• Do you have time to complete the application?• How long does it take for a decision? When will the funds become available?• Can you reapply?
  • 15. Target the proposal at the intersectionwhere:
  • 16. Finding funders• It’s never too early or too late to start searching, but you will need to cut through the clutter and be a “smart searcher”• To be successful, you will need to:
  • 17. 1. Search in the right places• Start local.• Talk to faculty members, people on campus with similar interests, supervisors, colleagues, those who work in grant-funded programs.• Talk with your librarians. ▫ MSU Libraries, Jon Harrison ▫ http://staff.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/index.htm• Consider any on-campus funding search resources.• Explore professional/academic associations.
  • 18. MSU Libraries
  • 19. MSU Libraries
  • 20. Examples of grant-funded programs(at an institutional level)
  • 21. 1. Search in the right places• Databases. Some may be available on your campus. ▫ Community of Science ▫ SciVal Funding ▫ Foundation Center  Foundation Directory Online Professional  Foundation Grants to Individuals Online ▫ GrantSelect ▫ GuideStar
  • 22. 1. Search in the right places• Government databases & agencies ▫ Government databases (e.g. grants.gov) ▫ Government agencies (NSF, NIH, etc.) ▫ State governments• Examples of other databases ▫ MSU IRTL: http://education.msu.edu/irtl/grad/deadlines/ ▫ MSU IRTL Resources page: http://education.msu.edu/irtl/grad/search.asp
  • 23. 1. Search in the right placesQuick sharing:• Talk with your neighbors about any resources for identifying funding opportunities you have used, expect to use, think exist, or doubt exist on your own campuses.• Who can you identify as a possible resource / connection to learning more?
  • 24. 2. Know relevant agencies Links to specific orgs are in the Notes for this slide
  • 25. 3. Learn grant cycles. Sept: APA, AERA, & NSF June: NCES, AERA, Oct: Fulbright, IRA, & Head Start Spencer Nov: AAUW, SSRC, IRA, Ford, & AERA Dec: AAUW & AAAS May: NCES & ACHE Jan: AIR, AERA, IRA, & APA Apr: NCES Feb: ETS, NSF
  • 26. “There is no amount ofgrantsmanship that will turn a badidea into a good one, but there aremany ways to disguise a goodone.” William Raub former Deputy Director, NIH
  • 27. What makes a grant proposal successful?• There is intense competition for a limited amount of research funds. This video from the NIH highlights what resonates with grant reviewers, and includes tips for achieving success.• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAOGtr0pM6Q
  • 28. What makes a grant proposal successful?• start early • clear focus• contact with funding sponsor • follows the instructions• research matches funding precisely announcement • applicant seeks outside review• aligned with priorities of before submitting sponsor • compelling idea that advances• written with the review the science process in mind • not too ambitious or• captures reviewers’ attention unrealistic• well-organized, engaging • no typos, grammatical errors language • reasonable and accurate budget • submitted on time
  • 29. Writing a grant proposal can beconsidered an art…• “A successfully funded grant proposal is a ▫ well-researched, ▫ meticulously prepared, ▫ compelling, ▫ persuasively written presentation of your work• aimed at individuals who decide whether they want to select and support your research project” (Gant, 2010). Gant, D. Grant Writing 101 [Articulate presentation]. Retrieved from the University of California at San Diego Conflict of Interest Office Web site: http://ocga2.ucsd.edu/eLearning/GW101/
  • 30. Project Summary• Title: clear, accurate, and succinct• Abstract: likely the most important part of the grant proposal. This should be accessible to anyone reading it, and will likely be written last.
  • 31. Draft a compelling narrative• “Agencies will not fund an idea not embedded in a convincing pattern of narrative detail and performance specificity tightly mapped to funding agency objectives” (Cronan, 2007).• The “hook” and the “compass paragraph” -- capture their attention. They may not read past the first paragraph.• Succinct, organized, engaging language that immediately captures the reviewers attention and makes your proposal stand out.• Show your project is well-planned and feasible.• Avoid jargon, check spelling and punctuation.• Be selective and critical in literature review. Cronan, M. Generic Strategies for Writing Competitive Proposals [PowerPoint presentation]. Retrieved Texas A&M University Office of Research & Graduate Studies Web site: http://opd.tamu.edu/
  • 32. Support Materials• Biographical Narrative: Share motivations, experiences, and future goals.• Budget: Be reasonable and accurate. Meet the sponsor’s requirements. Use their required form/format.• Letters of Recommendation / Support: Give concrete examples. Contextualize your research, project, and scholarly potential.
  • 33. Some practical advice…• Start early. Give yourself plenty of time to write a competitive proposal and revise, revise, revise.• Build your intelligence about the sponsor. Connect your research/project interests with sponsor’s priorities and funding criteria. Be prepared when contacting a program officer for assistance, guidance, and/or advice.
  • 34. Some practical advice…• Follow the proposal instructions. ▫ answer ALL the questions ▫ stick to the format (font, margin, and page limits) and structure requirements ▫ include a reasonable and accurate budget that meets the sponsor’s requirements ▫ review any available rubrics• Have many people review your materials – both within and external to your area.
  • 35. Reviewers• Keep in mind that the reviewers may not be in your same discipline / functional area.• Write clearly in a way that is accessible to non- academics.• Grab their attention right away – title, intro sentence, etc.• Websites may provide information on past/current reviewers. Use this knowledge to inform your writing.
  • 36. Reviewers• Talk to colleagues about any past experiences as reviewers. What did they look for? What impressed them? What were basic mistakes they saw? How did they evaluate proposals with others from different specializations?• If possible, take advantage of opportunities to serve as a reviewer for grants, awards, etc within your field.
  • 37. Create Your Support Network Colleagues & Colleagues & Friends Friends You You Research Research Advisor // Advisor Administration Administration Supervisor Supervisor Staff Staff
  • 38. Quick check in• Can you name any experiences or responsibilities that have similar processes, tasks, or expectations?• What related skills do you already possess?• Does anyone want to share any of their experiences related to what was covered today?
  • 39. Select resourcesCarlson, M., & O’Neal-McElrath, T. (2011). Winning grants step by step, third edition. Jossey-Bass.Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support (GRAPES) Database: http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/asis/grapes/search.aspHarrison, J. (2012). Grants and related resources. MSU Libraries. Reference Librarian Jon Harrison http://staff.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/index.htmKraicer, J. (1997). The art of grantsmanship. University of Toronto.Michigan State University. (2012). Institute for Research on Teaching & Learning. http://education.msu.edu/irtl/grad/Pzreworski, A., & Salomon, F. (1998). On the art of writing proposals. Brooklyn: Social Science Research Council. (free link)Texas A&M University. (2006). The craft of grant writing.
  • 40. Moving forward … Get started. Find funders. Prepare proposals.• What do you want to fund?• Where can you find funding?• Who can be part of your support network?
  • 41. Questions?Megan Drangstveitmdrangst@msu.eduInstitute for Research on Teaching and LearningMichigan State University, College of Educationhttp://education.msu.edu/irtl/grad Thank You!