The Concept Note is a short description of the nature of the water policy or technology gap and the research and development approach to address the gap. The Concept Note will identify the research Centers, personnel, and other collaborators involved, and it will indicate the approximate budget that each Center will receive.
Grants Manager: The Grants Manager, an interim position located in the IMU, will initially chair the Selection Committee and oversee the RFA and grant awards. Director of Research: The Director of Research will be a full-time position located in the IMU/Secretariat. The Director of Research will coordinate with the Grants Manager to accept applications and respond to applicants. R&D Lead: The R&D Lead is a representative of a US University, retained to support the IMU. The R&D Lead will support will chair and assemble the Technical Reviewers and lead the development of R&D capacity building activities. Selection Committee: The Selection Committee will decide awards for Seed Funds, evaluate Concept Notes and invite Full Applications. The Selection committee will include the Grants Manager, IMU Director, R&D Lead, and/or the Director of Research. Technical Reviewers: Technical Reviewers will be selected from US Government agencies. The Technical Reviewers will be organized by the R&D Lead. The Technical Reviewers will evaluate Full PR&D Grant Applications for technical merit, and make award recommendations to the Selection Committee.Award Committee: The Award Committee will make final decisions on PR&D Grant awards. The Selection committee will include the Grants Manager, IMU Director, and the Director of Research.
Quarterly reports required. Who will do these? Who reviews and receives? How much USAID lingo is needed?
Need to get the MENA NWC specifics here
1. Project Title: The title should be descriptive and brief. 2. The Investigators: Include collaborating scientists and their institutional affiliations. Include telephone and e-mail addresses. Identify the lead or principal person who will serve as the key contact for the proposed project and to whom correspondence should be addressed. 3. Background: Describe the water management/policy/technology gap to be addressed. Provide a brief summary of earlier studies, the technical basis, and starting point for the proposed project. Cite key literature references, as appropriate. 4. Objectives: Describe how the project will address the water management/policy/technology gap identified in the background section. 5. Work Plan: Provide a short description of the proposed work, outlining the specific activities proposed for this project. Briefly describe the experimental design. Be specific about which experiments you intend to do and why. 6. Project Organization and Management: Provide a summary of the applicant’s organizational capacity and the proposed management arrangements for the project. Delineate the specific responsibilities of each project partner and the reporting relationships.7. Expected Benefits of the Project: Identify who would be the primary beneficiaries of the information, technologies, or management practices developed by the project, and how impact would be assessed. Describe how the project results would be disseminated to those beneficiaries, and in what form, to ensure that the impact of the program is realized. 8. Budget: Provide a budget in U.S. dollars. A budget template will be provided to itemize the following for each institution involved in the project. • equipment • materials • travel • training • other costs • overhead
From Proposal Ideas to Award
Middle East and North Africa _____________________________________ Network of Water Centers of ExcellenceFrom proposal ideas to award MENA NWC Policy, Research and Development (PR&D) Grants December 8, 2011
Research MENA NWC research Interaction between you challenge opportunity (PR&D) and MENA NWC PartnersDeveloping the Developing the Fitting Your Idea to theConcept, Worki Proposal – seed Guidelines, Working ng with grant, concept note, with your Partners Partners or full proposal
Need Assistance?Technical Resources Targeting and Submitting the Persistence Proposal (Possible) Technical Review Revision and Congratulations! Resubmission
Important to Consider• Limited funds available – proposals must be competitive• Justify your budgets• US University costs do not count against your budget
Understanding the Grants Process• Some common terms… – Seed Funds, Concept Note, and Full Application and other similar mechanisms are simply terms used to indicate the ways granting organizations (e.g., MENA NWC) provide funds to applicants – Sponsors - in addition to USAID MENA NWC - may include local agencies, private foundations, private sector, national agencies, private individuals, or a mix of these and other sources – Applicants should be in the MENA NWC and may include member Centers, educational institutions including research centers, non-profit organizations or groups, private sector, states, municipalities, etc.
Types of Awards• Seed funding – Seed funds are to be used for conceptualizing a project and developing the concept note and full grant application• Concept note – Short description of the research problem and steps to address the problem• Full PR&D Grant Application – the full proposal containing all relevant information including budget, partners, timeline, and indicators of success
Terminology• A proposal --document that describes (according to the sponsor’s specified format and requirements) what will be done, who will do it, how much it will cost, and other details.• Concept note - before a proposal is submitted, you should develop the ideas and “float” these by your colleagues at your center and with your partners.• The purpose of the proposal is to persuade the sponsor that the applicant has the knowledge, capacity/resources, skill and qualified personnel to accomplish work proposed.
Key Individuals and Structures in PR&D• Interim Management Unit (IMU)• Grants manager, Ken Ludwa• Director of Research, TBD• R&D Lead, Mac McKee• Selection Committee• Technical Reviewers• Award Committee
Thematic Partnerships and Research Priorities• Thematic partnerships • Research priorities – 3 or more centers – A research topic that is best addressed, via the – 2 or more countries NWC, by a Research – 1 or more US university Team partner(s) optional
Seed Fund Application• Open at any time• Up to $25,000 available, managed by FABRI• Used for travel, consultations, meetings, training, literat ure in support of proposal development• Subject to review• Meant to lead to a concept note and full proposal
Concept Note• Open at any time• Subject to review• The review helps you refine and improve the proposal ideas• Your concept note will be accepted or declined• A declined concept note may be resubmitted
Full Application• Use results of concept note and reviews• Up to $100,000 per center• Quarterly application cycle• Approx. 2-year timeline maximum• Review/decline/resubmit as in concept note• Key: – Address a thematic partnership – Address a research priority – Develop a research team
Should you apply for seed funds?Yes if you need: No if you:• Site visits • Already know the research• To hold a planning meeting question you wish to• Get training address• Do some initial data • Have your partnership team gathering/analysis in place• Bring in expertise • Are ready to write the concept note
Writing the Concept Note• If you received seed funds, you will have used those to gather information and partners for your research proposal• Brainstorm the project with partners and colleagues to develop a framework for the full proposal application• Clarify your research question(s) for the project• Identify who will develop each section, what other information is needed, and how partners will work together• Build the budget using budget form (TBD)
Forming a research team• Identify the research priority/activities• Identify the resources – Human resources – Facilities – Data• Identify the research team leader• Figure out your communication strategies – Google docs?
Form Research Centers research question team• Identify • Identify • Identify team centers resources leader
The Function of a Proposal– Presents a compelling argument for funding to the NWC– Represents both the researchers and the partners’ credibility and capacity– Describes the project in persuasive terms– Provides mechanisms for evaluation– Tests your ability to articulate/conceptualize: If you can’t state it well, you probably can’t do the project!
The Essential Components of a Proposal• Introduction• Statement of Need/Rationale/Thesis• Goals/Objectives/Methodology• Environment & Organizational Support• Personnel and Institutions Involved• Expected Outcomes• Evaluation Plan• Budget and Budget Narrative
Description of the Approach to Solve the Problem• Identifies then modifies, corrects, improves, expands, innova tes, replicates or otherwise adapts previous efforts; may suggest a novel or transformative approach that has not been tried before• Discusses specific actions, approaches, methods, timeline• Justifies these in terms of the outcomes to be achieved• Provides information as to how the process and outcome will be measured
Links Between Actions to be Taken and Statement of ProblemThe problem you are addressing is always theessential element. – Each action should link the proposed solution to the problem – Whenever possible, each action should also tie directly to how you will measure your success (Note: USAID indicators will be one measure) – Who are the stakeholders? – Budgets evolve from the actions required
Who Will Perform the Work?• Identify the persons/centers/partners who will perform the proposed work – Identify the team leader!• Identify collaborators, in the NWC and possibly outside, e.g., private sector, civil society, government, US universities• State their expertise, roles on the project, and capacity to do the work – who will do what and how will they be held accountable• Network early with potential collaborators
Partners Required!• MENA NWC requires collaboration and partners• The work will be done in different locations• Facilities or expertise may be needed from other researchers or centers
Your colleagues and partners• Include colleagues in your proposal as appropriate to this research; acknowledge their contributions.• Have colleagues participate in writing and reviewing the proposal for clarity before you submit it.• Make sure your administrators are supportive.
Monitoring and Evaluation• Reporting is Required – Quarterly updates – Annual reports – USAID Indicators must be used• Two Types – Fiscal – Programmatic• Accountability – External Evaluation will be required – Formative (what is happening) and summative (what happened) – Self-Correction and Opportunities
Impact and Outcome• Provides the sponsor with evidence that the project is progressing (milestones) and is completed: – First milestone will be the work plan – Quarterly progress updates – Annual report – Reporting form will be developed• Provides documentation of impact (e.g., indicators)• Identifies areas for future improvement• Identifies “dead ends” – can be helpful in identifying what doesn’t work• Describes how the outcome and useful information can be shared with others
The Review Process, or Writing Backward for Progress• Identify the criteria for success• Highlight and define specific elements as priorities when appropriate• Be redundant if the point is essential….• Remember, this is a “sales pitch”
General Comments• You are writing for the reviewers, not for a journal• Write to the guidelines, don’t leave out anything• Page limits and deadlines are “set in stone”• Follow the guidelines even if they don’t “flow” as you would like• Be realistic about the work involved and the time you have to complete the work• Get to know the PR&D team… Ken, Mac, and ?
Your ideas• Must be interesting and understandable to a broadly-trained audience• Your policy-relevant research question should be clearly stated• Clear communication - don’t get lost in the details• Include a summary diagram or model early in the proposal to highlight the problem and specific aims
The review• Clear communication• Concisely worded• Easy and interesting to read• Communicates the importance of your work to science, technology, and education• Budget is sufficient to get the work done, not overly inflated or too low• If declined, use the opportunity to figure out why and try again
Basic Tips on Getting Started• Read and understand the guidelines for the concept note and the full application• You must develop a concept note• Identify the supporting data you will need• Establish a timeline for completion of the proposal – Work backwards from the due date, being sure to include time to get all the approvals you’ll need• Identify the primary writer and the role of the other colleagues, partners, and collaborators• Don’t be afraid to contact the Grants Manager (Ken) or other partners for information as needed
The 90% Rule of Grant-writing• Understanding the guidelines, instructions and requirements• Contacting the sponsor, whenever appropriate• Developing a sound project concept, 90% including data• Identifying and correcting the gaps in required information• Expanding the concept to match the guidelines• Identifying costs• Writing/submitting the proposal 10%
Concept Note• Project Title• The Investigators/Centers/Partners• Background• Objectives• Work Plan• Project Organization and Management• Expected Benefits of the Project• Budget
Budget• Equipment• Materials• Travel• Training• Other costs such as student wages or research support• Publications & outreach materials• Administrative costs• Matching• Templates will be provided – list expenses by expense type and by activity• Each center to provide separate budget, rolled up into overall project budget
Middle East and North Africa _____________________________________ Network of Water Centers of ExcellenceQuestions?