A Grant Professional Association colleague of mine likes to challenge nonprofits and grant writers with asking them, “So what?” Likewise it’s a challenge to researchers. As an open-ended question, this stops people in their tracks about their or the organization’s mission and goals. It should stop academic scientists too. To me, it is about taking time to consider the following questions about your research: [Read more…]
An NSF CAREER award is a coveted jewel for many young investigators. It’s not too early to get started before the next submission dates. Sometime ago, in an internet search I stumbled on a doctoral dissertation in communications that analyzed the features of successful NSF CAREER awards. You can find it here to download and read for yourself, OR you can sign up for my newsletter and get the summary report for any upcoming dates.
It was a lot of work to reduce a 200+ page dissertation to a 10 page summary report that is useful to the scientific research community. In my opinion the findings are applicable for most research grant applications. Not surprisingly, they align with my experiences as a PI and faculty member. New researchers can gain insight into the entire proposal process, while experienced researchers will find this a good review and reinforcement. There is something for everyone here and the opportunity to learn something new.
Surprising advice sometimes arises from unlikely sources. The academic research grant community appears as a parallel universe of grant seeking, grant writing, and grant administration to the world of wider nonprofit efforts. Back in May 2015 at the Southern Regional Grant Conference organized by the Georgia Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association, I spent some time in that wider world and seemingly parallel universe of nonprofits.
A panelist in the Meet the Funders session, who represented a corporate foundation funder, said words to this effect: [Read more…]
Grant Writing Webinars: NIH did the scientific community a great favor by providing webinars complete with videos and slides on AREA, fellowship, R01, and SBIR/STTR awards. Expect blog posts and journal summaries of this information in the near future after I have a chance to review them all.
Writing: Academic writing, grant proposal writing, and clear writing seem mutually exclusive. Pros Write presents a great example of wordy writing versus clear writing, but I don’t care for the feminine and masculine characterization. Then, there is this piece on The Confidence Gap in Academic Writing. Helen Sword’s blog post on “Seven Secrets of Stylish Academic Writing” discusses the troubling issues of academic writing and proposes concrete solutions. She recently published a book titled Stylish Academic Writing and check out this
of her at Harvard University that highlights the main points of stylish academic writing. My favorite post on scientific grant writing is Hope Jahren’s hilarious advice on analyzing rat vomit for novel amino acids.
Editing: Editing comes with writing. It is always a good idea to have another pair of eyes review a document. The Professor Is In has a series on academic editing as an alternative career path. There is even more about discipline specific editing. In my consulting work, heavy edit is my default setting.
News Year’s Resolutions never really worked for me, but am simmering with ideas about academic grant consulting for the near future. As a former NSF Career Proposal PI under the old version, I was delighted to find a dissertation that analyzes features of successful NSF Career Proposals. Currently, I am working on a new white paper that summarizes the author’s findings. Journal subscribers will be the first to receive it.
Have a great new year!
It’s pretty dismal at NSF these days. You’ve got one chance per year for submission with the preproposal policy and it gets worse from there. In a particular panel, only 30% of the preproposals were invited to submit a full proposal. Only 6% of full proposals received funding.
With odds like that you need an edge.
Federal research funding is declining or leveling off depending on the field. This happened before in the mid-1990s. I know. I was there. The media reported it. [Read more…]