Academics are professional writers. We write all the time. We write books and scholarly articles about our research interests. We write a variety of proposals (grant, book, curriculum etc.). We write teaching materials for our classes. We write internal reports as a service to the university. We write reviews of our colleague’s work. Sometimes we get paid for it. The bad news is that academics and scientists are not always the best communicators. Steven Pinker’s talk at MIT on The Sense of Style: Scientific Communication for the 21st Century is long, but full of great examples and excellent advice. [Read more…]
Grantsmanship requires a perverse sense of detail. Details begin with the RFP. Application forms contain even more details. Reading and rereading the RFP or grant announcement is the first step of grant proposal writing. Discerning, interpreting, and understanding those details takes well-developed critical thinking skills even when it comes to the comparatively easy ones. A proposal narrative has its own set of details as do the supporting documents (budgets, budget justifications, biographical sketches, etc.).
What are some of these details? [Read more…]
Academic grantsmanship seems like a deadly dull topic for these late summer days. The summer is far from over, but it is back to school for many in higher education. It is an ideal time to discuss the meaning and significance of grantsmanship for those preparing for the tenure track, on the tenure track, the tenured, outside the tenure track, and even those moving toward promotion as a new academic year begins.
Grantsmanship matters because it is tied to employment. Both are uneasy partners in higher education, especially for scientists. Grants support both undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, research scientists, technicians, and even non scientific support staff with proper justification. Assistant and associate professors hear the term from colleagues and administrators when applying for tenure or promotion. Grantsmanship mattered before the current budget woes and funding sequester. It matters during these times and it will matter in the future.
What does this term mean to academics?
What is an honorarium?
An honorarium is a payment that says “thank you” to someone for providing a small service. A price or fee is not really set for the service rendered. Honoraria are income and taxable.
Who receives an honorarium?
Honoraria are very common in the academic community, especially in the sciences. Individual faculty members from other universities are invited to visit with and share their research findings with colleagues and students through regular, department seminars. Such people usually receive an honorarium in addition to travel expenses. [Read more…]
Humor and Truth from the Research Lab
As a grant writer, did you ever want to know what it is like to write a federal research grant?
Well, this flowchart from a biochemist really shows that crazy process with humor and truth. I lived this as a faculty member and laboratory researcher.
This timeline and task list is a great educational tool for the larger grant writing community. Proposal section names are different for science grants, but the basic ideas in each section are the same for non-science grants. As funny and seemingly absurd as it is, the chart reveals planning involved because of the required detail and organizational skills it takes to prepare these multi-year laboratory research proposals.
All the points on the timeline discussing experiments, gathering data, and publications speak to evidence-based grant writing. There is no other kind of grant writing in the scientific community. Gone are the days where a researcher could propose an idea with little supporting evidence. Frankly, I am not sure those days truly ever existed. [Read more…]