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Grant Writing Skills Workshop Pakistan

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Grant Writing Skills Workshop Pakistan

  1. 1. Welcome to the AIP - Pakistan Grant-Writing Workshop NARC, Islamabad, Pakistan September 9 & 10, 2014 Instructors: Professor Emeritus Thomas (Tom) L. Rost, PhD (University of California, Davis, CA Dr. Samuel (Sammy) Rodriguez-Flecha, PhD (Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  2. 2. Tuesday, September 9, 2014 -- DAY #1 1:00 – 1:15 Introductions 1:15 – 1:25 Expectations for the workshop 1:25 – 1:45 Pre-Test 1:45 – 3:00 Example of a grant Request for Proposals (RFP) 3:00 – 3:20 Tea Break 3:20 – 4:30 Continue example of a grant RFP 4:30 – 5:00 Home work assignment
  3. 3. Exercise: 1. Introduce yourself to everyone at your table -– your name, your home, your job. 2.Discuss for 5 minutes your expectations for this workshop. 3.Select your most important expectation. 4.Write it on an easel page and post it on the wall. 5.Select a spokesperson for your table to tell us all your expectation.
  4. 4. Our expectations for the workshop: • GOAL Participation in this workshop will improve the understanding of the grant writing process • OBJECTIVES Participants will have a understanding of: the elements of a great idea the importance of fitting the project to the agency goals and communication with program officers the typical components of a proposal the review process The grant budget
  5. 5. Pre-Test 10 minutes Required by the program. 1
  6. 6. Grant Application Timeline
  7. 7. What is a grant? A grant is a commitment by a sponsor to make payments to an organization or an individual over a set period of time to further the work of one of its initiatives. The sponsor gives the grantee autonomy over management of the funds, but all grantees must agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the grant…
  8. 8. Why write a grant? • Research new information • Personnel support (e.g., graduate assistants, clerical help) • Travel funds • Building my reputation as a capable researcher • More flexibility of time to do research • Resources (e.g., specialized materials, equipment) • Services (e.g., computing, media production support)
  9. 9. Are you committed? • What is your level of enthusiasm? • Are you 100% committed? • Are you being both realistic and optimistic? • Can you adopt and adapt your ideas and approach? • Are you willing to reach out for assistance?
  10. 10. What Does It Take? • A Great Idea • Partnership • Knowing and Understanding – What to do – How to do it – When to do it – What to do when things don’t go as planned • Understanding the Review Process
  11. 11. What is a Great Idea? • Solves a real problem • Significant— potential for impact (i.e., making a difference) • Innovative— novel/imaginative concepts • Well Timed • Feasible • Measurable Outcomes • Ethical • An idea others can understand… and would be willing to fund if they had the money • Makes others wish they had come up with it themselves
  12. 12. How to create a good idea? • Define the problem/need • Stay current – Collect and analyze background information • Talk to colleagues – Seek constructive criticism • See what has already been funded • Be flexible and willing to refine your idea • Time • Assess you idea’s potential for success
  13. 13. Ask yourself these two questions: 1. Will this idea significantly impact my research field? And, if so, 2. Can I convince others of this fact?
  14. 14. TEA BREAK
  15. 15. Example of a request for proposals (RFP) and a grant template the might come from PARC or some other Pakistan or International agency.
  16. 16. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) - Pakistan Competitive Grant Program Description and Guidelines The AIP-Pakistan program is now announcing a competitive grant program intended to fund critical research in the defined areas of the program – livestock, tree and horticulture crops, rice, wheat and maize. • This program aims in particular at Pakistan specific issues and seeks to provide funding especially to young scientists and to scientists working in underserved regions of Pakistan. • Women scientists are encouraged to apply for these funds
  17. 17. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: • Projects of up to, for example, 5 million PKR may be applied for, but smaller projects are also encouraged. • Full proposals of not more than, for example, 10 pages, including appendices and attachments, will be considered by the Competitive Grant program committee at the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC). • All proposals must be received by the end of the work day …….. 2014 at the following address:
  18. 18. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: Guidelines: Eligibility. Preference will be given to young scientists with a PhD degree in a relevant subject, who work at an agricultural research or education organization. Note that although preference will be given to young scientists, that other more experienced workers may also apply. Project length and budget. Projects should be designed for up to two years (24 months) with budget not exceeding , for example, Five million PKR (~$50,000). Collaborators. National Agriculture Research Centers (Federal/provincial), International research partners, private sector R&D partners and Agriculture Universities.
  19. 19. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: Budget categories. • Travel, Transportation, • materials (chemicals and consumables), • office supplies, • Contractual Staff, • Indirect cost, • There may be budget restrictions: • Capital cost including permanent research equipment etc. • Building construction is not covered by the grant program. Reporting. Progress reports will be required every six months progress report on prescribed format (Technical and Financial) with a yearly review by technical experts and the project’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) team.
  20. 20. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: Cover page • Title of project: • Date submitted • Location(s) of Activities • Name and institute of project implementers List the lead collaborators (CVs) for each institution involved (including any international collaborators). Give full address, email, cell, fax, etc, • Project summary 3-5 sentences. Indicate the problem being addressed, why it is important, summary of proposed approach and expected outcomes. • Proposed length of activity • Budget total (not to exceed a defined amount)
  21. 21. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: Body of proposal (up to a defined number of pages) Overview --- Clear statement of the problem and why it is important with evidence from literature giving extent or degree of damage, gravity of problem supported with data. Goal of your activity (a clear sentence or bullet points) Background --- Briefly indicate previous or other work (perhaps on-going) on the topic, why your activity adds to this, and why you (your institute and team) are well suited to work on the issue.
  22. 22. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: Objectives --- 3-5 objectives that will clearly and logically show how you will be aiming to reach your goal. Think of them as steps in taking a journey. Outputs --- List one output for each objective. What will be the clear end product produced as a result of each objective indicating you have been successful? Workplan --- For each objective and matching output, indicate the set of activities planned. Indicate what will be done (including techniques where relevant) to achieve the objective. It should be clear how this will lead to the targeted output. Include a timeframe or chart if useful.
  23. 23. HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) --- How and what will be measured or monitored to indicate progress towards reaching the desired objectives. (i.e., M&E says this is what we planned to do and achieve and this is what we did and have achieved). So each objective should have its relevant M&E section. Outreach --- Indicate how results be disseminated for further impact. If possible indicate impact pathway –the route through which impact is going to be achieved and who else would be useful to make it. Budget detail --- Indicate your budget based on approved categories/activities.
  24. 24. Home work assignment Develop a good idea: 1. What is the problem? 2. Who cares and why? 3. What am I going to do about it? Rules: • Two sentences each • No more than 20 words • Be prepared to report on your ideas tomorrow morning.
  25. 25. Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – DAY #2 9:00 – 10:00 Review last night’s homework and discussion of project ideas plus in-place tea 10:00 – 12:00 Grant writing theory 12:00 – 1:30 Lunch Break 1:30 – 3:30 Grant writing theory 3:30 – 3:50 Tea Break 3:50 – 5:00 Grant writing theory 5:00 – 5:45 Post Test, Workshop Evaluation, Certificates of Completion
  26. 26. Discuss homework assignment – Developing a Good Idea: 1. Work in your groups. 2.Discuss your ideas. 3.Select one idea and write it on an easel paper. 4.Post it on the wall. 5.Select a spokesperson to describe your idea. 6.Discussion.
  27. 27. Topics • Finding Funding • Partnership • Solicitations and Guidelines • The Program Officer • Grantsmanship • Proposal Components • Getting Feedback Pre-Submission • The Review Process • Common Pitfalls • Post-Submission Considerations
  28. 28. Grant Application Timeline
  29. 29. Searching for Grant Opportunities • Identify potential sources – Internal, local, regional, national, international • Ask Colleagues • Funding opportunities databases, websites – Targeted search • Type of Grant: Standard, Equipment, Travel, etc. • Research Topic: Fixed or Flexible
  30. 30. Partnership: Understanding the Sponsor “Grants exist for the purpose of having the applicant, by applying the resources provided through the grant, help the funding agency achieve its mission.” - Stephen Russell
  31. 31. Mission Vision Values Agency Fit Example of potential agencies: AIP Pakistan; PARC; other international agencies
  32. 32. Researching the Sponsor • Reasons for giving – Agency missions can focus on a particular community, issue, or goal • Fields of interest & priority areas • Funding history – Types of support – Limitations – Application Information – Requirements – Typical funding amounts – Previous grantees
  33. 33. Study the Solicitation •Print out the solicitation •Read CAREFULLY •Highlight specifics •Use the solicitation as your proposal outline 1st Step •Program description (to assess fit) •Award information •Proposal preparation instructions (AND proposal guidelines) •Review process •Timeline for funding decision Pay Attention To •Note any special requirements •Ensure Investigator & Institution eligibility •Make no assumptions •Plan your proposal months in advance Tips
  34. 34. Guidelines • Sponsor-specific • Policies procedures for proposal development, submission, awards, reporting, rules and regulations… • Other Sponsor materials – Proposal writing guidance – Sample proposals – tutorials
  35. 35. The Program Officer: An Important Ally • Writes the solicitation • Ensures receipt of most programmatically relevant proposals – Wants to help me • Can assist with developing my ideas • Can usually provide feedback on Executive Summary to ensure agency fit – Feedback on Project Aims/Goals • Assigns proposals for review and finds reviewers • Send an email first to make an appointment
  36. 36. Things to Ask • Program’s areas of interest & current priorities • Does my idea appear to fit? • Number of proposals expected • Percentage of proposals funded • Average size & award duration • Am I eligible? • Funding only for new areas of research?
  37. 37. Things to Ask (continued) • Review process & panel guidelines • Expected date of award announcements • Opportunities to gain experience as a reviewer • Unstated limits or historical precedents for equipment, travel, etc. • What’s missing from their current program • Common pitfalls • Would they welcome a brief synopsis of what I am proposing?
  38. 38. LUNCH BREAK
  39. 39. Grantsmanship Considerations  Readability  “…Writing grant applications is like writing short stories…  It takes time, effort and practice to write this way. It is really hard work. There is no alternative but to make the necessary investment because poorly written applications are almost preordained to fail.” S. Russell
  40. 40. Writing Styles Academic Grant • Scholarly Pursuit • Work that has been done • Expository rhetoric • Explaining to the reader • Impersonal tone • Objective, dispassionate • Verbosity rewarded • Specialized terminology • Insider jargon • Sponsor Goals • Work that should be done • Persuasive rhetoric • “Selling” to the reader • Personal tone • Conveys excitement • Brevity rewarded • Accessible language •Easily understood
  41. 41. Some Writing Tips • Be clear and concise • Study the Sponsor’s language and tone • Volunteer to be a proposal reviewer • Avoid these words; substitute with ‘expect’ instead – if, try, hope, believe, might, could, may • Assertive writing style • Always present problems from a positive perspective • Browse successfully funded proposals
  42. 42. Typical Components of a Proposal 1. Title (Cover) Page 2. Abstract 3. Overview (Introduction) 4. Problem Statement 5. Goals & Objectives 6. Approach (Methods / Activities) 7. Evaluation 8. Future Funding 9. Dissemination 10. Facilities & Equipment 11. Budget 12. Appendix
  43. 43. The Overview • Make it reviewer-friendly • How? – Tell the reviewers something they don’t already know – First sentence must clearly relate to the Sponsor’s mission – Be precise; What is it I want to communicate?
  44. 44. Statement of the Problem • Significance • Innovation • Interesting • Reasonable • Relevant data • Clear and Brief
  45. 45. Significance The positive effect that my research or project is likely to have on something that is relevant to the Sponsor (list benefits to the Sponsor)
  46. 46. Approach • Minimize the number of assumptions reviewers must make about my project • Show that I am using a sound approach – Why that approach? – Data collection (who & how) – Training of researchers – Facilities & equipment – Research environment and institutional commitment – Risks – Limitations and alternative methodologies – Timeline
  47. 47. Goals & Objectives • Goals – Long-term – Qualitative terms – Unquantifiable • Objectives – Project-specific – Specific outcomes proposed – Measurable
  48. 48. Writing Exercise #1: Goal/Objectives (15 minutes) 1. Using an idea you may have, write a goal statement. 2. Then write 2-3 objectives that, when/if accomplished, will get you closer to your goal. Remember, these objectives are to be accomplished within your proposed project’s timeline. 3. Hold your ideas until exercise #2.
  49. 49. Writing Exercise #2: (15 minutes) 1. Based on your previous writing exercise, pick one of your objectives and outline: – Your planned approach for that specific objective – The outcomes you expect from those activities – Any anticipated problems and alternative strategies 2. You may use the template outline in the next slide to do this exercise
  50. 50. Exercise Template Outline Objective #1: Title Planned Approach  Activities to be undertaken  Number of experiment or field trials  Controls to be performed  Time required to complete Expected Outcomes  Summary of expected results, findings, or accomplishments designed to highlight the return on investment that reviewers will be seeking Anticipated Problems & Alternative Strategies
  51. 51. Brief review:  goals  objectives
  52. 52. TEA BREAK
  53. 53. Other Proposal Components • Evaluation • Future Funding Strategy / Sustainability • Dissemination of Results • Personnel • Abstract – Accessible language; no jargon • Title – Informative, exciting, check instructions • Budget – Personnel, equipment, travel… • Appendix
  54. 54. Getting Feedback Pre-Submission • Ask ~3 colleagues (2 in your field, 1 outside your field) to provide you with feedback. • If you hear the same critique from 3+ people, listen to it • If someone doesn’t understand what’s going on in your proposal, that’s worth listening to. • If someone loses interest in your proposal, it’s worth finding out where. • When you show work in progress, people will always feel indebted to tell you what’s wrong with it and how to fix it. But when you show them a finished piece, they’re much more accepting ( The earlier you involve them, the better).
  55. 55. The Review Process
  56. 56. Reviewers: Marketing your Dream “The key success in grant writing is to engender enthusiasm in the reviewer-who then becomes an advocate for my proposal”
  57. 57. Importance of the Overview After the first two pages… • Reviewers should: – be intrigued and excited – have a basic understanding of my project and why it’s important – be convinced that this research is a great idea – will just be looking for details to confirm I can do what I say I will do
  58. 58. Types of Reviewers • Sequential, Skimmers, Random • Considering the above, keep in mind – What do (don’t) my reviewers know? – How much background do they need? – What new information do I need to provide? – What items do I need to define/describe?
  59. 59. A Note on Realities of Pursuing Grant Support • Cannot communicate my enthusiasm directly to the review panel; idea conveyed in writing • There are not enough resources to support even all of the good applications
  60. 60. Common Reasons for Application Failure • Lack of a good, original idea • Weak argument for importance of the problem • Unfocused approach • Uncertain outcomes • Lack of sufficient commitment • Too ambitious or scope too narrow • Lack of expertise or resources
  61. 61. Post-Submission Considerations • Proposal Rejected? Plan to Reapply! – Often projects are not funded with the first application – The proposal should get stronger with each application – Planning and intelligent persistence are key – Analyze the reviews – Call the Program Officer • Be polite; ask for clarification and advice
  62. 62. Proposal Funded? – Call the Program Office • Always say Thank You – Work with the Sponsor and the recipient organization for the administration of the funds – Note reporting requirements
  63. 63. IDEA Decision Submit Write Full Proposal Source of Funding Contact Program Officer Write Plan Proposal Development Process PROJECT OUTCOMES AND ASSESSMENT
  64. 64. What are you taking away from this workshop? • Work in groups • Make a short list of what you are taking away from this workshop. • Write one of them on an easel paper and post it on the wall. • Assign a spokesperson and tell us one of your ‘takeaway’ ideas. • POST TEST AND WORKSHOP EVALUATION
  65. 65.  Post-Test (10 minutes)  Workshop Evaluation (10 minutes)
  66. 66. Certificates Thank you for taking part in the workshop. Best wishes with your important work.