Division of Research and Economic Development

Expanding the University's research enterprise.

Guidance for Grantseekers

  • Download the PDF: The Basics of Funding Searches

    Finding appropriate funding sources is an ongoing process that takes time and patience. No method is guaranteed for identifying funding sources, but you can maximize the benefits of your efforts and improve your proposal-writing by following a few simple steps.

    • Have a clear idea of your project before you begin a search. As competition for extra mural funds continues to increase, so does the need to be focused and organized. Ask yourself a few questions before you begin looking for funding:
      • What exactly are you looking to accomplish? List goals and outcomes.
      • What kind of project are you considering: research, outreach, service, other?
      • Is it a multi-year project? Can the project be broken up into separate stages?
      • What needs and wants do you have to see the project to an end?
    • Determine the benefits of the project. This includes who will benefit as well as when the benefits will take effect. Ask yourself a few additional questions, possibly using an objective third party to help you conduct as honest an assessment as possible.
      • Is it a local/regional project with national/international implications?
      • Will there be any immediate benefits or long-term implications?
      • What are some broad impacts of the project?
      • Will any particular disadvantaged group be served?
      • How does the project fit into and/or further your field of study?
      • How does the project fit into your academic career?
      • Is there an educational opportunity with regards to the project?
    • Conduct a general search initially. At this stage do not spend too much time trying to determine whether or not a program is the perfect fit. Simply get a general sense of a variety of programs that might benefit from your project. Conduct multiple searches for a given project looking at it from various perspectives and making sure to track how you conduct your search. This is especially important when using a funding search engine so you can repeat effective searches and/or avoid repetitive searches when looking for entirely new funding sources. Be sure to note promising funding programs, recording enough information to be able to re-access the source. When conducting Internet searches you can save search results as web archives and easily access them later when you have time to conduct more in-depth studies.
    • Take the time to review the results of a search. On a regular basis, review one or two promising sources at a time. Often it is difficult setting aside half a day to conduct lengthy funding research, so conducting shorter, more frequent investigations can help you stay more focused and break up what can be a tedious job. If possible and if something looks especially promising, get a sense of what types of projects an organization funds by reviewing abstracts of recently funded proposals. You may also want to call or email the program officer to briefly discuss you project and get a clear sense of whether or not it is worth preparing a proposal. This one simple step can save you a lot of time and frustration.
    • Make note of funding programs even if submission deadlines have passed. Again, finding appropriate funding sources takes time and patience. You also have to be organized. Many programs are funded annually, and if they are a good fit for the project you have in mind, you will need to have some sort of tracking system to review programs regularly. A simple but effective tracking system is making a note on your calendar two to four months in advance of when you suspect a program will be open for submissions. If you have no idea, you may want to conduct monthly follow-ups so as to be sure not to miss an upcoming deadline. Speaking to a program officer may also give you a better idea of when a program will be open for new proposal submissions.
    • Make note of potential problems when looking through program guidelines. Sometimes obtaining funding depends on factors entirely out of your hands. For example, some programs require matching funds, particular types of institutional support, or letters of commitment. If not obtained properly, such requirements can cause funding to be denied. If a program is especially promising, immediately look into the possibility of whether or not such requirements can be met. You can save yourself from many headaches by looking ahead.
    • Connect with colleagues. No one person can expect to be aware of every available funding source. By conversing with colleagues regularly, you can use others’ expertise to assist you in finding the best possible funding sources. You may also find that a colleague has submitted and/or received funding from a source you find promising. Your colleague’s experience may prove very valuable in writing your proposal. In addition, more programs are interested in funding collaborative proposals, so working regularly with colleagues both inside and outside your field can facilitate more effective collaborations. It is very difficult to start to get to know someone and their work while in the process of writing a proposal.

    If you have any questions or would like more information or assistance with a funding search, contact the appropriate Research Development staff member for your college.

  • Download the PDF: Submitting Your Proposal — What You Need to Know

    All proposals submitted by faculty or staff for external funding must be reviewed, approved and “signed” by the Division of Research and Economic Development before submission to the sponsor. Principal investigators (PIs) are encouraged to submit draft budgets to the Division about two weeks before the proposal deadline for early review. For assistance developing your proposal or any other questions about applying for funding, contact your college’s Office of Research Development (ORD) staff representative or call (401) 874-5971. For assistance with your budget, contact your college’s business manager or your college’s Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) pre-award staff representative.

    Before developing your proposal

    • Check to see if the program to which you are applying is a limited competition. Read your request for proposals (RFP) or program announcement (PA) carefully to determine if there is a limit on the number of proposals per institution that can be submitted. Occasionally, only a limited number of proposals may be submitted by the University. Contact Karen Markin, Director of Research Development, at (401) 874-5971 for details. You can also check the Divisions website for listings of all “Limited Competition Grants.” 
    • Check the RFP to determine if your program requires “matching funds” or cost-sharing. This means that you will be required to submit evidence of either “in-kind” support or a cash match by the University. If your grant requires cost-sharing, discuss your needs with your department chair and/or college dean. For general questions about cost-sharing, contact Karen Markin, ORD Director, at kmarkin@uri.edu or (401) 874-5971. 
    • Check to see if your department or college has its own requirements for proposal submission and/or approval. Please note that some colleges have their own internal requirements for proposal review and submission. Please check with your department chair or dean’s office to see if additional requirements exist. 
    • Does your proposal need social approvals, such as those associated with vertebrate animals or human subjects, export controls, conflicts of interest, etc? Visit the Office of Research Integrity webpage and click on the appropriate links. 

    Be aware: These approval(s) often require a month or more to process, so plan ahead!

  • Download the PDF: Navigating and Submitting “Limited Competition” Proposals

    Due to limited funding or to simplify the selection process, various funding programs limit the number of proposals an institution is allowed to submit. Agencies often note such limitations in their eligibility requirements, so be certain to read through requests for proposals (RFPs) carefully. Often if agencies receive more than the allotted number of proposals from a given institution, they will request the institution to designate which proposals are to be considered. As such, if permission to submit was not properly attained from the University, a proposal that has taken months to develop may not even be considered.

    For all limited competition, for proposals that are submitted through the Division of Research and Economic Development, a specific procedure is followed to decide which proposals are to be submitted on behalf of the University of Rhode Island.

    1. Limited competitions are first identified. Using a variety of grant program funding information sources, the Division of Research and Economic Development staff make note of limited competitions for large federal funding agencies. Also, individual investigators looking for funding sources may come across programs with limited competitions and notify the Division of Research and Economic Development. 
    1. Limited competitions are announced to the URI community as a whole. The Division of Research and Economic Development posts announcements of limited competitions to the RESRCH-L listserv as well as the Division of Research and Economic Development website. At the website, limited competitions are listed individually on the Limited Competitions webpage. 
    1. Individual investigators interested in submitting proposals to limited competition programs are to notify the Division of Research and Economic Development by contacting Karen Markin, Director of Research Development, at (401) 874-5971. Deadlines for contacting the Research Office are listed both in the RESRCH-L notices and on the Limited Competitions webpage. If announcements have not yet been posted, the Director of Research Development will work with individual investigators to make sure all parties interested in a particular competition are identified so as to avoid any future conflicts. 
    1. If more parties are interested in submitting proposals than allotted by funding agencies, interested parties prepare and submit brief pre-proposals to the Director of Research Development. Each pre-proposal is to be no more than two pages in length and should include a summary of the intended project addressing program priorities as well as a total budget amount for the project. The significance of the project as it relates to the University as a whole, individual colleges and/or departments, researchers, students, etc., should also be addressed. 
    1. The research deans will review the proposals and select the project(s) to be submitted to the agency. 
    1. After the deans have made their decision, individual investigators are notified as to whether or not they have been chosen to submit on behalf of URI. For those investigators not chosen submit proposals, a brief justification is given to assist in further developing a project for any future considerations. All investigators are also welcome to work with the Office of Research Development to develop projects and proposals and identify additional funding sources.
  • Download the PDF: Using the Request for Proposals (RFP) to Help Write a Fundable Proposal

    Getting to know a request for proposals (RFP)—sometimes called a program announcement (PA) or funding opportunity announcement (FOA)—is an essential step in writing a successful proposal. Requests and announcements are detailed guides to understanding the content, structure, and format necessary for your proposal to even be considered for funding. Following the RFP guidelines will not necessarily guarantee your proposal will be funded, but failing to follow the RFP makes being funded highly unlikely.

    Read RFPs carefully: They will not only aid you in writing an effective proposal, but they will also allow you to determine if the program is a proper fit for your research. There is little point in writing an effective proposal if it is to be rejected based on either a small technicality or an overall failure to meet any of the program objectives.

    When first reviewing RFPs, you should pay close attention to the following:

    • Note program goals. Every program is formed out of the specific needs and objectives of an agency. Projects are then funded based on how likely they will allow the agency to fulfill its needs and satisfy its objectives. Program goals will not only allow you to determine whether or not the program is a good fit for your project, but they will also assist you as you write your proposal. As you are writing, keep asking yourself, “Am I clearly showing how my project meets the program goals?” Be sure to have people who review your proposal read the program goals so they can ask this question as well. The same applies to overall agency objectives. The better a project fits the goals and objectives of a program and overseeing agency, the more likely it will be funded.
    • Review eligibility requirements. Agencies often place eligibility restrictions on institutions and principal investigators (PIs) submitting proposals to particular programs. For institutions, they may place limits on the number and type of proposals to be submitted, the total amount of funds awarded to an institution during a particular period of time, etc. For PIs, agencies may place limits based on title or tenure status, citizenship, when a person received a Ph.D., proposals currently submitted to the agency by the PI, the amount and types of funding currently awarded to the PI by the agency, etc. Contact the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) if you have eligibility questions.
    • Determine submission deadlines. Some programs accept full proposals while others require pre-proposals and/or a letter of intent. Others give a list of submission dates throughout a given period of time with an expiration date for competition. For any submission deadline, it is important to understand all that is required to be realistic as to whether or not it is feasible to meet the deadline. Most agencies will not accept late submissions. When possible, set a personal submission deadline prior to the agency’s actual deadline in the event any problems should arise. Also, allow for time to gather the necessary signatures, develop the budget, and get your proposal submitted through Cayuse—the University’s proposal submission portal—and approved. All full proposals and most pre-proposals must be submitted via Cayuse. The OSP can assist you in developing your budget and with first-time proposal submissions via Cayuse.
    • Investigate funding limitations. Agencies place a wide variety of limitations on funding for particular programs such as total cost, direct costs, and indirect cost rates allowed. Some agencies also require cost-sharing or matching funds that can vary greatly by type and amount. Keep in mind that such funding requirements must be approved by your college/university administration before a proposal can be submitted. Agencies regulate funding periods as well. Each of these funding restrictions must be factored into your proposal and can greatly affect the design and scope of a project.
    • Review anticipated funding. For most programs, agencies list a specific amount of funding available. This information along with an anticipated number of awards to be given can be most helpful in establishing a scope and budget for a project if no total cost limit is specified. It can also assist in determining the likelihood of a project being funded. Note that funding rates can vary widely by programs within a single agency. You might want to consider submitting a proposal to an agency that offers a higher funding percentage. This is especially true for young, less established investigators. Piecing together a few smaller grants before attempting to land a big award is often a prudent strategy.
    • Assess application procedures and guidelines thoroughly. Most of the large federal agencies have general guides to be followed when submitting proposals. Visit the Office of Research Development (ORD) website and click on “Proposal Writing Guides and Resources” for agency-specific information. These guides describe in detail the content and format to be used in developing a proposal. Details include specific agency forms to be used, number of pages for various sections of a proposal, type and size of font to be used, margin size, etc. Often what RFPs contain are supplemental instructions to application procedures. These instructions indicate additional forms to be included, forms not to be completed, budget restrictions, institutional support required, etc. Failure to follow proper procedures and guidelines may go well beyond having your proposal downgraded by reviewers. Such oversights may cause your proposal to be outright rejected without being reviewed! The ORD can assist you in reviewing your proposal for compliance with the RFP, as well as offering feedback on how well your proposal meets the program goals, etc. Visit the ORD website and click on “Who Can Help Me?”
    • Examine review criteria. The criteria by which reviewers will rate your proposal are listed in the RFP and/or agency general guides. Often, agencies have overall criteria listed in the form of questions to be asked of each proposal submitted. Intellectual merit, significance, broader impacts, and innovation are just a few examples of agencies’ overreaching concerns. In addition, specific programs often have additional review criteria by which proposals are judged. Within your proposal you should have specific, easily identifiable answers to each of these criteria questions or give justifications why particular elements do not apply to your project. Some agencies even go so far as to require you to address specific criteria in the summary or introduction of a proposal therein emphasizing their significance.
    • Be aware of award conditions and reporting requirements. Most award conditions are standard, but with more complex projects involving subcontracting, hiring personnel, and constructing or renovating labs and buildings, conditions can become quite involved and require a great deal of time and effort on the part of a number of individuals to make sure all award conditions are met. The same holds true for reporting requirements. You may wish to meet with post-award personnel in the Office of Sponsored Projects to make certain all demands can be met in a timely fashion. If not, your project may be delayed causing you to miss a project deadline. This in turn may cause your funding to be delayed which may jeopardize the success of your project even further. You may also not be able to receive new awards from an agency until conditions and requirements are met. 
    • Note program officer(s) contact information. You are welcomed and encouraged to contact program officers, but you also want to be smart about how you utilize them. The job of a program officer is to make sure program goals are clearly defined. By making sure investigators are well informed, officers can best meet the mission of the agency and ensure the most meritorious proposals are awarded funding. You can contact program officers and run projects by them to gauge interest and make certain you are submitting to the proper program. However, before contacting an officer in this regard, review the program goals and objectives and make sure you have a clear grasp of exactly what it is you wish to do. Their job is not to help formulate your research. Their job is to assess how well you can serve their agency’s needs. For more specific questions regarding concerns such as budgetary issues, eligibility requirements, or formatting issues, consult the RFP once more before making a call or sending an email. Often most answers are contained within.
    • Review related agency programs if any are listed. Some agencies list programs generally related to the RFP. Reviewing these listings can be helpful in a couple of ways: You may come across the listing of a program that is a better fit for the project you are trying to fund. You may also find some potential funding sources for future projects.

    If you have any questions or would like more information on any of the topics listed above, contact the appropriate Research Development staff member for your college or call (401) 874-5971.

  • Download the PDF: Next Steps for an Unfunded Proposal

    Receiving notice that a proposal has not been funded is never easy, but the reality is that most competitive grant proposals are submitted several times before they are funded. The key is to be persistent. Keep in mind the following options:

    • Contact the Office of Research Development (ORD). The staff are knowledgeable and can offer a fresh, objective perspective in reviewing criticisms and addressing weaknesses. We can help you navigate the entire grant-writing and submission process, including following up on unfunded proposals. We can also assist you in conducting alternative funding searches. Visit our webpage for information and contacts.
    • Gather all available information on the review of your proposal. Some agencies automatically send review comments and recommendations, and some agencies require that you call or write to obtain copies of these items. Other agencies offer little feedback on the review of your proposal prompting you to look for alternative means of reassessment.
    • If given comments and recommendations, review them thoughtfully. Even if the feedback is limited, study it objectively and ask yourself: What are they really saying? Was your proposal in line with goals of the program? Was the project clearly defined and fully developed? Were the comments and recommendations focused on the project itself or more on the proposal and the information it contained? Share the feedback with a colleague. Ask for their interpretations.
    • Get a second opinion. The ORD can send your proposal and the reviews to the University’s D.C.-based research consultants. They have subject area-savvy reviewers who can critique and offer feedback on every aspect of the proposal. The ORD can also solicit their advice on the potential for retooling the proposal for a different competition.
    • Consider contacting the agency directly for additional feedback. Program directors are charged with making sure program goals are clearly defined and informing investigators how proposals are evaluated. Many will respond to thoughtful questions and give supplemental feedback. In addition, expressing commitment to your project by asking for additional feedback can foster an agency contact that may prove invaluable when resubmitting a proposal.
    • Review proposals that received funding. Many agencies post summaries and/or entire proposals of projects that have been awarded funding. Such research should be completed when initially preparing your proposal, but it can also be helpful in reassessing your project as presented. Ask yourself: How does your project compare? Is there a common focus in those funded? Did other projects seems more important or fit the program better? Are the other projects presented more clearly or organized more effectively? Do others contain information you omitted?
    • Consider resubmitting the proposal if allowed by the agency. Writing a competitive grant proposal is a process often requiring two or three rounds of grant writing before funding is awarded. Not all programs allow investigators to resubmit and will say so explicitly. If there is ever any doubt, contact the agency. When resubmitting, be sure to address all comments and recommendations when rewriting your proposal. Also, review the program RFP carefully for any changes made. Some may seem subtle, but even small changes can be significant and often should be addressed. 

    If you have any questions or would like more information on any of the topics listed above, contact the appropriate Research Development staff member for your college, or call (401) 874-5971.

    • Contact the Office of Sponsored Projects when you decided to apply for a grant to discuss proposal budgeting and any complexities associated with the RFP. 


    At least two weeks before your deadline: 

    • Make an appointment to have your proposal and budget approved for submission. Contact your college’s business manager, then visit your college’s OSP staff representative.
    • Upload the proposal and budget into Cayuse the University-s proposal submission portal. Visit the OSP website and click the CAYUSE button to begin. All proposals and some pre-proposals must be uploaded, approved and sent through Cayuse.
    • Create the routing chain for approvals in Cayuse. This is the routing chain/list of people that must approve your proposal before it is sent to the agency. Typically, it consists of the PI, department chair, and dean. If there are co-PIs on your proposal, their department chair(s) and dean(s) must be included in the routing chain (but not the co-PI(s) themselves.) In addition, some colleges require other individuals to be included in the chain, so check with your dean’s office ahead of time. The last signature on the routing chain is the Office of Sponsored Projects – DO NOT select a specific individual, just the OSP itself. 


    Gather all forms and signatures for proposal submission 

    • Visit the OSP website and click the link for pre-award forms.

    Download the “Internal Approval for Proposal Transmittal Form” and fill in all fields. The PI and all co-PIs must sign the transmittal form. In addition, ALL co-PIs and any senior personnel listed in the proposal budget to receive funds must fill out a Disclosure of Financial Interest Supplemental Form also available under “Pre-Award’ on the OSP website. Note: the PI (only) makes this certification on the Transmittal Form.

    • In addition, the dean’s office must fill out the Facilities and Administrative Revenue Distribution/Cost-Sharing form. Visit the OSP website and again click the link for pre-award forms. Download the “Revenue/Cost Sharing Form” and fill it out in consultation with your college’s business manager.
  • How to Fail in Grant Writing — A Humorous Approach to Improving Your Skills

    Adapted from an on-line article in The Chronicle of Oher Education by Elizabeth Jakob, Adam Porter, Jeffrey Podos, Barry Braun, Norman Johnson, and Stephen Vessey.

    Looking for a fast path to grant rejection?

    We provide a list here of proven techniques. We gathered these in the course of serving on grant panels or as program officers, and, in some cases, through firsthand experimentation. We are biologists, but many of our suggestions will be useful to grant writers in all disciplines.

    On content:

    • Don’t explicitly state any goals, objectives, or hypotheses in your grant proposal. A good panelist will be able to figure out your questions from the methods.

    • Say that your grant is “transformative” – something the National Science Foundation looks for in particularly outstanding grants; it means that your work will change the approach we take to a particular problem – when it is clearly not. Say that more than once if possible. Heck, go ahead and boldface it! If you claim it is so, it is so.

    • However, if your grant is potentially transformative, make it clear in your proposal that you don’t know how good an idea you have.

    • Make it obvious that you have cut and pasted sections from your other grants into the new proposal. Don’t worry if the formatting does not match or there are sections from the old proposals that have no bearing on this one. Reviewers are impressed by people who are too busy to proofread.

    • If your proposal is a resubmission, be snarky about the comments you received from the previous reviewers.

    • Use lots of acronyms. Define them several pages after you first use them, if possible, or at least bury the definitions in long paragraphs.

    • Don’t make any predictions. And if you do make predictions, don’t put in any experiments that would actually test them.

    • Make sure the feasibility of your proposal’s second and third objectives depends on a particular result from your first objective.

    • Don’t bother discussing what you will conclude if your data don’t turn out exactly as you expect.

    • Don’t give sample sizes or statistical tests.

    • Remember the old axiom: The longer the equation, the better. Panelists will be afraid to acknowledge in front of others that they don’t understand it, so they will be more likely to recommend you receive a grant. And remember not to define the parameter of any equations you use. Panelists feel smug when they succeed in figuring it out themselves.

    • Be sure to use different symbols for the same parameters in different places in the proposal. Remember to sue the same symbols for different parameters in other parts of the proposal.

    • When discussing your pilot data in disciplines where you propose to use a difficult technique (e.g., microarrays, recording from neurons) that you have never done before, but don’t offer any assurance that you will have a collaborator. Alternately, propose to use a difficult technique that you have done before, but don’t mention your experience of pilot data because, after all, you’ve done it already.

    • Focus your grant entirely on your own study species and/or area of focus. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake, right? Dealing with problems of general interest is a waste of time. A good panelist will be able to discern the global impacts of your research without being led by the hand.


    On format and style:

    • Use weird subheadings that do not map onto one another. For example, begin your proposal by listing Goals 1, 2, and 3, and then label your experiments A thru J, with no clear relation to the goals. Reviewers love a challenge.

    • Use very few subheadings. Grant reviewers are smart enough to figure out where the subheadings should be. A single multipage paragraph is fine.

    • Reviewers love 10-point, Arial-font, single-spaced type. Preferably there should be no spaces between paragraphs, headings, or subheadings, either. Your goal is to leave no white space on the page.

    • Use a myriad of type styles. Within a paragraph, try to use BOLD-FACED, ALL CAPITALIZED TYPE for some sentences, then italicize others, and underline still others.

    • Alternatively, use the same plain style throughout the entire proposal – for headings, subheadings, and paragraphs – for a nice, calming homogeneous appearance.

    • Don’t use spell-check.

    • Don’t bother worrying if illustrations or graphs are on different pages that the legends that explain the meaning. Relax, the reviewers can work that out with just a little bit of flipping pages.

    • Rely on color alone to distinguish lines from one another in a particular graph. After all, no reviewers will be old-fashioned enough to prefer to read a print copy of your proposal and then not have a color printer. Program officers don’t choose colorblind panelists, either.

    • Impress reviewers by using complex illustrations with many panels, arrows, boxes, drawings, and photos. The more stuff you can squeeze in, the smarter you’ll look. Condense labels into tiny boxes so that key parts are unreadable. Also assume that the illustrations are self-explanatory – no need for a pesky extended caption.

    • Don’t follow instructions in the Request for Proposals, especially regarding organization of the proposal narrative. The panel will enjoy determining how sections of your content matches the format requested.

    • If you are allotted 15 pages for your proposal, use only 12. This is especially effective if you leave out any detail whatsoever about your methods.

    • Alternatively, if you are allowed 15 pages be sure to write 20. The panel will surely want to read everything you know about your proposed research.

    • Replace simple, meaningful words with polysyllabic behemoths whenever possible. Don’t write “use” when you can say “utilize.” Why “use a method” if you can “utilize a methodological technique?” There is no reason to “increase” when you can “exacerbate.”

    • Bonus points for using polysyllabic words incorrectly, as in “the elevation in glucose concentration was exasperated during exercise.”


    On the literature:

    • Cite literature willy-nilly. Throw it all in! If possible, give a general statement and then cite a series of people who say conflicting things on the topic. The reviewers will never catch on. They don’t care if you understand the literature just that you know of its existence. It is particularly good if your proposal emphasizes aspects of the literature that are unimportant in justifying your objectives. The reviewers will be impressed that you are so broadly read.

    • Alternately, don’t cite many papers at all, especially recent ones. The reviewers will assume you know the literature.

    • If, in places, your grant says something like “Koala noses are known to be adorable (REF),” be assured the reviewers will understand that you were just too strapped for time to fill in the actual research reference.

    • Cite literature that isn’t included in the “Reference” section of your proposal.


    On the “impacts” statement:

    • If you’re applying for an NSF grant, make sure that in your “broader impacts” statement you say that you research on frog metamorphosis will help cure cancer and/or help us understand the function of the human brain.

    • Confine your statement about the impacts of your research to things that every scholar would do normally. For example, say you will publish your research and leave it at that.


    On your grant-program director and you:

    • If the grant guidelines ask for names of suggested reviewers, be sure to do the following:
      • Suggest only two or three names. After all, the program director should have in mind the very best reviewers for your proposal no matter how obscure your area of research.
      • Be sure to suggest names of your closet friends, collaborators, your Ph.D. advisor, or even your spouse. They are the people most familiar with your work, right?
      • Never provide university affiliations or e-mail addresses of the names you list. Isn’t that what Google is for?

    • Always keep in close communication with the program director managing your proposal, especially in those critical few days right after the panel meets to review the proposals. Multiple e-mails during that period are OK, but telephone calls really get their attention.

    • This is also an excellent time to schedule a personal interview with the program director to talk about your grant proposal.

    • Finally, and perhaps the most important tip of all: Always assume that the panel and the program director will give you the benefit of every doubt.


    Elizabeth Jakob is a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where Adam Porter is an associate professor of plant, soil, and insect sciences; Jeffrey Podos is a professor biology; Barry Braun is an associate professor of kinesiology; and Norman Johnson is an adjunct assistant research professor of plant, soil, and insect sciences. Stephen Vessey is a professor emeritus of biological sciences at Bowling Green State University.

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