WSU Grant Academy Program
Becoming an expert in grantsmanship does not happen overnight. There is no magical short course that leads to instantaneous funding. It takes experience and, equally important, continued guidance. As such, the goal of the Washington State University Grant Academy is to enable faculty to become more effective and efficient at writing grant proposals. Over the course of the program, members of the academy will work with expert proposal writers from the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships (ORAP) to evaluate ideas as a viable product for both their research community and the funding agency. Members will learn to communicate these ideas and the associated research to gain enthusiasm and credibility in the eyes of reviewers.
Upon completion of the Grant Academy program, faculty will have a clear plan of attack, be more time-efficient preparing a proposal, and attain more awards. Additionally, they will develop a strategy for carving their niche and becoming leaders in their field.
- Department Chair Nomination
- Faculty must upload nomination communication from their department chair into the online application
- Attendance and active participation in classes
- Completing assignments
- Attend at least 10 seminars offered through the ORAP Information Sessions (6 core and 4 elective)
- Commitment to submit two proposals in Year 1, and at least one new proposal in Year 2
The kick off meeting includes an introduction to program expectations, student motivations, and an opportunity to meet past participants.
Virtual academy beginning November 4, 2020
(contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions)
Course Program (8 weeks)
Week 1: Career Development: Commodity versus Specialty
Knowledge, expertise, exposure, facilities, reagents. Making yourself indispensable.
Distinguishing yourself and identifying a niche that you can dominate is not only important for your career development and for establishing influence in your field, but it also makes it easier to attain grant funding. We will assist you in defining where you want to be in your career in 5 to 10 years and develop a plan to get you there. We will pay particular attention to determining what your competitive advantage is currently, and what you can do to increase your uniqueness over the course of the next few years.
Week 2: Your Laboratory as a Business
Principles of product, customer, market, market validation, and project management.
Your laboratory is a business: it produces products (the results of your research) and you must attain revenues (usually in the form of grants). We will assist you by introducing you to principles that will help in marketing you and your research. We will also explore means to manage projects, to attain the best return on your valuable time and resources.
Week 3: Specific Aims, Significance and Innovation
Contrast, surprising and unexpected, transformative research.
Significance and Innovation are critical in grant proposals. We will provide insight into how to present the problem you are addressing and your solution to attain maximal impact on reviewers – regardless of their predisposition or biases.
Week 4: Narrative Essentials: Logic Models
Logic models are required for some applications (e.g. USDA). However, regardless of if they are required or not, they can greatly assist in aligning need, resources, approach, results, outcomes, and impact. They also provide the flow for the proposal and will keep the logic of the proposal from straying. We will show you how to develop logic models and use them to better structure your proposal.
Week 5: Narrative Essentials: Telling the Story with Figures and Tables
Figures are essential to proposals and need to convey the significance, innovation, approach, and impact. Reviewers should be able to simply look at figures and understand the value of your proposal. In this session we will discuss methods for developing impactful figures.
Week 6: Narrative Essentials: The Project Plan
The activities you propose in your proposal need to meet fundamental criteria. If done correctly, the activities you propose can greatly add to your credibility. We will provide a road map to ensure you justify activities, methods, sample sizes, expected results, and anticipating problems and alternatives.
Week 7: Narrative Essentials: Putting it All Together and Building Credibility
Reviewers greatly appreciate a well-constructed and easy to follow proposal. They appreciate a clear presentation – one where they can readily attain information they need for their reviews. We will show you how to present your proposal so that reviewers can readily attain the information they need – and in a way that is favorable to you.
Week 8: Mock reviews: Gaining meaningful feedback
Mock reviews are perhaps the best means to get meaningful feedback on your proposal. Here, we assist you by leading mock reviews. By having your proposal reviewed in a formal mock review, you will gain insight into its strengths and weaknesses. It is almost always an eye-opener. By reviewing proposals of others, you will see proposals from a reviewer’s perspective and you will learn through the mistakes of others. Most people find mock reviews essential.
Continuing Development (through year 1, 2 proposal submissions)
Over the course of a couple years ORAP will provide guidance in the process of writing 3 or 4 proposals. This will provide you with a solid foundation that you can then use throughout the rest of your career. This guidance will include:
- Individual Consultations
- Reading and Adapting to RFPs
- Putting it all together based on agency-specific solicitations
- Creating outlines
- Group Discussions (approximately every 2-3 weeks)
- Mock Reviews
- Core and elective seminars
- on topics that impact proposal development including budgeting, supplemental documents, insight into review panels, and much more
III. Large, multi-institutional grants (add on module)
It is one thing to write individual proposals and another to lead multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional grant proposal efforts. In this additional module, we assist you in project management skills that will make leadership and team member roles more efficient and effective.