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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Selection and Service – Experience and Advice on Competitive Grants

Author
item Foley, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 30, 2005
Publication Date: February 13, 2006
Citation: Foley, M.E. 2006. Selection and service - experience and advice on competitive grants. [Abstract]. Weed Science Society of America Abstracts 46:49.

Interpretive Summary: My presentation will address two questions related to obtaining competitive grant funds and provide some advice. The first question is: To which agency should your proposal be submitted? This depends on the agency portfolio, which can be found on the web as Request for Applications (RFA) for USDA-National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (NRI) or Guide to Programs for the National Science Foundation (NSF), and your research topic or question. Agency web pages are excellent sources of information, but it is very important to call a Program Officer and visit about funding opportunities in relation to your topic. The second question relates to serving on a panel such as for the Biology of Weeds and Invasive Plants program of NRI. Service on a panel is by invitation based on the nature of proposals submitted for a particular program cycle. Panel composition is quite diverse ranging from new to senior investigators from land-grant and non-land grant universities and related organizations. Panel service is time-consuming, but a rewarding task in many ways. For example, it provides valuable insights into the selection and decision process. I will give an overview of panel member activities as time permits. Some advice on grant proposal preparation is select a topic, question, or hypothesis that might have some appeal, or generates excitement among your peers; visit with the Program Officer; obtain examples of funded proposals from colleagues if you are new to the process; follow the guidelines; prepare a focused and well written proposal starting at least 6 months before the deadline; have sufficient relevant and convincing preliminary data to support your question or hypothesis; spend extra time on the summary as this often sets the tone for panel members and ad hoc reviewers; and have one or more colleagues read the proposal for scientific content and style before submission. Finally, kudos if you receive an award on the first try; if not, use reviewer comments to improve for the next submission cycle.

Technical Abstract: My presentation will address two questions related to obtaining competitive grant funds and provide some advice. The first question is: To which agency should your proposal be submitted? This depends on the agency portfolio, which can be found on the web as Request for Applications (RFA) for USDA-National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (NRI) or Guide to Programs for the National Science Foundation (NSF), and your research topic or question. Agency web pages are excellent sources of information, but it is very important to call a Program Officer and visit about funding opportunities in relation to your topic. The second question relates to serving on a panel such as for the Biology of Weeds and Invasive Plants program of NRI. Service on a panel is by invitation based on the nature of proposals submitted for a particular program cycle. Panel composition is quite diverse ranging from new to senior investigators from land-grant and non-land grant universities and related organizations. Panel service is time-consuming, but a rewarding task in many ways. For example, it provides valuable insights into the selection and decision process. I will give an overview of panel member activities as time permits. Some advice on grant proposal preparation is select a topic, question, or hypothesis that might have some appeal, or generates excitement among your peers; visit with the Program Officer; obtain examples of funded proposals from colleagues if you are new to the process; follow the guidelines; prepare a focused and well written proposal starting at least 6 months before the deadline; have sufficient relevant and convincing preliminary data to support your question or hypothesis; spend extra time on the summary as this often sets the tone for panel members and ad hoc reviewers; and have one or more colleagues read the proposal for scientific content and style before submission. Finally, kudos if you receive an award on the first try; if not, use reviewer comments to improve for the next submission cycle.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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