Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lurkers: Come out and join the conversation

Grants Maven wants to become more interactive. What topics do you want Grants Maven to track? What information would be most helpful to you? Can you add any insight about any of the Maven's postings? Become a follower and voice your views.

New year, new rules at NSF

The National Science Foundation's new Grant Proposal Guide goes into effect Jan. 5. This link gives a summary of key changes. Topics include letters of intent, mentoring, and proper attribution in proposals.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Research funding: Continuing resolution blues

Fiscal 2009 began several months ago, but the federal government has yet to approve a final budget. Most agencies are operating at last year's funding level on a continuing resolution that extends until March 2009. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) keeps track of the latest developments on the federal research funding scene. Check this link for the current status of 2009 appropriations.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CSREES announces AFRI (Translation: funding program)

What does this mean in English? That the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extensions Service (CSREES) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects to release a request for applications to a major funding initiative in early 2009. The program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) replaces the National Research Initiative (NRI) and the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems. The agency anticipates funding of $190 million for this program.

More tales of the NSF inspector general

One university returned more than $283,000 in misused grant funds to the National Science Foundation following the agency's investigation of alleged misuse of funds. A man impersonated an NSF official and lured young women to a hotel room for "research." Another university returned thousands of dollars after spending NSF funds on unallowable expenses such as alcohol for workshop participants. All this and more in the inspector general's latest report to Congress. Click the headline, then select the link for the "investigations" section of the report.

NIH: New proposal scoring policy ahead

Investigators submitting proposals after Jan. 1 should be aware of several changes in the process: shorter applications, new policy for early-stage investigators, new policy on resubmission and new review criteria. Click the headline for details.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NIH grant seminar June in Las Vegas

The National Institutes of Health will present a regional seminar on program funding and grants administration June 25 and 26. NIH officials will explain the proposal and review process. They also will discuss federal regulations and policies affecting NIH-funded researchers. It is hoped that what you learn about NIH in Vegas does not stay in Vegas, but goes back to your home institution with you.

NSF regional seminar at Kent State

The National Science Foundation will present a day-long workshop Feb. 10 at Kent State in Ohio. Program officers will discuss the proposal submission and review processes as well as current funding opportunities.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grants.gov RSS replaces email

Grants.gov's new RSS feed will replace its current email alert service. Email alerts will end on Jan. 31, 2009. Click the link to learn how to sign up.

NIH K award applications go electronic

The switch to electronic submission brings several changes in the application, including the budget and biosketch. Letters of recommendation are submitted directly to eRA Commons by the referee. All of this goes into effect for the Feb. 12, 2009, round of applications and those thereafter. Read details by clicking the link.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Find grant links fast

The links on this page will take you directly to the grant information at each federal agency. They will save you time by eliminating the need to hunt around each website for grant information.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Timeline for adopting new NIH peer review process

The National Institutes of Health will begin phasing in the new peer review process in January. Click the headline for details.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chemists: Get some publicity!

You work long hours in your lab. Perhaps you get recognition from colleagues at professional conferences, but what about from the general public? Send the National Science Foundation a short writeup on work you have performed with its funding. When taxpayers know the value of your research, they're more likely to support it.

NIH paper application email glitch

The National Institutes of Health is reposting grant opportunities that require paper applications. As a result, some investigators may receive automated email from NIH, leading them to believe there has been a change in the content of the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Fear not. The announcements are still active.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just what is FFATA?

FFATA (usually pronounced fuh-FAT-uh) is the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. Its purpose is to show taxpayers how their federal dollars are being spent. Of course, research grants are one type of federal spending. Research.gov was created to share information on grant spending with the public.

The skinny on USDA grants

USDA's Office of Scientific Quality Review (OSQR) has released a handbook to guide grant applicants in preparing their proposals. It provides nut-and-bolt details about USDA grant format, as well as general proposal-writing advice that is useful to most anyone writing a scientific grant.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

New NIH peer review process to begin

The first changes in the peer review process of the National Institutes of Health will take place in January 2009. Click this link to get details on the changes, as well as a timetable for their implementation

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NIH 2009 regional grant seminars

April 16-17, Atlanta, GA
June 25-26, Las Vegas, NV
Click headline for details.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NIH Regional Workshop/Georgia

The National Institutes of Health will conduct a regional seminar on program funding and grant administration April 15-17, 2009 in Atlanta. Click the headline for details.

Monday, October 27, 2008

G.g webcasts & workshops

Grants.gov conducts workshops and webcasts to keep you in the know about the federal funding world. Whether you need to know the technical details of submitting your proposal or want to find out what's likely to be funded next year, there is something here that might benefit you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NSF "broader impacts" update

Puzzled about how to address the "broader impacts" criterion in a National Science Foundation proposal? Check out the latest explanation of what it means and how program officers interpret it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grants.gov has a blog

Know about changes at Grants.gov before you're scrambling to meet a deadline. Bookmark its blog or subscribe to the feed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NIH seminar on funding & grant administration

Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology are sponsoring a National Institutes of Health seminar on getting and spending grant money from the agency. According to the event website, "The regional seminar is intended to help demystify the application and review process, clarify federal regulations and policies, and highlight current areas of special interest or concern." It's April 16 and 17 in Atlanta.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NIH policy on grants to foreign institutions

Are you a non-United States institution or organization that plans to apply for funding from the National Institutes of Health? If so, check out the agency's policy for this type of work.

Friday, October 10, 2008

NSF's limited competitions -- no more surprises!

Have you been spending hours scouring Grants.gov and other websites for limited grant competitions. We all know what a mess occurs when too many proposals are sent to a limited program.

NSF has made your life easier. It has a website that lists the limited competitions, complete with deadlines and links to the solicitations. Just click on the link above.

Thanks to RESADM-L, the research administrators' discussion list, for pointing this out.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

NIH allows fewer resubmissions

Here's an announcement directly from the current NIH Guide:

NIH announces a change in the existing policy on resubmission (amended) applications (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/amendedapps.htm). Beginning with original new applications (i.e., never submitted) and competing renewal applications submitted for the January 25, 2009 due dates and beyond, the NIH will accept only a single amendment to the original application. Failure to receive funding after two submissions (i.e., the original and the single amendment) will mean that the applicant should substantially re-design the project rather than simply change the application in response to previous reviews. It is expected that this policy will lead to funding high quality applications earlier, with fewer resubmissions.

Social scientists cite heavy-handed IRBs

Social scientists voiced concern at a recent meeting about research delays imposed by zealous Institutional Review Boards. Read a full report of the meeting at the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which sponsored the event.

Friday, October 03, 2008

NSF report on expedited review of social & behavioral research

The National Science Foundation has posted its report, Expedited Review of Social and Behavioral Research.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

NSF posts new grant manual (PAPPG)

The National Science Foundation has revised its Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide. It will affect proposals submitted on or after Jan. 5, 2009. Click on the link to view the revised version.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

NIH FOIA seminar available online

The freedom of information officer for the National Institutes of Health gave a presentation Sept. 18 on the agency's policies under the federal Freedom of Information Act. If you missed it, click above to see the slides and hear the recording. The Q&A at the end discuss animal welfare issues.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Public access a factor in new NIH grants

The National Institutes of Health reminds investigators that new grant applications must provide evidence of compliance with the agency's Public Access Policy. Click on this link to get how-tos.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Zerhouni to leave NIH next month

Here's a snippet from a National Institutes of Health press release. Click on the link above to read the full story.

Bethesda, Md, September 24, 2008 — Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., the director of the National Institutes of Health, today announced his plans to step down at the end of October 2008 to pursue writing projects and explore other professional opportunities.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NSF Stats & Funding Info

Quick -- how much funding did your state receive last year from the National Science Foundation? How do you compare with other institutions in your state? Can you find this information for your 10 a.m. meeting? Click on this easy-to-use trove of funding statistics to find the answers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

NIH transitions to Adobe Jan. 1

The National Institutes of Health will say goodbye to those Pure Edge grant application forms. Starting Jan. 1, electronic submission of SF424 R&R grant applications must use Adobe forms. Read the details at the link above.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Congressional hearing on NIH public access policy

The NIH public access policy we discussed in a March 7 post is the topic of a congressional hearing this Thursday. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Sept. 11 in 2141 Rayburn. Thanks to NASULGC's Congressional and Governmental Affairs Staff for bringing this to our attention.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Tell the world about your research

The National Science Foundation urges grantees to inform the news media of their research findings. They recommend getting to know the public information officer on your campus. If you don't know who that is, you can contact NSF for assistance. NSF grants are taxpayer-funded, so the agency wants results made known far and wide, not just in the scientific community.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

NIH deadlines: Wiggle room?

NIH clarifies its policy on late submission of grant applications. Only those with "recent" service as a peer reviewer, as opposed to "past" service, are eligible for a bye for that reason. There are other exceptions to the hard-and-fast deadline. Check it out at the link above.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Grants.gov glossary

Another resource to help you translate fedspeak into English. This site has definitions for all manner of government terms, as well as some computer technology terms and other useful information.

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's not your imagination: Federal R&D dollars down

It's documented: According to the National Science Foundation, federal funding for scientific research lagged behind inflation in fiscal 2007. NSF calculated the decline at 1.6 percent. The role of the federal government as a funder of academic R&D continues to shrink. Details are available at NSF's website.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Federal budget tutorial

Federal money makes possible much of the scientific research at American universities. Find out how to keep the dollars flowing by viewing this tutorial at AAAS.

Monday, August 18, 2008

NIH web tutorial: Financial conflict of interest

Financial conflict of interest can pose a threat to the integrity of biomedical research. Are you current on the topic? Check the tutorial to find out. For additional information about conflict of interest, see NIH's resource page on the topic.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rosetta Stone of federal contracting

Baffled by BAA? Stymied by SOW? Wonder what is WOSB? Wonder no more. Visit this online Glossary of Contract-Related Terms at the EPA's website the next time you need to decode a government contract.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NSF seeks comments on cost sharing

NSF's National Science Board seeks public comments on cost sharing, both mandatory and voluntary. Comments can be emailed to: nsbcostsharing@nsf.gov. Click on the link above to read the full announcement in the Aug. 6 issue of the Federal Register.

Women in Biomedical Research e-newsletter

Check out this new e-newsletter produced by the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers. In addition to information about NIH funding opportunities, it has links to articles about gender equality in academia and other topics.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Success rates at NIH

Scroll down to "Snapshots of Funding" on this NIH website for a fact sheet outlining proposal success rates.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

NSF's "broader impacts" criterion

Many scientists are still unsure how to address the "broader impacts" criterion in their NSF grant applications. The agency has issued a "Dear Colleague" as a reminder of the importance of including this in all proposals. Click on the "Representative Activities" link in the letter for some specific examples of activities that satisfy the "broader impacts" criterion. Please note that although the letter is from the Division of Chemistry, the criterion applies to all applications in all programs. This means you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Study: NIH peer review process biased

If you've ever had a grant rejected by NIH (or any other agency, for that matter), you likely thought the process was biased against you. Sometimes it is, according to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. The article presents a statistical study to document this claim.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Those Troublesome Grant Clauses

Universities are dealing more often with troublesome clauses in their federal grants and contracts. COGR and AAU have taken a new look at the issue and find that publication restrictions, export controls and the use of foreign nationals on federally funded projects top the list. The report makes several recommendations on how to improve matters. The DOD is deemed the most difficult agency with which to do business. Click the subhead to link to the COGR website and report.

Monday, June 23, 2008

For Policy Wonks Only

Did you miss the AAAS Policy Conference in May? Don't worry -- you don't have to visit the beltway to stay in the loop. The organization has posted a number of podcasts from the conference to its website. They include remarks by John H. Marburger III, director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.

Scroll down to view the podcasts available.

Grants.gov: All About Grants

Check out this page at the Grants.gov website. It includes listings of upcoming webinars, links to funding tips from grantors and links to other websites that provide information for grant seekers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NIH Peer Review Update

Check out this link to keep up with proposed changes in the storied system of proposal review. Look at the slide show posted June 6 for a quick overview.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Big Six States for Research

According to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, recent statistics indicate that six states have received half of all federal R&D funding. Where does yours rank? Click on the heading to see the pie chart.

NIH & Financial Conflict of Interest

Financial conflict of interest involving biomedical research has been in the news lately. See the latest NIH policies on this topic.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tales of the NSF Inspector General

Violation of confidential peer review? Saying a manuscript has been submitted when it hasn't? Take a look at some case studies from the National Science Foundation's Office of the Inspector General to see how these situations played out.
See a list of case studies. (Scroll to bottom of page)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Grants.gov has a quarterly newsletter, to which you can subscribe electronically. Click on the headline above.

Friday, March 07, 2008

NIH Public Access Policy

Investigators who publish articles based on NIH-funded research will have to provide a copy of the article for NIH's PubMed Central. This means investigators need to be careful not to sign publication contracts in which they surrender this right. Click on the headline for a trove of up-to-date information on this new Congressionally mandated requirement.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

NIH report on peer review

NIH has released a final draft report, "Peer Review Self-Study." The lengthy report contains recommendations for addressing the following challenges:
(1) Reduce administrative burden on applicants, reviewers and NIH staff. Recommendations include shortening the length of the application itself.
(2) Enhance rating system. Recommendations include creating a "not recommended for resubmission" category as well as providing scores for all applications.
(3) Enhance review and reviewer quality. Suggestions include the use of anonymous review to reduce possible bias against an applicant's institution, and the use of patients and patient advocates on review panels.
(4) Optimize support for different career stages and types. One suggestion is to rank early-career investigators against each other.
(5) Optimize support for different types of and approaches to science. This puts forth strategies to ensure that transformative, clinical and interdisciplinary research are included in the NIH portfolio.
(6) Reduce stress on the support system for science. Requiring a minimum percentage of effort for investigators on grants is among these proposals.
(7) Continue to scrutinize the peer review process. A data-driven assessment is recommended.
Click on the headline to view the report and accompanying materials

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Grants.gov application tutorial

Grants.gov has an online, narrated tutorial about how to prepare a grant application package with Adobe Reader. Click on the headline of this post to take a look.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cost sharing at NSF

At the direction of Congress, the National Science Foundation reviewed its cost sharing policy. In a recently released report, NSF has proposed to bring back cost sharing, or "matching funds" requirements, in select agency programs. They are: Engineering Research Centers (ERC), the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research(EPSCoR), and the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC).

The aim of these programs is to build capacity, foster partnerships with industry, encourage the commercialization of technology and promote the sustainability of grant projects. In 2004, mandatory cost sharing was eliminated. NSF's review of this decision revealed that the lack of cost sharing had decreased the effectiveness of these programs and removed the incentive for industry to participate.

Click the heading of this entry to view the full report.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Staying ahead of the curve

Academics know they must keep up with the scholarly literature in their fields. However, when you're looking for a federal grant, there is another step you can take to ensure that you are not proposing a project the agency has already funded. By searching the agency's award database, you can see what it has recently supported. Results of these projects might not have made their way into the literature yet.

Here's an example of how to do it: Go to the National Science Foundation's award database.

Then do a search on keywords or the particular program you're applying to. Limit it by date so you are not swamped -- you're looking only for the newest awards. You will get an idea of what the agency has funded in the past in your area, and whether someone is already doing what you propose.

Monday, February 18, 2008

NIH grant names decoded

Have you ever wondered what people are talking about when they refer to grants from the National Institutes of Health using labels like RO1, P20 and T32? All is revealed in a glossary at the NIH website. Scroll down to "Activity Code." There you will find links to detailed information about the agency's various funding mechanisms.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NSF Regional Grants Conference in Providence, RI

Attending a conference at which you can speak directly with program officers is a great way to get feedback on whether your research ideas fit any of the agency's programs.