An abstract is a summary of the entire research project. This introduction to your project is critical because it is typically the first item after the title that reviewers read; its job is to capture their attention and draw them into reading the full application. Make sure the language you use is clear, concise, and free of jargon. Abstracts are written in third person to keep the focus on the project and because granting agencies will often use the text on their websites and in press releases announcing of awards. Do not just copy the first paragraph of your proposal narrative, which reviewers tend to see as a waste of the space. Write the abstract last, after completing the project description, so you can distill your full discussion down to the essential points, i.e., what you seek to achieve through this project and what sets it apart, including its contributions to the field, intellectual merit, broader impacts, and expected outcomes. Follow the agency's instructions and do not exceed character or word limits.
Assessment is the evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something. In education, the term assessment refers specifically to the wide variety of methods or tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition, or academic needs of students. Granting agencies that focus on program development, especially as it relates to education, teaching, or training do not consider "assessment" to be interchangeable with "evaluation," although both terms have similar purposes, which is to help project directors and partners to ensure timely progress in multi-year projects and to determine whether the overall project met its objectives and achieved its goal at the end of the granting period.
Benchmarks are standards by which something can be measured. Granting agencies, especially foundations, increasingly ask applicants to set benchmarks by which they can evaluate their progress towards successfully completing the project or program for which support is sought. When a granting agency requires a set of benchmarks, it is asking for a set of measurable objectives connected to a timeline showing the dates by which the benchmarks will be achieved over the course of the grant and an explanation of what will be measured and how. These benchmarks will serve as the points of reference by which both the principle investigator (and, if appropriate, the team) engaged with carrying out the grant-funded efforts and the agency can measure progress across the course of the grant and evaluate the short-term impact of the grant-funded work. See Assessment and Evaluation. Different agencies may define benchmarks in somewhat different ways. For example, the Department of Education considers benchmarks to be statements of points along the path toward learning a new skill or set of skills, while many foundations want applicants to set benchmarks specifically related to achieving the objectives and goal of the project for which funding is requested. These are all means of measuring progress. Think of benchmarks as useful milestones that can help you stay on track and make timely progress as you work through the project. You can use them as a means of showing the granting agency hard evidence that you are making progress or have achieved success when you write progress reports or the final report. Benchmarks are typically incorporated into either the work plan or evaluation section of the project description, although sometimes they will be required as a separate document. The agency’s GPG (grant proposal guidelines) will indicate if benchmarks are required and where to place them within the proposal.
Boilerplate refers to blocks of generic material which, with slight modification, can be re-used in a variety of proposals. Boilerplate often includes items such as short institutional histories, organizational profiles, relevant statistical data, or organizational charts.
The term "broader impact" has been associated with National Science Foundation review criteria for many years and has crept into many other granting agencies’ language for awards. In the NSF's two main criteria, “intellectual merit” encompasses the potential to advance knowledge and encompasses the scientific research proposal, while “broader impacts” deal with the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. Other granting organizations often require similar statements within the grant narrative, the abstract, or a field in the grant submission form. The broader impact statement needs to explain what will be different as a result of the grant-funded effort. For example, the NSF requires grant applicants to provide information specifically on how their project will "advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning; broadening participation of underrepresented groups; enhancing infrastructure for research and education; broadening dissemination to enhance scientific technological understanding, and providing benefits to society." agencies, including the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), increasingly require information on how the results will be disseminated and whether they will be presented in ways that will enhance the public’s understanding of the subject rather than speaking only to other researchers in the field.
A grant budget provides a breakdown of the costs associated with the project, including estimates of your project’s costs that show the agency reviewers that you understand and have outlined all of the expenses involved. The budget must be a realistic reflection of grant activities and match the activities described in the project description. Items to include in budgets, as appropriate to the project, may include costs for salaries (KU project director, collaborators, staff, or students), fringe benefits (KU project director, collaborators, staff, or students), travel (airfare, ground transportation, lodging, meals, and incidentals), supplies and materials (expendable--to be used up in the course of carrying out the grant activities), participant support costs, consultant fees (professional and technical honoraria), equipment (items costing more than $5,000 that will remain in use after the grant ends), and services (contractual third party project activities) to complete your project. Budgets should be broken out for each year of the grant and include a summary budget for the entire grant period. Budget costs include direct costs (charged to the grant) and indirect costs (overhead or Facilities and Administration--F&A), when allowed. If the granting agency is non-federal, applicants will need to learn whether it allows F&A and, if so, at what percent. Budgets also may require cost sharing or in-kind contributions (third party contributions to the project in cash, services, or goods). If cost share is not required, KU policy prohibits including it in grant budgets. Total project funding will include direct costs, indirect costs, and any cost share or in-kind contributions.
Budget Justification/Budget Narrative
The budget justification explains in a narrative format where the numbers in the budget came from using the same categories as the budget form (table or spreadsheet). Describe what work the project director or principal investigator (PI) will do, what percentage of worktime during the academic year they will spend on this project, what the university fringe benefit rate is and how the amounts requested for their salary and fringe benefits were calculated. A similar description should be provided for each KU member of the project team, whether they are staff, faculty, or students. Payments to participants who are not on the KU payroll are covered as simple lump sums in the "services" or "other" category where they are listed as "consultants," "subcontractors," or participants, with their honoraria or consultant fee payment and no fringe calculated. Service costs are determined by the cost of a third party providing a specific service with a brief discussion of why that service is necessary to the project. Such fees should be estimated based on typical fees charged and should include an explanation of what these proposed external partners in the project will contribute. Describe in narrative format the travel needs based on per-trip travel costs: including dates of travel, airfare; lodging, per diem (meals and incidentals); ground transportation including rental cars, public transit passes, parking fees, tolls, and mileage. Explain why the proposed travel is necessary for the project. Materials and supplies costs should show how many materials, at what price per unit, and why they are needed for the project, for example, photocopies might be calculated at an estimated 500 pages at $0.10/page for a total request of $50.
Call for Applications (CFA), Call for Proposals (CFP), Grant Proposal Guidelines (GPG); Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO); Request for Applications (RFA); Request for Proposals (RFP)
All of these acronyms are used by government and private funding agencies to announce funding opportunities and solicit applications. Their purpose is the same, to announce the availability of funding, attract qualified applicants, and provide critical information about the application requirements, eligibility for awards, and review criteria.
Challenge grants, such as those offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities, require a cash match of additional funds that the recipient institution must raise from another source. See the University of Kansas Center for Research (KUCR) Cost Sharing/Matching Policy.
A chapter outline is a detailed list of the chapters that will comprise a book project, using working titles. The outline should show how each chapter connects to support the core idea under exploration and highlight the central arguments the chapter will make. Depending on whether there is a separate timeline requirement, this section may describe how much research you have completed, what writing remains to be done on each chapter, and when you expect to have completed the research and/or writing. If employing this strategy, incorporate into each chapter discussion a brief statement indicating whether the chapter is in draft form, complete and awaiting final editing of the whole manuscript, or still at the research stage with writing anticipated to begin during the grant period (or thereafter), and how the chapters’ statuses will change over the tenure of the fellowship. While often treated separately, the chapter outline may include a description of the resources you need for the completion of each chapter, which can be effective when applying for residential fellowships to clearly show the grantor that you know its collections and confirm that you need time there to complete the research for your book.
When collaborators are given due credit by co-authoring publications from the project. There are various co-authorship models, and some are negotiable. How the co-authorship needs to be defined at the start of a collaborative research project.
Collaboration, or Collaborative project
When two or more scholars work together on a project that is expected to result in a joint publication or other product of the research, and potentially generate grant proposals to extend the study or foster more collaborations.
How prepared an individual, group, or organization is to engage in effective collaborative efforts. The more well prepared, willing and well supported the members are, the more likely the collaborative effort is to meet with success.
Knowledge that arises from a group collaboration that would not normally have come about if the individuals had not worked together.
Community engagement in collaboration
A role played by people behind the scenes of a collaborative project, often considered to be of lesser importance. However, these supportive players grease the gears and help keep team members and the entire project on track. They can make vital connections between researchers and the resources they need and help maintain the clear, close communication among team members that is vital to the success of any collaboration.
"Convergence comes as a result of the sharing of methods and ideas by chemists, physicists, computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and life scientists across multiple fields and industries. It is the integration of insights and approaches from historically distinct scientific and technological disciplines" (Sharp et al., 2016; Committee on Key Challenge Areas for Convergence and Health 2014; p. 8.).
Cost share is the portion of a project's total cost that is paid by the institution receiving the award, its partner organizations, or a third party to make up the difference between the amount of the grant award and the amount required to complete the project. The term encompasses both hard cash matching funds and documentable in-kind contributions. Cost share is allowed by the KU Center for Research only when granting agencies require a specified percentage of cost share. For example, if you requested $200,000 and the agency requires a 20% cost share, the principle investigator would have to generate the $40,000 in cost share by negotiating with various KU units to contribute portions of the funding (the College, the PI's home department, the Chancellor and/or Provost's office, KUCR) and/or fundraising outside of KU to generate third-party matching funds. Budget items that may count as cost share are the salaries of the KU faculty and staff involved (which KU is already paying, so this is the option KU prefers as it requires no new dollars) as well as in-kind contributions, such as supplies or computer time/space. See the University of Kansas Center for Research (KUCR) Cost Sharing/Matching Policy.
Any collaboration between groups from more than one discipline. An overarching term that encompasses multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborations (Stokols et al., 2008). See individual definitions of these terms.
Curriculum Vitae (CV); Resumé
A CV is an encyclopedic account of your academic credentials and accomplishments. A résumé is more like an abstract or summary that provides a brief account of your experience and skills tailored to a specific job or award for which you are applying. Granting agencies sometimes require a "shortened CV" that lists only selected pieces of your scholarly history. The resulting document, usually limited to two-four pages or less, is more like a résumé in form and appearance (in fact, the National Endowment for the Humanities calls it a résumé). Whether for a job application or a grant or fellowship application, whether in CV or résumé form, the account of your career should be tailored for each application with emphasis placed on the experience, skills, and accomplishments you have that the recipient is seeking.
Data Management Plan (DMP)
A data management plan is a detailed discussion of how you will share the data generated by your study, including any digital results generated or physical material discovered during the research, such as artifacts generated by archaeological fieldwork. The plan should reflect best practices in the applicant’s field of research, and be appropriate to the data that the project will generate. Librarians at the KU Watson Library are available to help faculty and graduate students create a DMP, which should be short (no more than two pages) and explain what your research will generate and how you plan to manage the resulting data. Agencies do not expect you to include preliminary analyses, drafts of papers, plans for future research, peer-review assessments, communications from colleagues, materials that must remain confidential until publication, or information that, if released, would result in an invasion of personal privacy in your data management plan. The plan’s contents may include: types of data, samples, physical collections, ware, curriculum materials, or other materials to be produced; how the data will be shared with others; any legal or ethical restrictions on access; period of data retention; data formats and dissemination; and how data will be stored, preserved, and accessed after the project is complete, which may involve third-party facilities or repositories. Digitally available data includes citations, software code, algorithms, digital tools, databases, geospatial coordinates, documentation, reports and articles, and requires specialty methods of retention. If a third party is involved as a repository, the DMP should include a signed letter of agreement outlining the terms of the preservation and access, and any costs involved in this process should be included in the grant budget.
A deadline is the date by which an application must be submitted in order to be considered by the granting agency. In the case of electronic uploads, given the propensity of online systems to slow down and even crash entirely close to deadlines, we strongly advise submission at least five working days in advance of the agency's deadline to ensure any transmission problems can be resolved. When hard copies of grant application materials are required, the deadline may be postmark or receipt. In the first case, the deadline is the date by which the application packet must be mailed. The postmark or the date on the express mail air bill establishes the date it was submitted. In the second case, the application packet must be in the hands of the granting agency on or before the deadline. In either case, any required hard copy material should be sent via express mail, which clearly establishes the date by which the application was sent, allows package tracking, and provides proof that you took measures to ensure your application would arrive on time.
Direct costs refer to the cost of carrying out the project for which grant funding is requested. Examples of such costs include salaries for KU participants, project-related travel, equipment and supplies, photocopying, and fees for computer use and other research costs. Direct costs do not include Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs.
An area of study within one field. Traditional disciplines include biology, physics, literature, etc. Boundaries between disciplines have become fuzzier over the last quarter century, as a more integrated approach to scientific enquiry has grown (Stokols et al., 2008; Klein 2008).
Evaluation is the objective and careful examination and appraisal of progress towards achieving the objectives and goals of a grant-funded study or program, as well as measuring the success of the final outcome. Evaluation plans for grant applications must provide the measurable metrics by which the project objectives will be determined with details about the means and personnel for collection and analysis. There are services that provide expert evaluation by consultants who are professionals in the research field or with expertise in the particular program area, the cost of which some agencies will allow in the grant budget. For example, the U.S. Department of Education allows a small amount of funding for external evaluation to be included in the budgets for Title VI gr, which fund language learning and area studies outreach. In other cases, the project director will include the results of the evaluation in regular reports (agencies differ on how often they require progress reports) and/or when the grant period is completed. These will be based on the benchmarks and metrics established at the time the grant was submitted.
External Funding represents any Grant or fellowship funding provided by an entity outside of KU.
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs; Indirect Costs; Overhead
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, previously often called "indirect" or "overhead" costs, all these terms refer to the fee charged to a funding agency on an institutional grant or contract to help cover its cost of doing business by a university or research management organization. Most simply, F&A funds generated by external grants and contracts are used to pay for lighting, equipment, janitorial services and day-to-day administration and maintenance operations.KU's Policy
on the collection of F&A funds does not allow any reduction in the F&A rate applied to a proposal (50.1% for on-campus research, 50% for on-campus training grants, 26% for off-campus research and off-campus training grants). If a funding agency has an official written policy dictating a lower F&A rate, the University of Kansas Center for Research (KUCR
), will abide by that policy. Foundations often do not allow F&A or limit it to a certain percentage. Some allow an administrative fee, which KUCR will accept in lieu of F&A. Some foundations allow direct charging of some administrative items, such as salary for an administrative assistant. See the KUCR F&A Rates
and F&A Cost Return Policy.
A Foundation, according to the Council of Foundations, is an entity that supports charitable activities by making grants to unrelated organizations or institutions or to individuals for scientific, educational, cultural, religious, or other charitable purposes. The IRS has several definitions of various types of charities and nonprofit organizations, see http://www.irs.gov/
A Corporate Foundation is the charitable branch of a corporation that serves as a channel for distribution of a firm’s profits into non-profit activities.
A family foundation is a foundation whose funds are derived from members of a single family. At least one family member must continue to serve as an officer or board member of the foundation and, as the donor, that individual (or a relative) must play a significant role in governing and/or managing the foundation. Most family foundations are small, have none or few staff members, and fund projects that meet the family’s priorities.
Private foundations are generally supported financially by an individual, family, or a corporation. Private foundations must pay out at least 5% of their assets each year in the form of grants and operating charitable activities. A private operating foundation is a kind of private foundation and must operate under similar rules. However, it does not have to pay out 5% or more of its assets each year in grants. Instead, it must carry out its own charitable purposes. Private foundations are 501(c)3 organizations.
Public foundations include a wide variety of charitable organizations, such as hospitals, schools, churches, and organizations that make grants to others. Charities that primarily make grants are commonly referred to as public foundations. They receive their funds from multiple sources, which may include private foundations, individuals, government agencies, and fees they charge for charitable services they provide.
Fringe Benefits include the amount paid by the employer for employee benefits such as retirement, health insurance, social security, unemployment insurance, etc.; salary plus fringe benefits equals the total personnel costs. KU requires that grant applicants use a standard 35% fringe benefits rate in their budgets.
The Grantee is the agency, institution or individual to whom a grant is formally awarded. Grants are generally made to universities, school districts or other non-profit organizations, and only rarely to individuals.
Grant vs. Contract
A grant is an actual award of funds given by an agency. (Applicants for grants do not write grants; they write grant applications for grants.) When a competitive grant program is announced, the funding agency will almost always outline the general purpose and direction it has in mind, leaving the specifics to the imagination or expertise of the applicant. A contract is a formal agreement offered by an agency for the delivery of specific products or services. Under a contract award, an agency agrees to pay the PI or the institution a specified amount for a specific task or set of tasks it has need to have performed. Both are legally binding, but a grant gives the recipient more leeway in the choice of work performed for the money. Generally, contracts reimburse for work completed, which means the PI must keep highly detailed records of expenditures and submit these financial reports to the KU Center for Research, which then sends an invoice to the funder for reimbursement. Department of Defense awards often work this way, for example.
General Research Fund (GRF)
The General Research Fund is offered to KU faculty members by the KU Center for Research through their academic units and is considered to be seed money for their research. Application information is sent late each fall semester to faculty members by their academic units, which also handle the selection process. See the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences's policy on General Research Fund (GRF)
for more information.
Guidelines are provided in applications by granting agencies, stipulating requirements such as specifications for type and size of font, page or character limitations for various sections, margin width, specific categories or subheadings to be set up in a specific order within various components of the application, forms, submission directions, funding limitations, and other information that applicants must follow carefully in order to be considered for the award.
Individual grants are those for which individuals may apply directly. These generally take the form of fellowships or small research grants. Some granting agencies allow individual grants and fellowships to be administered through KU, which enables KU faculty to receive benefits and full salary through the Supplemental Salary Funding (SSF)
process. Others will only grant directly to the applicant. In both cases, it is advisable to speak with HGDO staff about your options before taking action to accept an award.
In-Kind Contributions, in contrast to cash contributions, are contributions of equipment, supplies, office space, or staff time.
Institutional Grants are those the granting agency requires to be submitted and administered by an institution or fiscal agent rather than an individual. These are typically larger, more complex applications to fund larger programs, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars and Institutes grants. Some "fellowships" also require institutional approval, which makes them technically Institutional Grants, even though awards are subsequently granted directly to the individual applicants. The NEH Summer Stipend competition, which requires KU to nominate two applicants based on an internal competition, is an example. Institutional applications, like individual applications, are written by individual faculty members or collaborative groups of faculty, but must be reviewed and approved by KUCR prior to submission. See also Individual Grant.
Research collaboration between two or more disciplines undertaken jointly between two or more individuals from each discipline, in a way that integrates information, data, and concepts (Stokols et al., 2008). Groups will often set up exchange programs, and implement and publish joint methods papers as well as project results papers.
Internal funding refers to funds offered in competitions open only to KU faculty, staff, or students by KU administrative units. For example, the Hall Center's competitions offer "internal funding" for KU faculty. Most such awards take the form of grants or fellowships to support research or graduate studies.
Kansas University Endowment Association (KUEA)
The Kansas University Endowment Association
(KUEA) is the University's developmental fund-raising arm. Any approach to private foundations or to corporations must be registered and cleared with KUEA. Foundation and corporation approaches are often submitted with KUEA assistance and administrative oversight rather than through the KU Center for Research (KUCR).
Facilitators of knowledge exchange or sharing between and among various stakeholders. While the roles and functions of knowledge brokers may be conceptualized and operationalized differently in various sectors and settings, a key attribute is facilitation of two-way or multiway exchanges of information, whether between knowledge producers in different fields or between knowledge producers and those who use knowledge, such as members of the general public.
Leaders of collaborative research groups are often the main principal investigator on the grant funding the project or for which the team is applying, and often is a well-known senior level faculty member. Ideally, the leader is capable of communicating across the disciplines engaged in the project and can keep everyone working in harness towards the common goal.
A logic model is a systematic, visual way to present a planned program with its underlying assumptions and theoretical framework. It provides a picture of why and how the program will work and helps the project director to describe, share, discuss, and improve the program as it is developed. See a full discussion of logic models developed by the W.W. Kellogg Foundation at: https://www.wkkf.org/resource-directory/resource/2006/02/wk-kellogg-foun...
). There are many online discussions and examples of logic models that can be useful in grant applications. The HGDO has a simple model available in MS Word, and can provide information to help applicants develop a strong logic model to include with grant applications, when appropriate.
Matching funds are contributions to a project that a granting agency requires grantees to provide either directly or through third-parties. When matching funds are required, a granting agency agrees to provide a set amount of funding if the grantee can raise a set percentage of that amount from another source. This differs from challenge grant requirements in that agencies will generally accept both hard-cash match and in-kind contributions to the project to meet the required match percentage, while challenge grants require cash match only. See the University of Kansas Center for Research (KUCR) Cost Sharing/Matching Policy.
Metrics are measurable outcomes established to measure the success of grant projects. One way to describe metrics is with the SMART acronym: Specific metrics that are clear and well defined; Measurable demonstrating how progress toward metrics is monitored while work is underway; Achievable metrics ensure that everything is in place to meet the goal; Realistic metrics describe particular skills, access to resources or key people, and management support; and Timely metrics show what is required and when.
Research collaboration between groups belonging to two or more disciplines that is performed in a sequential, additive manner where each group contributes independently to achieve the end result (Stokols et al., 2008). Interaction between groups is mostly for coordination purposes, rather than integration of concepts and methods.
Needs Analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating needs in a community or other defined population of people. The identification of needs is a process of describing “problems” of a target population and possible solutions to these problems. Some granting agencies require a needs analysis as part of the grant proposal narrative or as a separate component of the application. A successful training needs analysis, for example, will identify those who need training and what kind of training is needed. It will evaluate existing knowledge, skills, abilities, or techniques in the target group against levels of knowledge, skills, abilities or techniques required for specific reasons in order to show there are gaps and a critical need to address them. The results of such an analysis would then be detailed in the grant application to help justify the request for funding to develop or enhance the program for which the funding is sought.
New Faculty General Research Fund (NFGRF)
The New Faculty General Research Fund (NFGRF) provides small amounts of seed money for summer research and/or a graduate research assistant. All new faculty are entitled one award during their first two years at KU. A faculty member may apply for up to $8,000 by demonstrating that the project will lay the foundation for future research and holds the promise of external funding. For more information, see KUCR's policy on the New Faculty General Research Fund (NFGRF)
An objective is a major project activity/milestone and a timeline for its accomplishment.
Outcomes are benefits or changes or individuals or populations during or after participation in grant project activities. Outcomes may relate to behavior, skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, conditions or other attributes. Outcomes are what participants know, think, or can do; how they behave, or what their conditions are that is different following program implementation. An outcome evaluation is a form of evaluation that assesses the extent to which a project’s outcome-oriented objectives are achieved.
Outputs are program activities and their direct products. Usually measured in terms of the volume of work accomplished, outputs have little inherent value in themselves. Stating expected outputs in a grant application narrative may be required by a granting agency because doing so will help assure the agency that the proposed project will lead to a desired benefit for participants or target populations.
Per diem is the daily allowance for meals, and incidental expenses (fees and tips) when estimating the costs of travel to complete a grant project. The General Services Administration (GSA) establishes per diem rates for destinations within the continental United States at http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem
. The State Department establishes the foreign rates at http://aoprals.state.gov/
. The department of Defense (DOD) establishes non-foreign rates such as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/
. These sites also provide standard lodging rates for target cities or areas and KU now requires that grant budgets use the federal rates for per diem and lodging in grant applications unless all participants sign a form in which they agree to lower lodging and per diem rates, see Per-Diem Waiver.
The Per-Diem Waiver is a form required by the KU Center for Research which must be signed by all project directors and any grant participants The form is available on the KUCR website, see https://research.ku.edu/documents/694
Performance measurement is the ongoing monitoring and reporting of progress towards meeting the project's pre-established benchmarks, completing objectives, achieving anticipated outcomes, and accomplishing its overarching goal(s). Performance measures are the specific metrics by which progress is measured. They may address the type or level of program activities conducted (process), the direct products and services delivered by a program (outputs), and/or the results of those products and services (outcomes).
An individual who has a deep understanding and working knowledge of more than one discipline (Greek: poly many, math knowledge).
A Preliminary Proposal is a short version of a proposal (sometimes called a concept statement or project summary) sent to a funding agency for internal review as a qualifier prior to the agency inviting applications from a select number of applicants. Similar to a letter of inquiry or statement of interest, such pre-proposals must capture the critical elements of the proposed project, what it seeks to accomplish, why that is important, and show how it matches the agency's funding interests.
Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD)/Project Manager (PM)
Principal Investigator and Project Director are often used interchangeably to define the individual named in the application as the party primarily responsible for conducting the research or carrying out the project for which the grant is being requested. Federal agencies refer to this project leader as the Principal Investigator, while many private grantors may use the term Project Director or Project Manager. Collaborative work may result in a Principle Investigator (PI) and one or more Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PI or Co-I) submitting a joint application.
Program Officer; Contract Officer; Project Officer
The Program Officer is the member of the funding agency staff assigned to monitor the programmatic (not fiscal) aspects of your project. This is the individual to contact with questions about the proposal development process and for certain federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education, it is important that the project director develop an ongoing relationship with the program officer who manages the program of interest. Developing positive working relationships with these individuals is even more critical to the success of foundation approaches. The Contract Officer, sometimes called the Project Officer, is a staff member of the funding agency assigned to monitor the fiscal (not programmatic) aspects of your project, although in some cases one individual fulfills both roles, e.g., US Department of Education Program Officers are responsible for the financial, as well as the programmatic, aspects of grant awards.
A project description, sometimes called a project narrative, identifies the problem to be solved by acquiring grant or fellowship funds, including steps already taken to solve the problem and what needs to be done to find a solution, proposing a solution to the problem that this grant funding will address, a timeline to show how and when you will implement the solution, defining who will benefit from the project, and describing how you will track and measure the success of the project. The language should be persuasive, using active verbs to describe the project to the grant reviewers.
Proposal Type, Research
A research proposal consists of all the materials required by a granting agency to be submitted in order to compete for funding from that agency. The research proposal may include agency forms, an abstract or summary, a project description narrative detailing the proposed work, a bibliography, résumés or CVs, a budget and budget justification narrative, and supporting materials such as letters of reference or letters confirming collaborative agreements or institutional support. A research proposal is intended to convince others that you have a worthwhile research project and that you have the competence and the work-plan to complete it. Generally, a research proposal should contain all the key elements involved in the research process and include sufficient information for the readers to evaluate the proposed study. The proposal must answer the following questions: what do you plan to accomplish, why do you want to do it, and how are you proposing to do it. To persuade grant reviewers to approve your proposal, you must use writing that is coherent, clear, and compelling. State the research problem, provide the context, present the rationale and significance of your proposed study; define key concepts, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies; provide a literature review, and set the boundaries of the research.
Proposal Type, Program Development/Training/Education
Proposals aimed at gaining support to develop programs, including public outreach, institutional curriculum development, and various teaching and training programs, require somewhat different components, arguments, and evidence than research proposals. Examples are the US Department of Education's Title VI grants, which fund National Resource Centers aimed at increasing the public's cultural understanding of non-US populations and Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) programs aimed at enhancing foreign language learning. Such proposals generally are written following the instructional design model of analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation or assessment. This means measurable learning outcomes, or means of measuring audience impact in the case of public outreach efforts, are required. Applicants should describe the need for the program based on a detailed needs analysis to show the granting agency who needs the training and why or why the proposed program is needed and who it is intended to benefit and how. For each learning outcome, provide a detailed description of the course or presentation content and learning activities. Describe how the course or program was developed and the mode and cost of delivery. Then show the implementation process by detailing the steps it will take to implement the program. Describe the methods taken to evaluate the effectiveness of the program or training model, including details about revising and improving the program, course, or training module. Such applications may require quantitative data to show past performance and indicate future capabilities at the application stage, as well as in interim or final reports.
Research costs refer to the cost of doing the proposed research. When a funding agency states that a grant funds only research costs, it means that this particular grant opportunity is intended to cover expenses such as research-related travel, lodging, and per diem; photocopying; access fees; materials and supplies; and sometimes equipment. It may also provide salary for one or more research assistants and summer salary for the principal investigator, but generally does not provide course-release time or a stipend for the principal investigator during the regular academic year.
Review Criteria are the specific metrics granting agencies provide by which proposals are judged in the application guidelines. Whether applications are considered through a review panel process or other procedure, success depends on how well they address the criteria specified in the agency's guidelines. Applicants should learn everything possible about the manner in which their applications will be rated and write to the criteria.
Review panels are composed of experts who read grant or fellowship applications and make funding recommendations to granting agencies. Federal review panels do not include staff members of the agency that is offering the funding, although program officers sit in on the discussions and may provide information not otherwise available to the panel (which is a reason to connect with the program officer prior to application). Federal agency reviewers are selected from the "field" to provide peer review. Review panels typically have at least three members, each of whom reads many different proposals during the review process. In the case of non-governmental granting agencies, such as foundations or corporations, the review panelists are more likely to be members of the agency's board of directors or staff members within the organization, possibly with some contributions by disciplinary reviewers. It is particularly necessary to avoid jargon or specialist terms understood only in the discipline when applying to a non-governmental agency. However, even in the case of federal grants the review panelists may not be experts in the specific sub-discipline of the study, so it is advisable to make a habit of writing clearly and defining each term when jargon cannot be avoided.
Risk Analysis is the process of defining and analyzing the dangers to individuals, businesses, and government agencies posed by potential natural and human-caused adverse events. Risk analysis is a required component of some federal government grant applications, especially those related to activities internationally in areas of current unrest or disaster areas. While much of the information and many of the examples offered online are aimed at businesses, several federal granting agencies offer downloadable risk analysis templates. If the guidelines for a federal grant require a risk analysis component, check to see if the agency offers a preferred template and/or approach. Federal agencies that require risk analysis components in grant applications are often deeply concerned about protecting information that, in the hands of US enemies may prove a danger to the nation, including its citizens and economic infrastructure.
Seed money is funding given to an institution or individual to launch a project and help it progress far enough to make it more attractive to other funding agencies for larger grants.
Soft skills are those which are crucial for the success of a collaboration, including oral communication, project management, conflict management, and presentation skills.
Statement of Significance
A statement of significance or intellectual merit will detail the contributions your project can be expected to make. A succinct version should appear both in the introduction, as well as a more detailed discussion in the project description narrative. It should cover the key elements of your proposal, including a statement of the problem or need, the purpose of the research and significance of the research you propose to your discipline and to the greater body of knowledge. The statement should provide a background and rationale for the project and establish the need for and relevance of the research. How is your project different from previous projects addressing this topic? Will you be using new methodologies or covering new theoretical territory? The research goal and objectives should identify the anticipated outcomes of the research and match up to the needs identified in the statement of significance. Emphasize why this project needs to be conducted and show that it offers a solution that is innovative and necessary.
A stipend is a periodic payment, especially a scholarship or fellowship allowance. Fellowship stipends are intended to pay living expenses during the fellowship period and thus free the researcher to focus entirely on the study without teaching or service duties.
A sub recipient is a third party organization or individual that is receiving funding paid through the University of Kansas from the grant to perform a portion of the research project or program. A sub award is a signed agreement with this third party in which the terms of the relationship are detailed to ensure that the sub recipient complies with the terms and is paid the agreed upon amount for completing the agreed upon scope of work. A sub recipient works collaboratively with the prime award recipient to carry out the scope of work. The principal investigator or project director collaborates with the sub recipient to help ensure that the scope of work is completed as agreed. At KU, the KU Center for Research has processes in place to monitor the scope of work and compliance with the sub award agreement.
A subvention is given to an author or directly to a publisher to subsidize the costs of publishing a book.
Supplemental Salary Funding (SSF)
Since most humanities fellowships provide stipends for an academic year of research that are less than a faculty member's regular salary, most KU fellowship winners would have to take a cut in salary to accept the award and pursue their research. By offering tenure-track faculty members access to a Supplemental Salary Fund (SSF) to bridge the gap and cover fringe benefits, the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) encourages the pursuit of external awards. To qualify for SSF, the amount of the stipend awarded must constitute at least half of the faculty member's regular salary and the application must have been submitted through the Humanities Grant Development Office (HGDO) or a copy must be provided to the HGDO at the time of the request for SSF. Upon learning of an external fellowship award, a faculty member should submit a SSF request through the HGDO. SSF awards are granted based on the faculty member's agreement to return to employment at KU following the fellowship year for one academic year or repay the SSF award. Faculty members can make use of the SSF every five years. SSF request form (pdf).
A sustainability plan in a grant application describes what systems are in place to establish ongoing efforts to supply funding for projects and programs.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is sometimes referred as SLOT analysis with liabilities coming in place of weaknesses. Identifying these factors and considering all of them together makes it easier to plan future efforts in funded projects or projects proposed for funding. In grant applications requiring risk analysis, including programs funded by the US Department of State, adding all these factors within a diagram makes it easy for both collaborators and the granting agency reviewers to visualize and understand your analysis of risks related to the proposed effort. Tools for creating SWOT analysis diagrams that can be useful in grant applications are available online and the HGDO has a simple diagram available to applicants and can provide information to help applicants develop a SWOT analysis to include with grant applications, when appropriate.
How the members of a collaboration perform individually within the team and how that contributes to the performance of the team as a whole. Understanding this can make collaborative efforts more effective and efficient.
This term refers the life cycle of a team effort. It incorporates how teams are formed and the interactions among members, which are influenced by trust and effective leadership. The concept includes Tuckman's (1965) five stages of group development, outlined here: 1. Forming: team members getting to know each other, 2. Storming: team members jostling for leadership hierarchies, 3. Norming: team members have settled down to get the job done, 4. Performing: team members are all busy, 5. Adjourning: project ends, team members start the process for a new or expanded project, possibly with some different players.
Teaching a group of individuals learn how to get the best out of a collaborative effort by working together effectively. Bringing potential collaborators into short training sessions prior to formally initiating a team may help to ensure the success of the collaborative effort.
A Timeline is a schematic or description of the goals, objectives, benchmarks, and activities within a specified time set for reaching completion of the grant project. Timelines may include persons responsible and measurable outcomes or products.
A collaboration undertaken by individuals or groups in two or more disciplines that integrates concepts and methods to an extent that transcends each, leading to the creation of a new discipline, for example, environmental history.
Research undertaken by individuals or groups within a single discipline, such as history, sociology, or religious studies.
University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. (KUCR)
The University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc.
(KUCR) is the nonprofit grants administration research arm of the University. It administers all federal and state institutional grants and contracts at KU. Applications to government agencies must be submitted with KUCR approval.
Granting agencies expect the work plan in a grant application to describe the activities to be undertaken as part of the grant project, the strategies to be used, the performance measures or metrics of outputs and outcomes, the resources to be used as well as identify who will accomplish each activity or strategy, set a target deadline, and a final deadline to complete each task. This can be done in narrative format or using a table or spreadsheet to track the work and noting when tasks are completed. Fellowship applicants seeking funding for book projects sometimes incorporate the work plan and timeline into their chapter outlines.