Make suggestions to strategically improve the research portions of a grant proposal
The Research Development group (RD) in any organization is mainly tasked with helping scientists and scientific groups reach their research goals through attracting funding and increasing institutional competitiveness. They accomplish this by strategically developing partnerships within their institution and across institutions in addition to establishing and maintaining relationships with funding agencies and sponsors.
Most research institutions, including universities, use RD groups to help them strategically apply for funding so that applications are sent to the appropriate grant agencies and funds are distributed throughout the institution in an efficient manner. While university-wide RD groups are focused on programs and funding efforts across the institution, department-specific RD groups at a university will often engage in developing programs on a smaller scale to help support funding efforts such as writing workshops and are able to help junior faculty find and obtain their first grant.
When RD participates in the development of a large grant, they will likely find themselves providing strategic advice and hands-on support to write and edit portions of the proposal. This job simulation focuses on the grantsmanship aspect of supporting proposal development.
The Process for Supporting Grant Proposal Writing, Editing, and Submission:
When an RD professional helps a PI with the grant proposal process, they may do any of the following:
Once the grant proposal is finalized, the RD professional may also help the PI work with the Research Administration group at their university to get final approval and to submit the proposal.
You are an intern at a state university’s Plant Biology Department Research Development group.
Make edits and suggestions on the research portion of a grant proposal.
Large grant proposals can have research portions of 12 or more pages and contain multiple subsections. For the purposes of this job simulation, you will focus solely on the research portion of a postdoctoral grant application.
Task 1: Review the RFA
Read the RFA for the Life Sciences Research Foundation (LSRF) postdoctoral fellowship, and identify requirements for the submission.
Task 2: Make edits to the proposal
Download a copy of the draft of the research component of the proposal and make trackable edits and/or comments using a word processing program such as Google Docs or Word.
This may not be your area of study, but that’s okay. RD professionals are often asked to review research proposals that cover broad areas of science, and provide input for proposals that are not directly in their field of expertise. Their goal is to help the researchers focus on communicating clearly.
Use the following guide to make edits to the proposal:
If you want more guidance on how to edit the proposal, review the General Resources section below.
For Task 1 – list relevant criteria that you’ll use when editing the grant. For example, here are the relevant portions from the website:
- Three-year fellowships will be awarded on a competitive basis to graduates of medical and graduate schools in the biological sciences holding M.D., Ph.D., D.V.M. or D.D.S. degrees. Awards will be based solely on the quality of the individual applicant’s previous accomplishments, and on the merit of the proposal for postdoctoral research.
- The entire section titled “Research Proposal “
The deliverable for Task 2 is an edited version of the proposal that shows your changes and suggestions/comments.
As an intern, you would likely review your suggestions and comments with your supervisor or mentor before crafting an email to the scientist with your suggested edits. If major revisions are suggested, consider asking for a meeting to continue the revision process.
Skills used to perform this task:
Note: Practice your grantsmanship skills by asking colleagues and faculty if you can review the specific aims of their next grant application. Try reviewing applications from colleagues not in your area of expertise.
Skills used in the Research Development field:
Additional tasks in Research Development:
A professional in the field of Research Development may also perform these tasks:
Learn more about Research Development from the National Organization of Research Development Professionals – NORDP.
Simulation author – Linet Mera, PhD
Simulation vetted by RD professionals at Stanford University