Undergraduate Research Program
Grant Information and Helpful Tips
Listed below is information on Integrating Undergraduate Research into Teacher Education Programs and Related Fields (EDUCATION) Institute
This institute focuses on a team-based approach that consists of a mentor-driven learning experience. Each team works with a mentor to identify ways in which research can be incorporated into education curriculum without too much difficulty. Many examples for integration of research across the curriculum are given and, in many cases, research may come as an enhancement of an assignment in an already existing course, not solely as an additional research course that students may not be able to add into their schedules. The mentor guides teams through the process of identifying goals for their team to ultimately developing action plans to integrate research into existing courses/or even development of new courses if that is the desired goal. An added bonus is that the mentor is readily available for guidance and mentorship after the institute as well. This institute is highly recommended to anyone in the School of Education who is interested in incorporating research into a course and would like to know the best practice for approaching the process.
Listed below are the most notable sessions from the 2018 CUR Dialogues Conference. Some touch on grants that are available and others touch on tips on how to get started.
Engaging Your Dean (Jeffrey Osborn, School of Science, The College of New Jersey).
The College of New Jersey is a public, coeducational university that has a College of Science where they face the challenge of enhancing/building academically excellent programs that are competitive at the national level. Over the past 12 years, School of Science has strategically built significant internal capacity for grant writing that serves to increase awareness of the importance of grant-writing, with the goal of creating opportunities and increasing intellectual vitality. Their intent was to increase proposal submissions and funding for strategic priorities and mission-central initiatives. Following two years of planning, the College of Science gradually added various components over time to grow program and increase participants. These components were divided into the following categories:
- 2006-2012: “Increase awareness of the importance of grant-writing, with the goal of creating opportunities and increasing intellectual vitality.”
- 2012-2015: “Faculty Support and Development of Grant Writing.”
- 2015-2018: “Increased Faculty Engagement and Development in Grant Writing”
Since the initiation of their program, they’ve had an increase in # of proposals submitted. In the 2005-2006 (prior to program initiatives) academic year, a total of 6 proposals were submitted. Following implementation of various strategies and support for faculty grant writing (which relies heavily on involvement by OSRP, the College of Science began to see increase in submissions to 36 submissions by 2013-2014 year and have seen between 25-40 submitted each year since initiation. A great part of their success was attributed to the fact that grant-writing efforts have focused on supporting mission-central projects:
- Providing student scholarships and coordinated support programs to students who are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences and who have high financial need
- Professional development and advancement of women faculty members
- Research awards and major research instrumentation awards to support collaborative faculty-undergraduate research
- Curriculum innovation
Important advice provided by the speaker included the following: “It’s not entirely about the money…it won’t work if it is.” Must be mission-based and provide benefits to the faculty and not just be funding. Work with OSRP to identify appropriate resources and highlight faculty endeavors (success and failures). The deans on campus should be shaking lots of hands to identify funding resources and should provide supportive infrastructure for the programs. Do not be impatient…it takes many years to see results.
NSF S-STEM: (Thomas Kim and Pushpa Ramakrishna, program directors, NSF HER/DUE)
Goals of program: to increase the recruitment, retention, student success, and graduation of low income academically talented students in STEM
Any proposals to increase physics retention are wanted. High area of need.
Important advice: Communication with Program Directors is key to success.
NSF RUI: (Thomas Wenzel, Professor of Chemistry, Bates College, Former President of CUR)
- There is a low number of submissions for NSF RUI (Research at Undergraduate Institutions Program (RUI)
- Program is ideal because it recognizes the pace of research, publication will be slower because working with undergrads and have fewer resources
- Great way to develop and transition to culture of research
- Recognizes projects that are more niche areas, but also significant work.
- Collaborative projects can strengthen applications
- Don’t require preliminary data for proposals.
Important advice: Communication with Program Directors is key to success. Be sure to proofread and include all components as outlined in the proposal guidelines. Avoid the use of jargon.
NEA – National Endowment for the Arts: (Melissa Menzer, Office of Research and Analysis)
- Supports grants nationally for all sorts of art projects
- Dance, visual, music, art agencies, literature projects, education, design, museums.
- Value and impact grants – data methods, $10-$30K matching grant
- Experimental grant – support research of impact of arts on society
- Controlled group needed. $30-$100K, matching grant
- All grantees are required to write a technical paper on their project
- Methodology/findings, will be published on NEA website.
- Matching funds cannot be federal, but can be state (if not originated from Fed)
- Can be income: faculty course releases, faculty time, indirect costs
- Competitive: Success rate 25-30%.
- Our Town Grant Program
- City, rural design
- Two years in duration
- Place-Based programs
- Matching grants from $25k-$200K
- Cultural planning, design, must contribute to improved quality of life in local communities
- Knowledge Building Projects
- Matching grants from $25k-$100K
Take away: This was one of the few art and humanities grant funding programs represented at this conference. While there is a wide range of projects that can be funded under these grants, the stipulations may create a barrier with our university. These are matching grants, so depending on how much you are applying for, the applicant MUST prove they have matching funds from some other entity that is not federally tied.
TRIO: Khadish Franklin, Associate Director, Pell Institute).
- Set of seven programs
- Serve 843,000 students
- Talent search – not as intensive, similar to Upward Bound – pre college
- Educational Opportunity Centers – adult students wanting to enter college
- Help underrepresented students
- Goal to help students to pursue PhD and become faculty
- Has Undergraduate Research opportunity
- Help underrepresented students
- Trio training grants
- Training people on how to manage Trio program grants
- Common to compete for more than one grant/common to get more than one grant.
- Have a clear population of interested parties across the institution
- Involve multiple departments
- A call out for underrepresented students/minority students
- Mix of students
- Need section – use stats about these students. Paint picture that our institution is in desperate need. Schedule meeting with OSRP.
- Objective section: services that we must provide. Setting out matrix for form. What we write, we WILL be held accountable for. No renegotiation in TRIO. Obtainable and ambitious. Be careful about setting quantitative goals (i.e. 1-2 percent not good enough, 50 percent too high).
- Plan of operation – here is what we want to do and this is how we will do it. Be clear and detailed. Easy points to get if you describe it well.
- Quality of Key Personnel – quality of keepers. Cannot deviate, even if someone leaves. Don’t write the grant if you don’t have the staff. Write the description based on position not a particular person.
- Adequacy of Resources and Budget – every spreadsheet and numbers have to match. First thing they check, if they do not match it will be tossed out. In-kind vs. internal money. Don’t overdo it.
- A composed narrative – all sections must go together
- A call out for underrepresented students/minority students
Raising Donors: How to Get Started in Generating Private Funding for Your URP: (David F. Drakke, Dean and Professor Emeritus, James Madison University)
This session went through a step-by-step guide on how to approach donors. Asking for funding from a private donor is different than applying for a grant. OSRP should be involved. The case statement should be easy to read, concise and tailored to the donor. Be very clear on your request, give specific timelines and mention who/what this will go towards. Donors like to see a clear objective and a well thoughtout plan.
ATRD and ISD Programs at the U.S. Department of Education: (Timothy Duvall, Program Officer, Department of Education, OPE/IFLE)
- Timothy presented information on Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) fellowships, which are monies allocated to departments that demonstrate the ability to teach advanced levels of less common languages abroad.
- He also presented information on the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) grant program, which helps programs improve international relations via language studies and study abroad.
Optimizing the Working Relationships between Faculty Researchers and Sponsored Programs Staff: (Linda Freed, Consultant, and Franci Farnsworth, Associate Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs, Middlebury College).
- Linda and Franci presented on the various roles that faculty researchers and sponsored programs staff should have in the funding research process. This handout indicates what these roles look like and how faculty/staff can effectively work together.