Dedicate time to reading about the most recent research in your field. When confronted with the ever-evolving world of research, it is essential to stay up-to-date on trends in your area. Spend time conducting a literature review targeting projects related to your research question(s). Reviewing preprints and journal publications provides insight into your field's trajectory. Take time to parse findings and reflect on how new information or data can inform your own developing hypothesis. As you are reading, note relevant sources of funding; this may direct you to funding opportunities for your own work.
Read up on funding trends. Utilize publically-searchable online resources that detail recently funded research. As you peruse the federal funding landscape, note new funding opportunities that align with your research goals and become familiar with funding agencies of interest. Agencies' websites offer a wealth of information such as the organization's mission, goals, funding priorities, program details, policies, online libraries, and agency news.
As you narrow down your plans for proposal submission, it is highly recommended to engage in a dialogue with your program officer (for advice on navigating this conversation, revisit "Communicating with your Program Officer"). Your targeted literature review over the summer can provide a rich context for this discussion. If a foundation opportunity has piqued your interest, contact the experts at IU Foundation Relations. For additional tips on navigating the funding landscape, including links to online resources, revisit the August 2017 issue of the Narrative, "Are you proposing last year's idea?"
Gather, analyze and prioritize preliminary data. Insufficient preliminary data is often a red flag. A lack of initial evidence can cause your project to appear risky, potentially hurting your proposal's feasibility score. Depending on your current and previous research activities, it may be beneficial to conduct preliminary experiments to support the larger project you propose. An experiment is appropriate for some projects, but in other cases, preliminary data doesn't need to be primary data. Relevant secondary data could be sufficient and available to you in an existing dataset or database. Depending on your area of research, take pause before reinventing the wheel and investigate if key data is already available to you. When you're presenting data in your proposal, consider what is likely to be deemed sufficient by the reviewer. Including an overabundance of data with irrelevant information may diminish your score.
Be proactive in your communications and requests for research and proposal support. Begin pertinent conversations with other researchers, contact campus resources, and reach out to relevant external organizations. Here are some ideas on where start:
- Resources for Research Collaboration: Collaborative research has become increasingly attractive to funding agencies. If the complexity of your research question can be more aptly investigated with a team, IU has various resources available on campus and online. In addition to resources included in the previous issue of the PDS Narrative, you can browse the expertise of faculty on the IU Expert page.
- Contact subject experts for peer review: Investigate and line up individuals willing to review your proposal draft. Feedback from colleagues within your field as well as outside of your area of research can offer an invaluable outside perspective, strengthening your writing and research plan.
- Broader Impacts: Become familiar with local broader impact resources related to your research.
- Submit a PDS service request for proposal development support: The professionals in Proposal Development Services specialize in the craft of grantsmanship. To maximize the competitiveness of IU Bloomington proposals for external funding, PDS customizes services to the individual needs of the faculty member. To submit a request for support, download and complete the service in-take form.
Giving up on a rejected submission? Not so fast. Though a rejection may sting at first, this may be an opportunity for resubmission. With reviewers' comments and program officer's notes in hand, you may be well-situated to thoughtfully revise your proposal. Take time over your summer to carefully consider how to integrate these recommendations to improve and reframe your project design as necessary.
Catch up on past issues of the PDS Narrative.
These additional topics may be particularly useful to review over the summer
- Optimizing your biographical sketch: Reflect on your recent accomplishments and update your biosketch. Include relevant projects, publications, changes in appointment or status, honors, service, research support, and consider how recent career or research-related developments can strengthen your personal statement as it relates to your research objectives. Imagine how convenient it will be when you're gathering the final components for submission and your biosketch is up-to-date and ready to go!
- Building a timeline for developing funding proposals: Missing out on a great funding opportunity because of a missed deadline can be a tragic experience. Be proactive as you approach future proposals by reviewing the internal and external processes involved in submitting your proposal. A visual map or outline will keep you on target.