Developing a Long-Term Strategy for External Grants

Applying for external research funding may make sense only a handful of times over the course of an individual faculty member's career. Therefore, I aim to help faculty develop confidence in the process so that they feel prepared when the time is right to apply. In order to ensure both equal access to critical information and tailored information that recognizes faculty members' individual needs, I have prepared a variety of materials designed to help ensure that all faculty receive similar foundational information appropriate to their stage in the process. I have found it most effective to discuss this information in one-on-one settings, rather than presenting it in group workshops. So, whether you are new to the process or well versed, let's meet where you are and discuss how my office can support you. I'm looking forward to our conversations! ~ Tess

In Which Stage Are You?

First step: one-on-one Grants Orientation

This hour-long session focuses on setting priorities for one’s research or creative agenda. I will review 1) my goals for all faculty interested in applying for external funding, which motivate all of my programming and the services I provide, 2) recent grant activity at the college, to provide perspective, 3) internal funding opportunities, 4) the services I can provide in the application process, 5) ways to conceptualize the funding landscape, and 6) near-term recommendations for those considering a grant or fellowship application in the next 2 to 4 years. After that session, faculty will be invited to complete a brief “Top Priority Questionnaire,” which I will use as a starting point for our next session, a one-on-one External Grant Planning session.

Second step: one-on-one External Grants Planning

In this session, we discuss your research interests in depth, your top priority projects, and your anticipated funding needs. We discuss possible funders and begin to identify the best fits. We begin to lay out possible goals for a future grant application (in 1 to 5 years), keeping in mind that resubmissions will likely be necessary, as well as discuss activities that might help you become more competitive for those funders. We will discuss 12 strategic activities in which faculty can engage to become more competitive for grants and fellowships, to help faculty begin planning a long “runway” toward a grant or fellowship application and develop clarity on how various strategic activities can be incorporated over time to increase the competitiveness of their future application. The ultimate goal is for faculty to develop confidence that taking one’s time, engaging in these strategic activities and being persistent will lead to success.

Let’s sit down together so that I can share a variety of resources that exist, including several “curated lists” in our grants funding database (Pivot) that feature funding options I have hand-selected for CC faculty, a spreadsheet of recently funded grants compiled by ~100 peer institutions that has been sorted by discipline, and lists of residential US and international fellowships that can be reviewed for inspiration.

In some situations – for example, if you have a project that needs to take place in a particular geographic region, or if you have several possible research or creative projects – it may be worthwhile to learn the tips and tricks of the College’s Pivot grants database. Let’s discuss!

First, let’s focus on you. Let’s discuss the kinds of projects you are interested in pursuing at this point in your career and what inspires you about these projects. If you’re not entirely sure yet – that’s great. The goal would be to just get the juices flowing, and I could share some funding options as we brainstorm. Then, with a few funding options in mind, we can discuss a variety of strategic activities in which you can engage to become more competitive. The ultimate goal is for you to develop confidence that taking your time to hone in on the right project, engaging in these strategic activities and being persistent will lead to success. 

Let’s discuss your project and the funder’s program guidelines to assess whether this particular funder is the right fit for your project. If it is a good fit, we will discuss strategic activities in which you can engage to become more competitive for that particular funder, as well as the timing that would allow you to prepare the most competitive proposal. We will discuss the range of resources that exist to support your application – any resources that the funder offers (see the Advice on Key Funders page), access to sample applications, the College’s SEGway program, and in some cases webinars geared for liberal arts faculty – and discuss if, when and how it makes sense to reach out to the Program Officer. If it isn’t a good fit, we will discuss other funding options (see Answer #2 above). The ultimate goal is for you to develop confidence that taking your time, engaging in these strategic activities and being persistent will lead to success.

If you are confident that the funder is the right fit for your project, you may be curious about the Nuts and Bolts of the application process. How far in advance should we begin working together? What "homework" should we both complete before starting the process? What platforms should we use to share documents? What are the typical proposal components and who takes the lead on which documents? How should we approach the online portal? With whom should we discuss support for your proposal? How will the process change in the case of collaborative proposals? What resources (webinars, checklists, sample proposals, individuals) are available to support this process? Sometimes we discuss these areas informally over the course of working on an application, but some faculty find it helpful to discuss these elements in advance.

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Now Let's Connect!

Whether you have a quick question or want to dig in, please reach out anytime. I have set aside Tuesday afternoons for "drop-in" office hours (in person or via zoom) and Wednesday & Thursday afternoons for one-on-one conversations with faculty.

Quick question?

Ready to meet?

Schedule a meeting on Calendly (Wed. 2-5 p.m., Thurs. 2-5 p.m.)  

I'm looking forward to working with you! ~ Tess

Report an issue - Last updated: 03/02/2022