Grant News, July 2017

Latest News

NEH Humanities Summer Stipends Grant 

NIH Abandons Plan to Limit Per-Person Grant Awards

NEH Webinar and Workshops Supporting Humanities Public Engagement

Recent Submissions & Awards

Grants 101

The Benefits of Volunteering on a Review Panel

Participant Support Costs: What’s Allowable?

UWL Grants

UWL Faculty Development Grants

UWL International Program Development Fund

UWL International Scholarship Grant

UWL Visiting Scholar/ Artist of Color Program

External Grants

Grants listed below require the institutional GRC log-in to access. If you need the GRC log-in, please see the newsletter in your UWL inbox or contact ORSP.

Arts / Humanities / International

American Council of Learned Societies
American Musicological Society
Council for International Exchange of Scholars
German Marshall Fund of the United States
National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Gallery of Art
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Russell Sage Foundation
Tinker Foundation

Education / Economic and Community Development

American Educational Research Association
American Institute for Economic Research
Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, Inc.
Grant (William T.) Foundation
 Koch (Charles G.) Charitable Foundation
Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
Sociological Initiatives Foundation
Spencer Foundation
State Justice Institute
U.S. Department of Education
Health
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation
American Society of Clinical Oncology
A.S.P.E.N. Rhoads Research Foundation
Elsa U. Pardee Foundation
Foundation for Physical Therapy
Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
 National Institutes of Health
Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America Foundation
Retirement Research Foundation

Science / Technology / Engineering / Math

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
National Research Council
National Science Foundation
Sloan (Alfred P.) Foundation
U.S. Department of Defense

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Latest News

NEH Humanities Summer Stipends Program

The NEH Summer Stipends program supports individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. Recipients usually produce articles, monographs, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources. Stipends support full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two months. Projects are supported at any stage of development.

Applicants must be nominated by their institution, and there is a limit of two applicants per institution. Interested individuals should complete a UWL notice of interest (NOI) form and submit it according to the deadline listed below. Before submitting the NOI form, applicants should discuss their project with their department chair and college dean. Submit the completed NOI form to grants@uwlax.edu by the deadline below; include your department chair and college dean in the CC line. Research & Sponsored Programs will facilitate review of NOIs, with anticipated notification of nomination by August 18, 2017. Please contact our office (grants@uwlax.edu) with questions.

Deadlines: UWL notice of interest form (required) due to grants@uwlax.edu – August 4, 2017
NEH proposal submission deadline – September 27, 2017 (annually reoccurring)

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NIH Abandons Plan to Limit Per-Person Grant Awards

Recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposed a metric, the Grant Support Index (GSI), that would limit total grant support per researcher (to approximately three major NIH awards at any one time). The GSI would have assigned a value to the researcher’s grants based on type, complexity, and size. One reason for proposing the GSI was to create a level playing field for young researchers who are in competition with experienced, senior researchers for the same pots of money. A second reason that NIH wanted to implement the GSI was due to recently collected data showing a generally lower scientific output among researchers/research groups with multiple concurrent grants (“Implementing Limits on Grant Support to Strengthen the Biomedical Research Workforce”).

However, there was a fair amount of protest, mainly from senior researchers and members of NIH’s advisory board, over the proposed GSI. NIH’s director, Francis S. Collins, initially stated that he was in favor of the GSI based on the data provided, but now he has now shifted his perspective, stating that “outside analyses raised doubts about that conclusion. In addition, he said, NIH officials heard questions about how exactly to measure a three-grant equivalency in situations such as team projects. And, he said, critics questioned whether such a ‘formula-driven approach’ fit with the NIH’s longstanding commitment to merit-based grant awards.” Instead, NIH plans to go forward with another solution, the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, where young scientists will have more opportunities to receive funding without penalizing senior researchers.

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education 


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NEH Webinar and Workshops Supporting Humanities Public Engagement

NEH is funding a series of workshops to help humanities scholars write for a broader audience. The workshops, recently highlighted in Inside Higher Ed, will be hosted by Object Lessons, an essay and book series published by The Atlantic and Bloomsbury. The workshops will be held in four locations selected to complement humanities conferences: in early November 2017 around the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts conference in Tempe, AZ; in late November 2017 around the American Anthropological Association conference in Washington, DC; in January 2018 around the Modern Language Association convention in New York City; and in March 2018 around the Association for Writers and Writing Programs in Tampa, FL. To read the guidelines and apply, visit the Object Lessons website. Participants will receive a stipend to offset the costs of travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals during the institute. Participants who have already planned to travel to the concurrent conference can use the stipend in tandem with, or in place of, other institutional funding.

The workshops tie thematically with NEH’s Public Scholars grant program, which supports well-researched books in the humanities designed to reach a broad audience. The deadline for the next Public Scholars program is February 7, 2018.

Sources: GRC Grantweek and Object Lessons

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Recent Submissions


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Recent Awards

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UWL Grants

UWL Faculty Development Grant

Program contact: UWL Center for Advancing Teaching & Learning (CATL)

Program summary: Faculty Development Grants support the professional development of faculty and instructional academic staff and projects intended to improve teaching and learning. There are three types of grants:

1. Teaching Innovation Grant: These grants support instructors who want to expand their pedagogical knowledge and expertise. Funds support small-scale projects in which instructors try innovative teaching practices and approaches in their classroom. The innovation can be something completely new, invented by the applicant, or a practice new to the applicant even if the practice itself is not a “new” one in the field of teaching.

2. Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Grant (SoTL): SoTL grants support projects intended to advance teaching through scholarly inquiry into student scholarship, teaching, and learning. Projects should 1) Focus explicitly on observed student learning “problems” that reflect a gap between what instructors expect students to learn and their actual performance; 2) propose a study to investigate the causes and possible solutions to the problem; 3) present systematic evidence that explains the problem and how to improve student learning; 4) culminate in a scholarly product that can be peer reviewed.

3. Professional Development Grant: These grants support instructors to develop expertise or projects that enhance the quality of undergraduate and/or graduate academics at UWL. The grants may support activities during the academic year and summer. Projects may involve multiple applicants. Professional development projects typically are one of two types: 1) short-duration projects (e.g., attendance at a workshop on teaching in one’s discipline); or 2) longer, ongoing projects (e.g., participation in a faculty seminar for a semester) that expand the training of the applicant in their area of expertise, and can be translated to the classroom or other areas of undergraduate and/or graduate academics.

Deadline: September 22, 2017 at noon

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UWL International Program Development Fund

Program contact: Lema Kabashi (lkabashi@uwlax.edu)

Program summary: The grant program focuses on the development of faculty- and staff-led programs (e.g., scoping visits) or faculty exchanges.

Deadline: October 2, 2017

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UWL International Scholarship Grant

Program contact: Provost Office

Program summary: The program supports internationalization of the university through research and other scholarly projects that are international in scope and have the potential to transform the applicant’s research. One of the primary outcomes associated with this program is the support of travel costs to present research at international venues. However, UWL employees may submit proposals associated with conducting scholarly endeavors abroad and/or enhancing their professional development in a manner that maximizes the interaction between faculty/staff and the host culture/community. Proposals must be approved by the department and dean and demonstrate that the university will realize tangible benefits.

Deadline: October 2, 2017

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UWL Visiting Scholar / Artist of Color Program

Program contact: Provost Office

Program summary: The Visiting Scholar/Artist of Color Program supports bringing four or more scholars/artists of color to campus each year. The purpose of a larger number of shorter visits (rather than semester-long programs) is to increase the program’s visibility on campus and increase the potential representation of individuals across the university. Members of UWL faculty and academic staff may nominate individuals to visit campus during the academic year. A primary goal is significant interaction with students as well as faculty and staff by the visiting scholar/artist. Travel costs and honoraria may be requested in the grant.

Deadline: July 10, 2017 (for fall semester scholars)

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Grants 101

The Benefits of Volunteering on a Review Panel

Recently, UWL hosted National Science Foundation (NSF) Program Officer Dr. Kathleen McCloud, who discussed grant opportunities for Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUI). In her presentation, Dr. McCloud discussed grant writing best practices (e.g., reading the solicitation, contacting the program officer, having someone with grant experience read the proposal before submission). One additional suggestion that Dr. McCloud made that I want to discuss further in this Grants 101 is volunteering to be an NSF peer reviewer. The benefits of becoming a NSF reviewer include “gain[ing] firsthand knowledge of the peer review process; learn[ing] about common problems with proposals; discover[ing] strategies to write strong proposals; and, through serving on a panel, meet[ing] colleagues and NSF program officers managing programs related to your interests” (NSF). NSF states that the “success of the peer review process…depends on the willingness of qualified reviewers like you to share your time and expertise.”

To gain some insight into this experience, I interviewed Associate Professor Taviare Hawkins (Physics), who recently served as a peer reviewer for an NSF panel. Hawkins had an interest in targeting her proposals for a particular panel. The first step was to talk to the program officer of the directorate and program where she thought her own work would fit in order to learn more about the types of projects deemed favorable by peer reviewers, as well as seeing firsthand what a well-written proposal looks like.

Hawkins’s research focuses on the interdisciplinary problem of determining the mechanical (bending) properties of protein filaments inside cells, the microtubules. She and her collaborators “want to quantify their flexibility in various conditions, in the presence of drugs and/or other associated proteins.” Her intended research for NSF funding focuses on post-translational modification (PTM). To summarize, Hawkins explains that “PTMs are markers of microtubule stability in cells. They are important for microtubule-based signaling, and have been shown to affect the binding of microtubule-associated proteins to tubulin; however, there is a gap in our understanding as to whether tubulin PTMs affects the mechanical properties of tubulin dimer and ultimately the microtubule polymer. Through a combined experimental and modeling approaches, we would like to uncover the mechanisms by which PTMs can alter the mechanical properties of tubulin and ultimately microtubules.”

While Hawkins had previously served on grant review panels for private foundations or university-wide programs, her experiences were limited to one-day panels that required a lot of fast-paced work to review, discuss, and decide which grants were worthy of funding. For NSF, Hawkins was required to read and score the applications (up to 6 for her group) before meeting with the panel to discuss. While every panel has its own rhythm, Hawkins quickly noticed that the NSF panel was different from the previous ones she had served on. Specifically, 1) since the directorate was multidisciplinary, she was given the opportunity to access all the proposals to see which ones she felt comfortable reviewing; 2) the process the panel used to decide on which grants should be discussed and reviewed by the larger group was based on a minimum threshold score by the initial reviewing group, and then only the ones which met the minimum would be presented, discussed, and reviewed by the entire group; and 3) the panel, made up of many experienced reviewers, used an “intangible formula” to identify if the narrative had the “ingredients” of a successful proposal.

For Hawkins, the benefits of the NSF panel review experience included gaining a better understanding of what her NSF program expects and defines as a successful proposal. After her experience, she feels more confident and better prepared to submit a proposal to NSF. Overall, Hawkins believes there is always a lesson to be learned in the panel review, whether you are new to grant writing or are a veteran grant writer.

Hawkins’s last thoughts and recommendations to all grant writers are to: 1) work with the grants office; 2) submit a one-page summary to the program officer to make sure you are writing to the right directorate for your research; 3) identify potential collaborators before you begin writing your grant; and 4) write in a way that is accessible to a larger scientific community (since you never know exactly who will be reading your proposal).

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Participant Support Costs: What’s Allowable?

A common question we receive is how to categorize students who will be working on grant-funded projects, particularly for NSF or NIH grants: “In my budget, should I include students under the ‘Personnel’ or the ‘Participant Support Costs’ section?” The answer is the same as it is for many questions in our office: “It depends.” While the name “participant support costs” suggests that students may naturally fall under this section as they are participating on a grant, agencies have specific definitions and rules about when and where to include students in a budget.

For example, the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) distinguishes participant support costs from student employees as follows:

  • Participant support costs: “direct costs such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with NSF-sponsored conferences or training projects”
  • Student employees: “Student employees are compensated for services rendered and their level of compensation is tied to the number of hours worked. Participant support costs should be used to defray the costs of students participating in a conference or training activity related to the project.”

As an example, NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduate Research (REU) program is intended to provide educational training experiences for students, and any funds related to their participation should be included in the participant support costs section.

When it comes to budgeting for students on a grant, the answer of where to include them comes down to what their intended role in the project will be: Is their main purpose to participate in an educational/training capacity (as a participant), or to work on the project as a fellow researcher/research assistant (as an employee)? This should inform how their role is written in the application narrative and budget justification. ORSP can help guide how student involvement is described in an application so that students’ roles are clearly defined.

Additional questions about what is and is not allowable under the participant support costs section are included in the source link below. If you have any questions about budgeting for students on your grants, please contact ORSP.

Source: NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter

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