GrantWeek from the Grants Resource Center

August 13, 2012

Welcome to Washington: Final Plans for GRC Conference

GRC is preparing for three days of information sharing, strategizing, and relationship building during the External Funding Conference, which will be held August 19-22 at the Sofitel Lafayette Square in Washington, DC. More than 100 participants will take part in-person. Members who must remain on campus are encouraged to register to join a live web broadcast of all 24 sessions.

In addition to the formal programming, a number of networking events will provide attendees with opportunities to meet with program officers, reviewers, and potential collaborators from organizations throughout the country.

GRC is pleased to recognize the support of two long-time partners — Evisions, the developer of Cayuse products, and InfoReady Corporation, the provider of In4Grants — which will host networking events the evenings of August 19 and August 21. InfoReady will also sponsor web broadcasts of strategies for positioning principal investigators, by Northern Illinois University’s David Stone, and Jean Feldman’s update from the National Science Foundation Policy Office. Evisions will sponsor the web broadcast update on National Institutes of Health funding for non-research-intensive institutions, as well as the conference keynote address on federal support for workforce development, which is offered at no charge to all GRC and AASCU members.

Staff will have limited access to e-mail and phone messages throughout the conference. Members who have an urgent request during that time should call the Sofitel at 202.730.8800 and ask to be connected to Allyson Lords at the GRC registration desk. Monitor the @GRC_News Twitter feed for live updates from conference sessions, and watch for additional coverage in GrantWeek, which will return August 27.

GRC Recognizes New Advisory Board Members

GRC is pleased to recognize members of its 2012-13 advisory board. Two advisors will represent each of GRC’s three membership categories:

Pat Gibbs, director of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Contracts at Elizabeth City State University (NC), and Linda Marston, director of grants and sponsored programs at Springfield College (MA), will represent members with a full-time enrollment (FTE) equivalent of under 5,000 students (Category A).

Joan West, director of the Office of Research, Grants, and Contracts at the University of Tennessee at Martin, and Carol Darstein, director of pre-award and contract services at Buffalo State College, will represent members with an FTE of 5,000 to 10,000 students (Category B).

Tim Atkinson, assistant provost and director of sponsored programs at the University of Central Arkansas, and Linda Patton, director of the Office of Extramural Funding Opportunities at California State University Fullerton, will represent members with an FTE over 10,000 students (Category C).

Each year, the GRC executive director appoints two additional advisors whose research and sponsored programs perspective and field experience position them to represent the GRC membership at-large. This year’s appointees are Jack Blazyk, associate dean for research at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Syd Conner, information specialist in the University of Southern Mississippi’s sponsored programs administration.

Advisors serve as a critical link between the GRC membership and staff. Members attending the 2012 External Funding Conference are encouraged to meet with their category’s representatives throughout the conference, and to take part in advisor-moderated lunch discussions on August 21. Advisors will provide feedback and recommendations to GRC staff during the August 22 board meeting.

USDA Research Initiative Garners Support

With a focus on “feeding America and the world” through better research policies, researchers, farmers, associations, and private sector partners have joined to form Supporters of Agricultural Research (SOAR). The group defines itself as a non-partisan, science-based coalition advocating for competitive, multidisciplinary grants to solve agriculture-related challenges.

Calling for greatly increased funding for competitive agricultural research grants, SOAR hopes to adapt the National Institutes of Health’s success with grant-funded biomedical innovation to the agriculture sector. The primary focus is the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

SOAR objects to AFRI’s FY 12 appropriation of $264 million, an amount far below the $700 million authorized by Congress for the initiative’s FY 08 creation, and just a small fraction of the $4 billion requested by FY 12 grant applicants. In spite of budget shortfalls, the initiative is “drawing scientists from far outside the traditional world of agriculture while [encouraging] veterans in the field to pursue innovations at the cutting edge,” according to SOAR members. Supporters have identified six immediate priorities for AFRI grant competitions:

  • Keeping American agriculture competitive while ending world hunger
  • Improving nutrition and ending childhood obesity
  • Improving food safety
  • Securing America’s energy future and a vibrant bio-based economy
  • Ensuring American farmers are adapting to changing growing conditions
  • Cultivating a dynamic workforce prepared to address complex challenges that can’t be foreseen today

In its reporting on the July 25, 2012 webcast that marked SOAR’s official launch, the Consortium of Social Science Associations described the view of William Danforth, chancellor emeritus of Washington University, that USDA needs to be able to “see the best proposals, judge them, and pick the best of the best,” just as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation have been able to with funding requests in the disciplines they support.

USDA has requested $325 million in FY 13 funding for AFRI, which would be an increase of $60.5 million over FY 12. The request includes an increase of $30 million for the alternative and renewable energy research initiative; $3.7 million for research to address the adaptation of production systems to climate variables; $7.2 million for international food security to expand research, education, and extension efforts on sustainable plant and animal production systems and plant and animal diseases that threaten public health and agricultural production; $2.2 million for an integrated food safety research program to minimize antibiotic resistance transmission through the food chain and minimize microbial food safety hazards of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables; $7.2 million in nutrition and obesity prevention research; $5.2 million for the NIFA Fellows program for graduate students; and an increase of $3.2 million for AFRI’s foundational research programs.

Foundation Center Expands Resources

Every applicant for a foundation grant is aware of the extraordinary impact of Bill and Melinda Gates. One of the philanthropers’ many recent initiatives is The Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage the affluent to donate the majority of their wealth to high-impact causes. To understand the potential of this movement, consider that all U.S. grantmaking foundations combined claim about $646 billion in assets and give $47 billion annually, while Giving Pledge participants alone hold roughly $400 billion in assets and promise to contribute about $200 billion available to philanthropic causes over time. The Giving Pledge website identifies the participants and their joint mission, but detailed information has been limited.

Now, through its Glasspockets initiative, the Foundation Center has assembled a collection of information much more useful to grantseekers. The Eye on the Giving Pledge lists the net worth, industry and foundation affiliations, giving interests, and trends related to the 81 individuals and families participating in the Giving Pledge.

This information corral brings much-needed data and transparency to one component of the philanthropic sector, but it’s just the brightest in a constellation of resources maintained by the Foundation Center:

  • The Foundation Center website itself cross-posts news items from a range of sources, while providing a cost-free suite of services and a collection of essential information not available elsewhere. Located under the “Gain Knowledge” tab is a series of reports, most updated semi-annually, that provide critical knowledge to organizations seeking private-sector support. The Foundation Center website is also the best source of details on training events and access to regionally-based resources.
  • Philanthropy News Digest(PND) provides snapshots of modern philanthropy every weekday. The activities of the federal government are well-covered by almost every media outlet round-the-clock, but PND is one of precious few frequently-updated resources on the world of private giving.
  • Beyond its Eye on the Giving Pledge, Glasspockets also brings transparency to philanthropy writ large by tracking the practices of foundations big and small according to 23 criteria, including disclosure of financial information and facility with various communication channels. Grantseekers can review foundations’ individual profiles and analyze the data compiled in frequent reports and factsheets.
  • GrantSpace is a nonprofit learning community full of tools for finding funding, managing nonprofit organizations, and engaging in professional development. With an emphasis on interaction, GrantSpace also hosts live chats and podcasts (most of them archived) with funding experts.

Contact your GRC liaison team for assistance with foundation funding searches, and submit suggestions for additional private-sector GRC resources to Nicole Hochsprung.

Giving to Education Will Reach New Record in 2013

For months, GRC has reported on the incomplete recovery of the education sector from the recession. In its latest Fundraising Index, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) announces some positive movement at last: college and university giving experienced a 4.9 percent growth rate during the 2011-12 academic year, and an additional 5.9 percent increase is anticipated for the year ahead.

CASE president John Lippincott says of the figures, “If [these projections] hold true, giving will have reached or exceeded pre-recession records when the books are closed on 2011-12 and will rise to a new record in 2012-13.” All types of higher education institutions are poised for success, but the picture looks brightest for public colleges and universities, which are reporting a 5.1 percent increase for 2011-12 and predicting 6.5 percent growth in 2012-13.

The CASE Fundraising Index, which was launched in 2008, is based on data provided by more than 2,000 member institutions each July. The full results are available online.



In this GrantWeek Edition

  • Welcome to Washington: Final Plans for GRC Conference
  • GRC Recognizes New Advisory Board Members
  • HRSA Seeks Research Proposals
  • NSF Invites RAPID Proposals on Japanese Tsunami
  • USDA Research Initiative Garners Support
  • Foundation Center Expands Resources
  • Giving to Education Will Reach New Record in 2013

NSF Invites RAPID Proposals on Japanese Tsunami

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Cyberinfrastructure and the directorates for biological sciences, geosciences, engineering, mathematical and physical sciences, and computer and information science and engineering are seeking proposals for research related to the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) are available for investigators studying the potential threat to the North American west coast from debris fields associated with these Japanese disasters.

In an August 9, 2012 dear colleague letter encouraging proposals, NSF cites data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicating that nearly five million tons of wreckage flowed into the Pacific Ocean following the earthquake and tsunami, and that one to two million tons of debris will arrive at the North American coast by late-2014. This is the sort of disaster situation, requiring quick-response research, that the RAPID funding mechanism was established to accommodate.

Because the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are regarded as an unforeseen, unique opportunity to advance basic knowledge, the RAPID mechanism is considered appropriate, and NSF’s typical proposal submission protocols do not apply. Following discussion with the relevant program director, applicants should submit a two- to five-page project description justifying a maximum of $200,000 over a one-year project period. Proposals are likely to undergo only internal review.

HRSA Seeks Research Proposals

Colleges and universities know the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) best as the primary federal sponsor of health professions programs and community health partnerships. The agency also provides tightly-banked streams of support for applied research projects that help to advance its mission. Currently, the research division of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Bureau’s Office of Epidemiology and Research is seeking proposals for translational research and data analysis in several high-priority areas of healthcare services, preventive care, and early intervention identified by its cross-sector advisory group.

Six research project grants will provide up to $900,000 each over three years for investigations that promise to improve health service and delivery for mothers and children, particularly children with special healthcare needs. An additional $1 million is available to support 10 single-year awards of up to $100,000 each for projects analyzing existing HRSA maternal and child health data. Applications are due by September 12, 2012.

For both types of awards, the dissemination plan is a critical component of the application. Applicants are expected to convey the regional and/or national results anticipated from the project; at least three peer-reviewed publications are expected for a research grant, and at least two peer-reviewed publications are expected from a secondary data analysis grant. All proposals should address critical maternal and child health issues such as public health systems and infrastructure, health disparities, quality of care, and health promotion for mothers and children. There is a particular emphasis on proposals that support a “life course perspective,” which HRSA is currently integrating into MCH’s strategic directions.

For additional information, contact program officer Robin Harwood at 301.443.2207.










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