Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grants administrator = heartbreaker

Research and grant administrators often get a bad rap.  They are considered by many to be inflexible, difficult to negotiate with, and completely obsessed with following rules and regulations.  Today provides one example of why this is necessary.  In reviewing a very large, multi-million dollar grant proposal with multiple subcontractors, I realized that some of the proposed work does not meet the requirements of the Request for Applications (RFA).  The Project Director has only day to fix this problem.  Now, my choices here were to 1) allow it to go in anyway, knowing that it will hurt the application's score and possibly cause it to be rejected or 2) break the hearts of the individuals and organizations involved in the project by letting them know that their really interesting proposed work can't be included in the application.  What did I do in this situation?  (Cue the Mariah Carey song.)  Yes, I decided it was best to be a heartbreaker.  It is my obligation to make sure that every proposal that is submitted by my institution has a chance of getting funded.  I had to tell the group that the sections not following the rules of the RFA had to be changed or removed.  The response was a lot of disappointment, and probably some tears, but having 1 day to try to correct it is better than having no chance of getting funded. 

So again let me reiterate -  READ THE DIRECTIONS!!!  It will save you time, energy, and - yes - even some heartache.

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