Friday, May 31, 2013

A lot can be learned from writing program grants

The funding climate right now is difficult not only for researchers, but also for nonprofits and community organizations.  Funders of community projects are focusing more closely on the potential for a project to continue to make an impact after the money runs out.  In other words, when developing grant proposals for community projects, sustainability is key.  The traditional way of thinking about research proposals is to write a project that will start and finish within the timeframe provided, provide something to publish, and contribute in a meaningful way to the body of knowledge that exists about a topic.  However, there is something to be said about the sustainability of a research program.  Will your project be a "one and done" kind of thing, where you will complete the project and then move on to something else?  Or will it be one piece in an overall plan that will continue to delve deeper beyond the question posed in your hypothesis?  Considering the difficulty that exists in getting funded right now, it is worth it to at least consider describing the possibility for a project to contribute to further knowledge over time.  This type of thinking may help you to show the significance and impact of your project to reviewers. 

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