The purpose of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (OSPR) is to help Governors State University (GSU) faculty and staff achieve success in their research and other grant-related endeavors.
Our newsletter helps keep faculty, students, and community partners informed of up-to-date news and information related to currently funded projects and the ongoing quest to secure grants and discover funding opportunities.
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Donor's Forum is an organization devoted to promoting philanthropy and a strong nonprofit sector in Illinois.It offers a variety of resources and services to its members, such as workshops, newsletters, and networking opportunities.
Although most services are free to its members, the Donor’s Forum makes some resources, such as the Donor’s Forum Library and Philanthropy Centers, free to nonmembers as well.
For individuals and nonprofit organizations looking for Illinois-based grants, funders, and potential donors, up-to-date and detailed information can be found online using Donor’s Forum’s Illinois Funding Source This unique and searchable database is available, free of charge, to members and through subscription to nonmembers.
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Institutional Review Board News
Congratulations to all the faculty members who recently received University Research Grant awards. Please remember that this year, release of your URG funding will be contingent upon review of your proposals by the GSU Institutional Review Board. If you received funding for a project that you know will involve the collection of data from or about human subjects (or if it involves research with animals), please be sure to prepare an IRB proposal. Contact Chip Coldren (ext. 4390) or Becky Nugent (ext. 2105) if you have questions about this.
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Grant Resources and Tips for Grant Submission
Getting funding isn’t easy. The Donor’s Forum has created a Grantseeker’s Toolbox that is available online, free of charge, to help individuals and nonprofit organizations learn about the process of obtaining a grant. The application includes practical tips, clearly delineates steps in the process, and outlines available resources to help make your grant seeking a success.
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Since the beginning of the year, GSU has submitted approximately 19 new or continuing grant applications.
Principal Investigators, grant titles, and agencies are summarized below.
- Conversing Contemporary Sculpture, United States Steel Corporation
- Distribution of Rack Cards and Purchase of Lightbox Space, Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Recording the Past; Accessing the Future, Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board
- Illinois Arts Council Program Grant, Illinois Arts Council
- Phototoxic and Photoallergic Contact Dermatitis
- Nanoparticulated Antibacterial Photodynamic Therapy, National Institutes of Health
- Developing Curriculum for Role-Based Access Control and Segregation of Duties for a Large Enterprise System Software Environment, National Science Foundation
- Make Life Better! Workshop Program, WalMart Foundation
- Nurse Faculty Loan Program, Health Resources and Services Administration
- Preschool for All Recompetition, Illinois State Board of Education
- Prevention Initiative, Illinois State Board of Education
- Nicor Energy Efficiency Rebate Program, Nicor
- Public Sector Electric Efficiency Grant Application, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
- Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students, Health Resources and Services Administration
- Extending the Capacity for Health Disparities Research, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
- Feasibility Studies for Collaborative Interaction for Minority Institution/Cancer Center Partnership, National Cancer Institute
- Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Boot Camp, Coleman Foundation
- Public Assistance Grant, Illinois Emergency Management Agency
- Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities, US Department of Education
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Principal Investigator (PI) Profiles
Dr. Linda F. Samson, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, has been a prolific and successful grant writer. We recently asked her a number of questions about mastering the grant-seeking process.
Q: You have been very successful at obtaining large, multimillion dollar grants—for example, a Centers of Excellence Grant awarded to CHHS in 2003; a Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions grant funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities commencing September, 2006; and most recently the Health Care Jobs for Chicago Southland grant funded by the Department of Labor in 2010. How did you get to this stage? Did you start with smaller grants? Did you start as Co-Principal Investigator (PI)?
A: I was very fortunate to start my research career at an institution that strongly supported development of research teams. Much of my earlier work was built through collaboration with a variety of stakeholders. That strategy was the way in which the largest grants at GSU have been developed. Teams developed the concepts and the strategies. The difference between serving as a PI and a Co-PI is often the publication record. I have been fortunate over my career to be widely published. In some cases that publication record is what has made me the logical choice to be PI. Now with the multiple PI mechanism at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are opportunities to build the scholarship records of more junior faculty who may not yet have the scholarship/publication records.
One of the other key strategies for becoming successful really revolves around volunteering to serve as a reviewer for grant programs that you are interested in. Reviewers learn how the agencies evaluate grants and the interpretations placed on the published guidelines. Serving as a reviewer allows you to write better and more competitive grant applications.
Q: No one gets all the grants they apply for. What did you learn from the grants you did not get?
A: The biggest lesson from grants not funded is the critique received from the reviewers. Very often that critique provides the feedback to allow the writer to be more competitive in a resubmission or to redirect the effort to another more appropriate funding body.
I think we all learned a lot in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant funding process, particularly from the “grand” NIH applications. The lesson is that you always keep your ideas and unsuccessful applications on “the shelf” since you never know when you can retool them to be successful. Many of the funded projects in that effort used work that teams had put together over years, but had never been able to get funded. They dusted off the applications, updated the references, validated the methodology, and submitted successful large applications.
Q: What advice do you have for young faculty researchers who are trying to obtain funding?
A: The biggest advice is to develop a research team composed of diverse individuals who share your research interests. In this day and age, the more cross-disciplinary or interdisciplinary the team, the more likely you are to succeed.
Once you have a group to brainstorm and work with, look for funding for pilot projects. Most large grants require preliminary data. Use small grants such as GSU Foundation grants or professional association planning grants to collect the pilot data so that you can clearly demonstrate the validity of what you want to study.
Finally, don’t forget to publish, publish, and publish some more. Many times it is easy to do things and fail to submit for peer review. That action may make or break your research career.
Q: How important would you rank networking in your field and with granting agencies — as compared to development of specific research knowledge and expertise — to obtaining grants?
A: Networking in your field is always important; in some cases grants that are more like contracts go to those people with whom an agency has a reputation.
However, in the current era of concern about procurement processes and efforts for Federal and State “transparency” in government, it is unclear what role networking and knowing people in high places will bring to the research effort.
Q: What is your projection regarding the availability of research and program grant funding from the federal government for the next 3-5 years?
A: Although I believe we will continue to see increased competition, I don’t see Federal grants going away. There is already increased attention at NSF and in funding for STEM disciplines.
I do believe that the Department of Education grant programs will probably change as funding priorities change, just like the cancellation of the FIPSE call this year and the limitations in calls for the TRIO programs.
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Earlier this year, James R. “Chip” Coldren, Jr., Ph.D., assumed responsibility for the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research.
His goals for this office are: 1) improve the level of assistance and support regarding external funding proposal development across the colleges; 2) continue providing workshops and faculty development opportunities regarding proposal development; and 3) strengthen the grant accounting function.
You will be able to read about the exciting improvements and changes he makes to this office in future editions of this newsletter as well on OSPR’s webpage.
As we transition from old to new, please direct all forms, proposals, reports, and questions to Chip:
James R. “Chip” Coldren, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Academic Program Coordinator for the Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Program, Co-Director of the Center for Law Enforcement Technology Collaboration, IRB Chair, 708.534.4390, firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Web at:
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