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This document is a conversion of a presentation given at the Rice University Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position Workshop on October 14-16, 2007. The original presentation was compiled and presented by Rob Raphael (BIOE).

Funding is important

  • You need to be prepared to address the issue in the long run
  • You need more than a great idea
  • You need to understand the logistics
  • You need to persevere

Spirit of the fighting irish

“To everyone who has ever faced adversity, whether in business, professional or personal life. I admire the person who says: Every day someone does something great. Today that person will be me.”

-- Lou Holtz

Writing great grants: a three step recipe

1) choose a significant problem

  • Bonus points if not much work has been done on the problem
  • More bonus points if you have done the important work

2) leave no question that you can accomplish your aims

  • Established track record of publications
  • Clear and convincing preliminary data

3) write a clear, easy to read proposal

  • “Calm down, understand the situation and communicate clearly” – We Were Soldiers

Big hurdles and pitfalls

Navigating the Scylla of building on your accomplishments and the Charybdis of creating new research problems and attacking new research areas, given your situation:

  • Laboratory techniques not yet working
  • Students not yet trained/busy with classes
  • Teaching and other responsibilities
  • Proposing to do too much
  • Not making clear the points and connections that are obvious to you

Ask important questions

  • Do not redo your Ph.D. or postdoc work.
  • Find a substantially new project if your proposal is rejected twice.
  • Read deeply and broadly (several articles a day).
  • Be creative.
  • Do not be afraid to do something really different.
  • Talk to lots of people about research.

Advantages of doing several projects at once

  • Keeps you excited.
  • When one project faces problems, another could be blooming.
  • Increases funding opportunities.
  • Synergy in thinking about different things can suggest novel pathways.
  • Increases your visibility.

But… do not overextend yourself!

“Do one thing and do it better than anyone”

-- Orville Redenbacher

Funding - logistics

  1. Identify a funding agency and learn everything you can about this agency (the web and your colleagues are good sources)
  2. Understand what is the mechanism for submitting a proposal from your institution (“Office of Sponsored Research”)
  3. Develop a time frame for writing and proofreading the proposal

Funding opportunities (1/2)

NIH - www.nih.gov

NSF - www.nsf.gov

Private Foundations

  • Coulter, March of Dimes, and many others

[slide modified from Kinney, Neptune and Wilson]

Funding opportunities (2/2)

  • Office of Naval Research (ONR) and other federal programs

NIDRR - The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

  • Miscellaneous Funding links
  • Industry
    • SBIR mechanism (NSF, NIH)
    • Direct Funding from Companies

[slide modified from Kinney, Neptune and Wilson]

Final do’s and dont’s

  • Do not necessarily assume the person who reviews your grant will be an expert in your area or know why your research is novel

The response to a revised NIH grant is very important. 

  • Never appear to be angry or emotional.  Just stick to the science.  If a reviewer got something wrong (which often happens), just lay out the facts. 
  • This is hard because you have put so much effort into the grant it’s easy to take comments personally
  • Criticisms are of the science, not of you!

Get grants done in advance and have colleagues read them! 

  • Resist the thrill of pulling it off on “third and long”

Do not let funding consume you

  • Your “ growth ” as a researcher is essential
  • Publish, collaborate, discuss your ideas, read, be brave and be prepared to fail
  • Funding is a means to an end, not an end in itself
    • Ignore colleagues who imply otherwise


Raphael Lab

  • Emily, Yong, Ryan, Jeff, Imran, Jenni, Louise

Thanks for Believing in Us!

  • Whitaker Foundation
  • Texas Advanced Technology Program
  • National Organization for Hearing Research
  • NIH NRSA (Greeson, Organ)
  • Keck Center for Computational and Structural Biology
  • DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, 2007 nsf advance workshop: negotiating the ideal faculty position. OpenStax CNX. Feb 01, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10637/1.1
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