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Grant Writers -Reply William Campbell 05 Jun 1997 07:04 EST

Peter--I frequently write proposals with faculty at my own institution, and
occasionally as a consultant for other groups.  Here's the most important
thing, to my mind: the grantwriter is only part of the team.  Some folks think
they can hand a stack of material to a grantwriter along with a wad of cash and
get back a finished, competetive proposal.  That worked long ago, when the
competition wasn't as stiff, but not much anymore.

I've found that the process works best if I sit with the PI/PD, or even with a
group of folks, and we generate the bones of the proposal together.  I'll ask
leading questions--what's the overall problem this project means to solve, what
are the specific objectives, how will we go about meeting them, and so on.
I'll start writing a timeline and sketching a budget.  Then I'll go away and
write for awhile, reconvene the group, review and correct what I've done so
far, and keep going: how will we evaluate the success of this project and
disseminate the results, how will we spend the money, how will we keep it going
after the grant runs out.  For a lengthy proposal we might meet weekly for
three or four weeks.  This process takes a fair amount of time, but it works.
And it avoids the greatest problem external grantwriters can cause: projects
designed by the grantwriter, not the PI/PD.

Good luck and regards,
Bill Campbell
Director, Grants & Research
University of Wisconsin-River Falls