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Thoughts on Grant & Grant Partnerships

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Hi everyone!

I try to write between 4-6 grants per year of varying budgets and purposes. Most of the grants I write directly enhance my scholarship, teaching, and service areas – either individually or sometimes all together. I enjoy the writing – I like to use words to create convincing arguments. It's fun. 

Recently, my university's office of research notified myself, my Chair, and my Dean that I'm the only person in my entire college (containing schools of art, music, communications, and theater) that I'm the only one doing grant writing. This was both inspiring and troubling for me to hear. Inspiring because my efforts are recognized. Troubling because no one else in my entire college is doing this.
Consequently, I have a specific reputation for only going solo on grants and not including others...even despite when I ask others to participate, I get shot down. 

So, my first question is – why are so many people not pursuing grants? 

I was interviewed the other day by my university's marketing department for a booklet the put out called 'New Frontiers', which is all about research. One of the questions was "YSU faculty universally agree that the internal University Research Council (URC) grants are harder to win than a massive federal grant. Would you agree with this statement?" I do agree with it...and my agreement with it is punctuated with the fact that I was a recipient of one...which at this point in my career was after receiving other high-value grants. I determined that the URC grants, while specifically designed to kickstart research for junior faculty, are more likely to be awarded when the applicant has previous award experience – which is counter-intuitive and frustrating. 

Anyway....I've tried to create partnerships with grants between myself and peer educators in my Department. None are interested. So, consequently, I look outside of the university – to the local and regional community and to my community of design peers...where collaborating is immediately embraced. I've found that when people partner on grants – in some way or another, everyone wins. 

So this past year I've spent a lot of time cultivating conversations with peer educators inside and outside of the design discipline to see if there is potential for partnership development. I believe certain partnerships enrich the quality of a project and the respective research agendas of the partners involved. The geographic locations of all involved, I think pose a benefit as opposed to a loss or risk, especially if a project can occur online or be implemented in two different locations following similar or exact research protocols.

I welcome your thoughts on how to develop quality partnerships with grant proposed projects. I'm hoping the forum will provide some opportunity to create those opportunities. 








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Hi RJ, I've found it difficult to get university-wide research grants at my university too. Part of the problem is our infrastructure, and the other part is probably me. Ha!

At KSU, our university research council seed grants are offered in five "buckets" (i.e., reviewed by committees composed of faculty in these areas): social sciences, nursing, humanities, fine arts, and business. Guess what's missing? A design-oriented application could fit into any of those areas... but likely not really undestood well by any of them. 

It would be so helpful to learn more about grant writing for design faculty. For my colleagues in the sciences, grant writing is normalized. Seems like design culture hasn't quite gotten there yet. 

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  • 7 months later...

@RJ Thompson Can you please share what grants you are applying for and where you look for them? Are they for creative work or scholarly writing? I'm making an effort to start writing grant proposals and trying to learn the ropes. I have written 3 so far: Creative Capital (LOI only--I didn't advance to the full proposal), local artist grant (rejected), and one internal university grant (awarded! yay!)

FYI, I have creative projects in mind.

I would love any advice on how to get started. 

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