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The university can reach its goal of increasing research funding by a hefty 20 percent this year if faculty members will think like home run hitters, a grant-writing consultant told workshop audiences on Saturday, April 16.

"Those who hit the most home runs also strike out the most," said Bob Porter, president
of GrantWinners Seminars. Porter noted at a morning grant-writing workshop that 10 percent of the ODU faculty generates 80 percent of the university's research dollars, and he said if faculty submit more and better grant proposals the funding will come.

Porter also led an afternoon workshop on finding funding, which focused on computer-assisted searches to locate grant givers and research collaborators. Fifty faculty and staff attended the morning workshop, and 43 attended the afternoon session.

The workshops were presented by the University's Office of Research and the host was the vice president for research, Mohammad A. Karim.

"The grant-writing workshop has provided faculty members with serious insights into how best to frame good and successful proposals," Karim said after the morning session. "We at ODU want to see a larger number of faculty members interested and excited about writing grants. This, in the long run, will provide for a greater latitude for our creativity and enhance our capacity to bring about solutions to societal problems."

Joan Mann, associate professor in the College of Business and Public Administration, attended both workshops and said the grant-writing portion was especially excellent. "I identified what I did wrong in my previous grant writing," she said. "I didn't understand in the past when I got comments such as, 'We don't see what you're going to find out in your research study.' My response was, if I knew, I wouldn't be doing the research. But now I understand that comment, and I realize that I have to say why my approach is better and different."

About 42 percent of ODU faculty members receive external funding through grants and contracts. More than $41 million in research money came in last year, and the goal for this year is $50 million.

Porter suggested that grant proposals may have to increase by more than 20 percent in order to meet the monetary goal. More researchers are looking for fewer dollars because of recent cutbacks in government grants, he said.

Sixty percent of proposals are rejected because they do not follow instructions or do not match the initiatives of the grant givers, he said. Most grant writers, he added, do not allot enough time to their proposals and end up submitting proposals that are hurt by haste. "PIs (principal investigators on research projects) should carefully estimate how long it will take for them to write a proposal and then increase it by three times," Porter said.

Lee Furr, research development coordinator, said the Office of Research intends to invite Porter back for another set of workshops and that interested faculty and staff members should contact her at rfurr@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: April 20, 2005

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