October 18, 2017

Applying for a Discovery Grant

SPA’s Jackie Davis led the third colloquium in the SPA series on Friday, October 6, 2017 in Bracken Library. Alongside her was Tammy Hall, vice president of the Discovery Group and grant committee chair and Cathy Whaley, director of the Northeast Indiana Area Health Education Center (NEI-AHEC) as well as a current and former grant recipient.

What is the Discovery Group?
Jackie Davis leads the discussion
Davis describes the group as “a collaborative philanthropic group established at the Ball State Foundation. They do work through the foundation and support projects and programs at Ball State.”

Discovery funding is only for Ball State faculty and staff. The funds come from a pool of annual contributions and are considered external funding.

The overall purpose of the Discovery Group is to connect its members to Ball State University, inspire women to become leaders in philanthropy and to provide financial support for innovative Ball State projects and programs.

Application Details
Important information to include in your proposal:
  • Purpose/implementation plan
  • Measurable goals/objectives
  • Evaluation Plan
  • BSU student impact/involvement
  • Clear connection to Ball State’s Centennial Commitment  (undergrad focused)
  • Sustainability plan
  • Detailed budget and budget justification

Tammy Hall and Cathy Whaley answer audience questions
Advice for Applying
“Your proposal needs to be telling your story. It needs to be clear and concise, while stating what you are going to do, how you will accomplish your goals, how the results will be measured and how much it is going to cost” said Davis.

Whaley, as a current and former grant recipient, said that it is important that you find out “who are the Discovery Grant people, who is on the board and what are their philanthropic reasons?” This will help you better understand the audience that will be reading and considering your proposal. It is important to know who you are writing for.

Whaley went on to state that when applying for a grant she always makes sure to hit on keywords from the organization’s mission in her proposal. Be sure to address and incorporate as many as possible into your own project. For example, with the Discovery Grant, Whaley made sure that her project was student centered and followed the Centennial Commitment.

Additional Advice:
  • Have someone outside of Ball State and even outside of academia read your proposal, because the board is not made up of Ball State faculty. 
  • Synthesize goals/objectives down to the most important things you want the board to know.
  • Funding is for a one year project, so be clear with your timeline. Avoid listing long term objectives that go past the one year mark. 
  • The maximum award you can receive is $25,000 and you may only hold one award at a time, so plan accordingly.

Scoring Rubric
In addition to Davis’ and Whaley’s advice, it is crucial that you look at the Discovery Group’s scoring rubric, because this is the document the board uses to decide which proposals to consider. It helps everyone who submits a proposal be on the same page, and the reviewers can better compare apples to apples. Be sure to see how your proposal stacks up against their criteria and make changes where necessary.

Examples of projects that score high:
  • Student centered
  • Impact a high number of students 
    • Something small, such as students reading a pamphlet you create is not considered as impact.
  • Involve community interaction
  • Entrepreneurial type projects
  • Immersive learning
  • Interdisciplinary projects (2 colleges working together)
The Discovery Grant board uses this rubric to score each proposal. After scoring, they take the highest scoring proposals and invite them to give a live presentation at their annual meeting. This presentation will be what essentially convinces the members of the Discovery Group to vote for your proposal. After the presentations all members vote, and the proposals with the most votes are the ones that get funded. The number of funded proposals will also vary from year to year based on the amount of contributions received that year.

If you decide to pursue a Discovery Grant be sure to keep an eye on their timeline!

Timeline for Grant Proposals

The grant period Discovery Awards will be from May 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
  • October 1, 2017 – Cycle to submit proposals begins. Please work with your Sponsored Programs Proposal Manager for proposal development, review and budget preparation.
  • December 1, 2017, 5:00 PM – All Final proposals due as a single pdf file emailed to jsdavis@bsu.edu. You will receive confirmation of proposal receipt. 
  • January, 2018 – The grants committee will select the top proposals for presentation at the Discovery Annual Meeting; all applicants will be notified of decision at this time. 
  • March, 2018 – The selected proposals are presented at the Discovery Annual Meeting. Following a vote by the Discovery Members attending the meeting the grant awards will be announced that day.

October 13, 2017

External Funding Alert: NEA Big Read

NEA Big Read is accepting applications from non-profit organizations around the nation to develop community-wide reading programs between September 2018 and June 2019.

A Big Read is a month-long series of programs centered around one NEA Big Read book. Programs include a kickoff, a keynote, book discussions, and other artistic events to foster engagement with the selected title and encourage reading. Want to know more? Read about recent NEA Big Read programming in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Organizations selected to participate in the program receive a grant ($5,000-$15,000), access to educational and promotional materials, and online training resources. Approximately 75 organizations from across the country will be selected.

To review the Guidelines and Application Instructions, visit the Arts Midwest website.

Application deadline: January 24, 2018 by 4:00pm CST

Follow @NEABigRead on Twitter for all the latest info and news.

We are proud to announce the addition of four new books to the NEA Big Read list this year:
  • Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
  • The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka
  • A Small Story About the Sky by Alberto RĂ­os
  • Burning Bright by Ron Rash
For a full list of available titles, check out our list of books.
Credit block
NEA Big Read is a program of the National
Endowment for the Arts in partnership with
Arts Midwest.
Copyright © 2017 Arts Midwest, All rights reserved.

October 11, 2017

Research Week is only a week and a half away!

Research Week – October 23-27
Mark your calendars for Research Week, Ball State’s annual celebration of externally funded research, scholarship, creative work, and community engagement.  Special events include the following:

  • Monday, Oct 23: BeneFacta Day (by invitation only). 
    A special event celebrating those who received or applied for external funding to support their work.
  • Research Week Honoree Presentations (open to all).  All events at 3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104.
    Come hear your colleagues discuss their externally funded work and offer their insights into developing successful proposals.
  • Tuesday, Oct 24: Janay Sander, Department of Educational Psychology.
    Come hear about the process of applying for and then implementing an externally funded project that includes real-world research questions, community-university partnerships, immersive learning, and high quality research methods all in one project. RSVP Here.
  • Wednesday, Oct 25: Cathy Whaley, Director, Northeast Indiana Area Health Education Center (NEI-AHEC).
    Come hear Cathy Whaley discuss the programs and funding strategies for AHEC. The purpose of the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program is to develop and enhance education and training networks within communities, academic institutions, and community-based organizations. The Northeast Indiana AHEC is one of more than 250 Centers across the United States and is financially supported by federal, state, and local funds. RSVP Here.
  • Thursday, Oct 26: Eric (VJ) Rubenstein, Department of Biology.
    Like humans, all cells must take out the trash. When cells switch from taking out the trash to hoarding it, mayhem — in the form of disease —ensues. In his presentation, VJ Rubenstein will discuss his federally funded investigation of cellular waste management. RSVP Here.
  •  Friday, Oct 27: Creative Endeavor of the Year Lecture (open to all).  Christopher Flook (Department of Telecommunications) will discuss the work that has earned him this prestigious university award. RSVP Here.Scott Trappe's Researcher of the Year lecture has been postponed until Spring Semester 2018. More information to follow.

    For more information about these events contact
    : spadmin@bsu.edu.

September 20, 2017

Academic Year 2017-18 Events Calendar

Faculty Events Calendar 2017-18
Sponsored Projects Administration
For more information: Stan Geidel (sgeidel@bsu – 285-2022)
or Jessie Roark (jaroark@bsu.edu – 285-5003)

SPA Colloquia: Faculty learning opportunities in a variety of formats on topics of interest pertaining to sponsored projects. Features faculty peers, Sponsored Projects Administration personnel, and other special guest panelists.
Focus on the Search: Workshops covering the funding search databases and techniques used at Ball State. Workshops are open to faculty, staff, and students. Registration through the minicourse system required. 
Special Events: Research Week; Researcher of the Year and Creative Endeavor of the Year Lectures; Student Symposium.
Updates: Be sure to check our blog at researchnewsletter.blogspot.com for the latest schedule changes and updates.


7             SPA Colloquia: The Cohen Grants – Writing Effective Applications.
   Presenters: Larry Gerstein & Jackie Buckrop (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)
8             Focus on the Search: Part 1 (1:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
13           SPA Colloquia: Finding the Best Sponsor Fit for your Project. Presenter: Jackie Davis
   (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
14           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required


6             SPA Colloquia: Applying for a Discovery Grant.  Presenter: Jackie Davis
               (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)
12           Focus on the Search: Part 1 (11:00am, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
18           SPA Colloquia: Devil on Your Shoulder: Overcoming 4 Bad habits that Can Sink Your
   Grant. Presenter: Donna Browne (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
19           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (1:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
24           Research Week: Janay Sander, Research Week Honoree. 
   Presentation: Janay Sander with SPA staff.  (3:00-5:00pm, Bracken Library 104)
25           Research Week: Cathy Whaley, Research Week Honoree. 
   Presentation: Cathy Whaley with SPA staff. (3:00-5:00pm, Bracken Library 104)
26           Research Week: VJ Rubenstein, Research Week Honoree.
   Presentation: VJ Rubenstein with SPA staff.  (3:00-5:00pm, Bracken Library 104)
27           Researcher of the Year/Creative Endeavor of the Year Lectures. 
   Presenters: Scott Trappe and Chris Flook (3:00-5:00pm, Bracken Library 104)


3             SPA Colloquia: Immersive Learning: Student Engagement + Community Impact. 
   Presenter: Kelli Huth (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)
7             Focus on the Search: Part 1 (5:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
8             Focus on the Search: Part 2 (5:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
15           SPA Colloquia: Finding Matching Funds for your Grant Application. 
   Presenters: Augusta Wray & Jackie Davis (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg,
   Atrium Dining Room)


17           SPA Colloquia: Invest in Your Idea!: Concept Papers Save Time and Grief When Deadlines
   Loom. Presenter:  Donna Browne (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
18           Focus on the Search: Part 1 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
24           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
26           SPA Colloquia: Shining a Light on the Mysterious World of Contracts and Grants. 
   Presenter: Ted Kolodka (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)


7             Focus on the Search: Part 1 (11:00am, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
9             SPA Colloquia: Proposal Resubmissions: Addressing Reviewer Comments. 
   Presenter: Justin Miller (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)
15           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (11:00am, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
21           SPA Colloquia: Research and Scholarship in the Fisher Institute of Wellness. 
   Presenter: Youfa Wang (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)


14           SPA Colloquia: Voyage into the Real World: Working with Community Partners and Local
   Funders. Presenter: Donna Browne (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
21           Focus on the Search: Part 1 (5:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
27           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (5:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
30           SPA Colloquia: Preparing an Effective NIH AREA Grant Application. 
   Presenters: Jackie Davis & Maria Bumbalough (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)


6             SPA Colloquia: The Fulbright Experience. Presenter: Justin Miller
               (3:00 pm, Bracken Library 104)
11           SPA Colloquia: NEH Summer Stipends – Preparing an Effective Application. 
               Presenter: Augusta Wray (Noon, Art & Journalism Bldg, Atrium Dining Room)
17           Student Symposium
·         Look for registration information in early January
19           Focus on the Search: Part 1 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required
23           Focus on the Search: Part 2 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required

September 18, 2017

Finding the Best Sponsor FIT for your Project

Jackie Davis led SPA’s second colloquium of the year Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in the Atrium. This session was packed full of important tips and advice to remember when searching for your project’s sponsor.


Davis began the session with the acronym FIT, which must be considered when looking for a sponsor.


Jackie Davis smiles as her audience interacts
with her during her presentation.
When thinking about funds, be sure to consider the amount of restrictions and the use of the funds.

Intention refers to the intentions of the funds and the intentions of the sponsor. Do their intentions fit with the purpose of your project, your goals and your project objectives?

Timing does not just refer to the application deadline, but also when the money will be distributed. Some sponsors pay on a schedule based on deliverables, some wait until the end or they will withhold the last payment to make sure you submit your project reports.

“A lot of the funds Ball State receives are cost reimbursements,” said Davis, “We pay the money and then we invoice the sponsor and then they reimburse us.”

Timing of funds is a consideration that Sponsored Projects can help you with.

Like a Glove

In addition to making your sponsor FIT, it is important to make sure your sponsor fits your project like a glove.

Davis handed out gloves to everyone who attended the colloquium. The gloves varied in sizes, colors and types. She made many valuable points by asking the audience if their gloves fit and what they could be used for.

An audience member shows off her
glove, which is a perfect fit.
“What is my purpose? If the purpose is to keep your hand warm, then lots of these gloves will serve your purpose. If your purpose is to go play a softball game then only one of these gloves will be helpful,” said Davis. 

Think of your sponsor as a glove, and remember to ask yourself these important questions. Does my project fit within in the sponsor’s mission, does it fit within the timeline or are you forcing your hand into the glove?

Additional Advice to Consider

  • Talk to the program officer that’s why they’re there, and sometimes you need a collaborator to help find the right fit. 
  • Every sponsor, opportunity and deadline has different priorities, instructions and requirements.
  • When it comes to deadlines, don’t assume you know because you have submitted to them before, many sponsors make changes every year. 
  • Read the guidelines carefully and follow them exactly, because there’s nothing more frustrating than getting thrown out for not following directions. 
  • What the program officer says goes, because it’s all about relationship building. You must respect their decisions. 
  • Relate your organization, your project and your program to the sponsor’s mission. What is the significance and why should your sponsor care? 
  • Grant writing is telling a story, it is persuasive writing. 
  • Include a contingency plan. Your proposal is a straight line, but that isn’t real life, so have a back-up plan from the beginning.

Remember to make sure you sponsor FITs like a glove, and that one size does not fit all. Sometimes you will have to make a change to your project in order to fit. If they advise you to change, make sure it is something you can live with. You do not have to change if you don’t want to, but make sure you are a perfect piece to their puzzle.

Upcoming Events

Check out these additional events that can help you with finding a sponsor!

Focus on the Search Sessions
  • Focus on the Search: Part 1 – Oct. 12 (11:00am, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required.
  • Focus on the Search: Part 2 – Oct. 20 (2:00pm, SPA Conference Room) Registration Required. 
  • Click here to register.

SPA Colloquia: Applying for a Discovery Grant – Oct. 6 (3:00pm, Bracken Library 104)

September 13, 2017

Fast-approaching Deadline for Peace Research Projects

Ball State professors with research interests in achieving peace in the world don’t have much time to put together a fund-worthy project. Cohen Peace Fellowship committee members who are also Ball State faculty kicked off the 2017-2018 Colloquia season with their information session about the fellowship on Thursday, September 7th at Bracken Library. 

Benjamin Cohen, a Muncie, Indiana native, was an architect in President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation as well as the United Nations. The fund is a lasting memorial to Cohen by fostering new ideas to peacemaking problems.

Research projects will be considered in one of two areas – basic research and applied research. Basic research involves expanding knowledge about issues affecting world peace employing statistical, analytical, or qualitative tools. Applied research is designed to solve practical problems associated with world peace that will improve the human condition.

Successfully funded projects lay out a blueprint of tasks on how to accomplish research goals and a realistic timeline. That’s according to Dr. Lawrence Gerstein, the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of Ball States Center for Peace and Conflict. Both Gerstein and Dr. Jacquelyn Buckrop, Assistant to the Provost, emphasized the importance of defining peace within the research application and the ability to be salient and succinct about the project in the limited application space.

“Proposals fall short due to lack of definitions and linkage to research. Poorly written applications with typos, grammar mistakes, lack of proof reading will be sent to the bottom of the pile,” said Buckrop.

Committee reviewers are from multiple disciplines. Gerstein and Buckrop stressed the need to translate projects for committee members. They suggested asking someone outside your discipline proof proposals. 

“We’re looking for a cogent argument that you understand the fund’s mission,” said Gerstein.
Other advice included:

Dr. Lawrence Gerstein and Dr. Jacquelyn Buckrop
spoke to faculty and students at Bracken Library.
They stressed proposals should contribute
towards the goal of peace.
§  Well-written

§  Follow guidelines

§  Include definition of peace

§  Connect peace to your research

§  Look at the projects impact

§  Decide if it’s worthwhile


The Cohen Fellowship is considered external funding. Faculty will have to meet with their college’s proposal managers within Sponsored Projects Administration by October 2nd in order to be considered for the fellowship. Final proposals are due by October 31st, 2017 at 5:00 P.M. Graduate students are eligible but must have a faculty sponsor and are also required to meet with SPA proposal managers in order to be eligible.

Gerstein said he is open to receiving ideas before the October 2nd deadline but will not help researchers flesh out ideas.

World peace isn’t expected overnight from proposed research projects but there is an expectation that the research will have an impact. An award of up to $50,000 is available to support a one-year or a multiple year project. Funding starts July 1st, 2018.

Be sure to take a look at SPA’s Colloquia Series which continues through the Spring here.

September 06, 2017

Mark your Calendar for this year's SPA Colloquia Series!

ASPiRE Fall 2017 Competition Deadlines

Are you a Ball State faculty member, professional personnel or student looking for support for your research / creative endeavors? Check out the ASPiRE Internal Grant Program. Several deadlines are approaching for the following competitions:

New Faculty Start-Up: Sept. 20, 2017

Hollis: Oct. 1, 2017

Grad Research / Creative Arts: Oct. 20, 2017

Advance / CREATE: Nov. 1, 2017

For questions regarding the ASPiRE Program, please email aspire@bsu.edu. You can also view the full 2017-2018 event calendar here.

April 27, 2017

Congratulations to the SPA Fellows class of 2016-17!

Each academic year, a group of Ball State faculty members closely affiliates with Sponsored Projects Administration with the goal of further developing their knowledge base and grant-writing skills in support of seeking external funding for their research, scholarship, creative projects, and other fundable endeavors.  SPA Fellows attend classes once per month, attend special events, and complete written assignments, all intended to further their understanding of the grantseeking enterprise.

We wish the Fellows class of 2016-17 much success in all their academic ventures, and especially in their efforts to seek and acquire external funding to support their work. For further information about the SPA Fellows Program, please contact Stanley Geidel at 285-2022 or sgeidel@bsu.edu

SPA Fellows Class of 2016-17

Tya Arthur, Nutrition and Health Science
Bangshuai Han, Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Cori Jenkins, Chemistry
Christina Jones, Nutrition and Health Science
Brandon Kistler, Nutrition and Health Science
Young Ah Lee, Journalism
Leeann Lower, Kinesiology
Teresia Mbogori, Nutrition and Health Science
Matt Moore, Social Work
Allison Rober, Biology
Sergiy Rosokha, Chemistry
Philip J. Smaldino, Biology
Xin Sun, Computer Science
Sanglim Yoo, Urban Planning
Kim Zoder-Martell, Special Education