July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
New Engineering Educators
The identification of funding opportunities and associated proposal development activities are interconnected items, but the process of writing for grant and proposal opportunities is not necessarily linear. In actuality, the process is often highly iterative, moving in different directions by way of the communication and interpretation of those working in the team to develop the proposal. For example, sometimes an idea stews for a good while in the form of an initial concept on which a team of colleagues continues to ponder and explore a direction for a particular topic and the viability of the project. These conversations are critical in bringing the most effective articulation of “proposal pieces”, and the multitude of points of view, from a collaborating team, is a powerful pool of avenues in arriving to the most competitive proposal: In short, a “group-genius” approach is far more productive than a “solo-center” mode. For example, the working group may have continual conversations, read, try things in the lab, ponder and pilot aspects of the work, etc., before even engaging with the idea of exploring a funding opportunity. Other times, an intriguing Program Solicitation (e.g., NSF), Request for Applications (NIH), Broad Agency Announcement (DOD), Funding Opportunity Announcement (DOE), or another communication piece from funding agencies may trigger an idea-generation from which proposal development coalesces from various seemingly unconnected pieces already in place within the collaborating team. Ultimately, the process is complicated but navigable, and a major successful driving force is centered on teamwork and its collaborative and multitude of inclusive views.
Given the complexity of the issues associated with efforts to align team interests with details communicated in the various funding opportunities, contributions from individuals with diverse mindsets and experiences and from a variety of disciplines is critical. This type of cognitive diversity is necessary to build knowledge at disciplinary intersections which is beneficial for the development of innovative solutions to complex problems that will impact societal challenges. This conceptualization goes in contrast to the traditionally-adopted idea that societally-impactful funding opportunities are a “solo-investigator centered” approach usually conveyed as a top-down flow – an epitome of insight that comes from the intersection of a good idea at the right point in time. In this contribution, we highlight the approaches taken by an interdisciplinary team of educators/researchers as related to seeking and obtaining grant funding. Of particular emphasis is the process of upscaling or downscaling teams to support these activities as related to various funding opportunities. As part of this contribution, we focus on providing a schema that has been leveraged by this team wherein interdisciplinary voices, equitable conversations, and logistic models are integrated into the processes by which funding opportunities are generated and explored within a “Group Genius” approach. The approach is expected to be of value to new and experienced faculty and administrative personnel interested in developing the communication skills requisite for forming effective, equitable team funding structures.
Arce, P. E., & Arce-Trigatti, A., & Jorgensen, S., & Sanders, R. (2021, July), A Take on the Process of Proposal Development and the Scaling of Teams Towards Development of Competitive Proposals: A “Group Genius” Approach Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36623
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