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Tricks of the Trade: Developing Research Funding

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

New Engineering Educators Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1607.1 - 26.1607.7



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Paper Authors


Edward F. Gehringer North Carolina State University

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Dr. Gehringer is an associate professor in the Departments of Computer Science, and Electrical & Computer Engineering. His research interests include computerized assessment systems, and the use of natural-language processing to improve the quality of reviewing. He teaches courses in the area of programming, computer architecture, object-oriented design, and ethics in computing.

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Tricks of the Trade: Developing Research FundingBuilding a research group is an important determinant of career success. Maintaining acadre of students and assistants depends upon many factors, but perhaps none is soimportant as funding. Raising money takes time, a fact often bemoaned by professionalsacross the spectrum, from educators to politicians to missionaries. This presentationattempts to touch all the bases for the benefit of faculty just starting out their careers.Personal contact is important. This is especially true with defense agencies, wherefunding decisions depend on whose work a program director sees as fitting in with theiroffice’s mission. It is only slightly less vital with the National Science Foundation,where panels rate proposals, but final cut points rest with program officers. There aremany opportunities for meeting with program officers: at conferences, during campusvisits, and by visiting them at their offices.There are online tools, such as the Community of Science’s Pivot service for notifyingresearchers about opportunities that may be of interest to them. While there are still agood number of single-investigator grants, collaborative work attracts an ever-growingshare of the funding. Social networking is becoming increasingly important in findingcollaborators. Twitter is a great tool for sharing ideas that may be of interest to peopleyou haven’t met. LinkedIn can be searched to find contacts of yours who can introduceyou to potential collaborators. LinkedIn groups are also an important way to keep upwith what is going on in a research area. Industrially sponsored research is different fromgovernment-funded work, in that the process is often less transparent. Decisions dependnot only on the quality of your work, but in finding people in the company who areinterested in it. This places a premium on social networking—online and otherwise.It’s important to write well. Attending a commercially offered proposal-writingworkshop may be of help. It is always helpful to have multiple individuals read overyour proposal before it is submitted, so plan to finish the writeup before the deadline.Participating as an NSF panelist will give you a behind-the-scenes look at how theprocess works, and offers essential insight into what factors might influence reviewers’perception of your proposal.This presentation will include the results of a survey of one to two dozen researchers whohave been especially successful at obtaining research funding.

Gehringer, E. F. (2015, June), Tricks of the Trade: Developing Research Funding Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24943

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