Survival In Today's Tight Funding Climate Depends On Following Agencies' Rules

Depends On Following Agencies' Rules Securing research support increasingly occupies the time and energy of academic scientists. As a program officer with a private foundation supporting biomedical, behavioral, and educational research, I am experiencing first-hand how the shrinking supply of federal funding dollars is driving more and more investigators to the terre incognito of private foundation funding. Recently, The Scientist provided some tips on how to improve the chances of a submissio

Susan Fitzpatrick
Apr 28, 1996

Depends On Following Agencies' Rules Susan Fitzpatrick Securing research support increasingly occupies the time and energy of academic scientists. As a program officer with a private foundation supporting biomedical, behavioral, and educational research, I am experiencing first-hand how the shrinking supply of federal funding dollars is driving more and more investigators to the terre incognito of private foundation funding. Recently, The Scientist provided some tips on how to improve the chances of a submission to federal funding agencies (L. Reif-Lehrer, March 4, 1996, page 15). In reality, the "rules" for approaching private funding sources are quite similar-all instructions must be scrupulously followed if a proposal is to receive serious consideration.

Attention to detail is essential; many private foundations operate with small staffs wearing multiple hats. Program officers typically manage several programs, and often they have subject-matter expertise in some, but not all, of the programmatic disciplines. Although officers become adept...

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