Teams across the University of Michigan that are seeking large, external research grants now have access to a new digital tool that aims to increase their competitiveness for securing financial support.
The Research Development and Proposal Services team, based in the Office of the Vice President for Research, recently launched its Roadmap for Large-Scale Proposals.
The team, led by Jill Jividen, director of research development, partnered with faculty and staff over the past year to outline the necessary steps researchers must take to plan and compete for externally funded large-scale proposals.
“Our research funding environment is extremely competitive, with teams at colleges and universities nationwide vying for financial support to advance their critical work,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.
“We acknowledge the fact that planning and preparing a competitive proposal for large-scale grant funding is a long-term commitment, which is exactly why we developed this new roadmap — to better support our university research community.”
Large-scale research proposals are unique in that they often involve grants totaling more than $5 million and require significant integration across disciplines. This type of funding is typically geared toward building a field or capacity, or addressing a broad theme or question.
Funders generally require that large-scale proposals include clear management plans and governance mechanisms, along with details that highlight projects’ potential for broader impact — from educational components for workforce development to broadening participation in academic research to engaging the public in innovation, discovery and creative practices.
The new roadmap features a list of recurring, large-scale funding opportunities so teams can have adequate time to prepare their respective proposals. Jividen and her colleagues also compiled a series of resources from across U-M that outlines everything from engaging external partners and facilitating proposal planning to securing graphic design support.
Faculty seeking research grants in excess of $10 million are encouraged to contact the OVPR Research Development and Proposal Services team early in the process, Jividen said.
The roadmap is one of many tools developed by the Research Development and Proposal Services team, which OVPR launched in 2019. The team coordinates internal funding programs, matches faculty to funding opportunities, offers workshops for skill-building, provides proposal management and editing services, and facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations.
“Our research community has incredible expertise across a wide variety of disciplines, and external funding is necessary for them to advance their work,” Jividen said. “To support their success, we have developed a series of tools and resources that give our teams a unique competitive advantage.”