What is a limited submission grant?
There seem to be many offices dedicated to working with grants at UMass (e.g. ORA, OCFR, OGCA). What is their relationship and what kind of support does each provide?
What if I don’t have a specific project yet?
Why should I spend my time working on grant proposals?
What kinds of grants do faculty in CHFA typically get?
What does a strong grant look like?
How do I get help writing a grant?
Who in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts can help me in this process?
How likely is it that I will get one of the grants I apply for?
How do I get started in grant writing if I’ve never done it before?
This is when a grant will accept only one or two applications from each campus. To submit an application to such a grant, contact Melinda LeLacheur, who is the Administrative Assistant to the Director in the Office of Research Affairs, to ensure that your proposal can be considered as one of those going forward from UMass. Even if you've talked to someone in OGCA or OCFR, the Office of Research Affairs needs to be informed as well.
The Office of Research Affairs (ORA), the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (OCFR), and the Office of Grant and Contract Administration (OGCA) are all separate organizations, but they work closely together. While each office focuses on different kinds of grants, and thus can offer different kinds of help, it’s important to understand that typically a grant writer may need to be in touch with more than one office. The descriptions below provide a brief overview of each office and at what point in the process you may need to be in contact with them. (For additional details, please follow the highlighted links.)
Office of Research Affairs: First contact point for internal grants (e.g. FRG/Healey) and limited submission grants from foundations or government agencies.
Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations: First contact for grants offered by private foundations. Once a grant is written for a foundation (and OCFR will help with that), an applicant should still work with OGCA on the budget and submission process.
Office of Grant and Contract Administration: First contact for government grants and the last contact in any external grants process (budget, submission, etc.). OGCA also processes the award once received and can help you find a grant program that fits your research idea.
Rick Taupier, who is the HFA liason in the Office of Research Development, can help you locate grants that fit your research ideas even if you do not have a specific project in mind yet. Registering for the Community of Science Database (COS) will result in automatic messages about grant programs (as they come up) that match your research interests. While the COS database was previously directed mainly to projects in the sciences, it now provides information and support relevant to projects in the humanities and fine arts.
The first thing to know—and believe—about grant writing is that success is not defined strictly by the award of a grant. The creation of a grant proposal is a key way of working on your project. It forces you to refine your sense of your audience and in turn refine your project. Winning a grant is the ideal outcome and it will be the ultimate outcome if you are tenacious. But grant writing is best understood as a dimension of your research work, not a side project that you might pursue if you ever find time.
Faculty in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at UMass are active grant writers who have been awarded many grants, from large grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Education, and the Delmas Foundation to smaller travel grants from the Whiting Foundation and fellowships from the Ford Foundation. While the National Endowment for the Humanities does support many projects, quite often foundation grants can provide a better fit for a project than more open calls from the NEH.
A strong grant proposal is tailored to its audience and is specific to the guidelines of the grant for which it is written. To review model grants visit our Review Model Proposals page.
When drafting a grant proposal it is often helpful to seek help from those who have written similar proposals or who are familiar with specific grant guidelines. To locate appropriate contacts, visit our Seek Advice on your Proposal page.
Within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, both Rex Wallace, the Associate Dean of Personnel and Research, and the Grant Proposal Readers Committee can provide you with support and advice.
There is no exact formula for how likely it is one will receive a grant, although our Learn from Best Practices page provides grant writing tips. The most successful grant writers are persistent ones, revising a specific application and/or tailoring it for a new program even if the initial version was rejected. Do know, however, that UMass’s track record in grant writing is quite good; over 40% of grants applied for are awarded.
If new to grant writing, you’ll want to develop a grants mindset. Like all kinds of writing, effective grant writing depends on a rich understanding of your audience and of the context-specific expectations of these kinds of applications. Gaining more insight into these guidelines and seeking help from others will help you become more skilled at writing grant applications. For more information visit our Getting Started page.