Grant Writing Groups for Social Science Faculty

Securing grant funding is an important element of career development for research faculty, but many faculty members find it difficult to set aside time for grant writing. With so many demands on their time, the process of drafting and polishing proposals and ensuring that all submission requirements are met can seem daunting, even to seasoned investigators. 

The University of Iowa Social Science Research Center (ISRC) provides grant development assistance to social science faculty. We are now pleased to offer the opportunity for faculty to join one of three grant writing groups designed to facilitate the grant writing process while accommodating different needs and interests.  

Models for Grant Writing Groups

The ISRC supports three writing group models that differ in the degree of interactivity and the level of feedback provided by group members. Sign-up nowto reserve a space in one of the following:

  1. Scheduled Writing Groups – Scheduled writing groups provide opportunities for a group of 6-8 members to escape their office environments and day-to-day responsibilities to focus specifically on their grant writing work. These groups provide social connection, networking, and mutual support during the writing process.
  2. Accountability Groups– The accountability group model encourages participation by a smaller group of 4-6 members who would benefit from a more structured approach that incorporates progress reporting to the group as well as ample time allotted to writing.
  3. Peer-Review Groups– For faculty who are interested in a more intensive and interactive experience, the peer-review group model provides an opportunity for a small group (3-4 members) to read, review, and provide feedback on one another’s proposals, with time allotted to individual writing or scheduled consultations with ISRC grant development staff. 

All grant writing groups meet on a regularly-scheduled basis (e.g. weekly, biweekly, monthly). 

How to Join a Social Science Faculty Grant Writing Group

Complete our Sign-up form anytime. Please note that while grant writing groups may form at any time upon request, the ISRC will coordinate solicitations for new writing groups prior to the beginning of each summer session or semester. 

Guidelines

To get started on structuring a grant writing group, the ISRC suggests the following guidelines:

Make a commitment

  • A grant writing group functions best when each member fully commits to the process and makes every effort to attend all meetings. Although this is especially true for the accountability and peer-review groups, making an individual commitment to your own grant writing timeline and goals will keep you on task and help to prevent last-minute deadline pressures that can negatively affect the quality of your proposal.
  • While emergencies understandably arise, keeping a commitment to attend the scheduled meeting shows respect and appreciation for the time and efforts of your group members and reinforces your personal dedication to crafting a successful application.

Focus on mutual support and encouragement

  • While the level of interaction may differ according to the grant writing group model in which you participate, creating an atmosphere of mutual support, collegiality, encouragement, mentoring, respectful feedback, and positive reinforcement goes a long way to helping the group achieve its goal of supporting its members in submitting winning proposals.
  • It is expected that grant writing group members will have varying levels of experience in drafting proposals. Members are encouraged to ask questions and share their own grant writing tips and experiences with one another.

Recommendations

Set realistic goals

  • At the initial meeting, set realistic and mutually-agreeable goals and expectations for how the group will function.
  • Individual group members benefit from establishing a realistic timeline with clear, achievable, and measurable objectives for their grant writing projects.
  • ISRC grant development staff are happy to assist individuals in creating a timeline for their grant writing projects, if requested.

Make use of ISRC staff and resources

  • ISRC grant development staff will coordinate scheduling and facilitate the initial meeting of your grant writing group. We will get you started by offering best practices to help position your group for ongoing success and will provide grant-writing information, guidance, and resources that will aid you along the way. 
  • Each group is intended to be self-sustaining, but ISRC staff are always available upon request to make presentations, answer questions, or schedule guest speakers. 
  • Optional tutorials covering common grant development questions:
    • Grant Application Process at the University of Iowa  
    • Advantages to Preparing Proposals Early
    • Resources Available on Campus
    • Grant Search Tips and Tools
    • Proposal Preparation and Writing Guidance
    • Workshopping Proposals using the Peer-review Model
    • Constructing Introductory Paragraphs for Maximum Impact
    • Analytical and Survey Methods
    • Data Collection Services at the ISRC
  • ISRC grant development staff are also happy to meet with individual group members to discuss your grant development needs. 
  • Please visit the ISRC website at http://ppc.uiowa.edu/isrc for additional information about our grant development and data collection services. 

Questions?

For questions regarding grant writing groups or the ISRC grant development program, please contact Kris Ackerson, ISRC Grant Development Manager, by email at Kristopher-Ackerson@uiowa.edu or by phone at 319.467.0098.