This post is part of our NORDP 2016 Conference Reports. These reports capture the take-home points from a variety of sessions presented at the NORDP Annual Meeting in Orlando.
Session Scribe: Angie Shotts
Abstracts Cannot Be Abstract: Crafting the Grant Proposal’s Sales Pitch
Presenter: Robert Porter
Key points from the session:
- Reviewers decide within the first 1-2 pages if a proposal will be funded. The decision is fast and can be based on 1-2 paragraphs.
- The NIH Specific Aims, NSF Project overview, etc. should be understandable to the Research Development professional – use this to determine if jargon is present. This applies to all funding agencies. Accessible language is critical.
- Include something that will surprise the reviewers in the beginning and get their attention.
- The best proposals/abstracts teach the reviewers something they don’t know.
- The abstract should: 1) get their attention; 2) explain why the status quo must change; 3) explain why the idea proposed will work.
- Spend the most amount of time improving the abstract. It is the sales pitch.
What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?
When working with a faculty member who is not focusing on the sales pitch portion of the proposal, ask “How long does it take you to decide if a student’s paper will get a C or an A?”
What resources did you discover at this presentation?
The NORDP website has an additional presentation by Robert Porter, “Thinking Like a Grant Reviewer: Know the Score!” on the NORDP website.
What else from this session should NORDP members know?
This presentation has a 3-paragraph template that can serve as a useful guide for research development professionals and PIs.