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February 2018 News

Welcome to the OSP news

For February, we will highlight new faculty member Margaret Tarampi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology.

OSP: You recently joined UHart in August, 2017 what area do you teach? 

MT: I teach in the Department of Psychology and teach the following classes: Intro to Psychology, Sensation & Perception and Thinking, Memory & Problem Solving.

OSP: Do you have plans to conduct research over the academic year in your field and search for external funding?

MT: Yes. I have plans to write a research grant to support my research on understanding spatial thinking in the arts. Spatial thinking is central to our daily activities and is essential to success in many disciplines. Arts expertise (unlike in the sciences) has been shown to transfer to the general cognition and is a promising area of research to identify training interventions. The research grant will fund a graduate research assistant as well as lab equipment needed to do the research.

OSP: What do you feel is the most challenging part of your research and preparing and/or writing for a grant? 

MT: The most challenging part of this line of research is that I am employing new methodologies or adapting existing methodologies to new settings. As such, pilot data is necessary for grant applications as proof of concept.

OSP: As a new faculty member, what would you want your colleagues to know that you have learned about the grant process?

MT: The Office of Sponsored Programs is a great resource throughout the grant process from alerting me of grant opportunities to guidance on how to best frame my research proposal for a particular grant.

grant writing tips: 3 tips to avoid last
minute problems:

Applying for a federal grant can be a lot of work involving many moving parts. On top of strategizing, conducting meetings, and writing a compelling proposal, there are other little-but-necessary tasks on the path to successfully submitting your application that you should do well before the closing date.

  1. Look for the little details. Planning and completing a grant application is a lot of work, so in the rush to meet the application deadline it can be easy to overlook little details. That is why it is important to identify all requirements listed in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) near the beginning of the process (even if it does not seem like a big deal).

  2. Examples of “little” details that are actually important. These are specific examples of requirements for certain FOAs—these are NOT requirements for all grant applications.

  • Sections should use one-inch margins”.

  • CVs for these staff members/volunteers, which are not more than two (2) pages each and indicate the person’s relevant skills and experience.”

  • Appendices (not included in 12-page limit)”.

  • Applications should include a high-quality Project Abstract that summarizes the proposed project in 400 words or fewer.

Project Abstracts should be:

  • Written for a general public audience.
  • Submitted as a separate attachment with “Project Abstract” as part of its file name.

  • Single-spaced, using a standard 12-point font (Times New Roman) with 1-inch margins.

Do not use these requirements in every application. You must find all the requirements in the specific FOA you are applying to.

Why Does This Matter?

Government programs established by law and implemented through grants from a federal agency to an award recipient are often complex, multi-year projects. To accomplish the public-serving missions of these grant programs, each entity must follow a specific set of rules. These specific requirements for a grant application serve two general purposes.

  1. To vet whether applicants follow requirements: If an applicant does not notice or follow the FOA requirements in their application, this may raise questions about how they would implement and report on specific details of the grant program if they received the funding.

  2. To make the application review process fair, consistent, and efficient: Formatting, page limits, and other similar requirements create a level playing field (i.e., fair and consistent) for all applicants to apply and be evaluated by those reviewing grant applications. Practically speaking, these length limits also make it possible for multiple layers of thorough, objective reviews of the applications.

What Should I Do?

In addition to reading the full FOA carefully before applying, you can perform a careful review of your application after it is written to ensure it accurately and consistently addresses all these types of requirements. Make sure someone is looking closely for these details before you submit the application.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

If you have a topic that you would like to learn more about, contact Christina Lapierre, Assistant Director, OSP at