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    Research News

    October 2003


    Recent IIT Awards

    Research Support Services Welcomes New Staff Members

    FIPSE seeks reviewers for November 18 and 19th

    Spotlighted Funding Opportunities:
    1) The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
    2) ONR’s Young Investigator Program (YIP)



    Commonly Held Misconceptions about FastLane, NSF’s
    Electronic Proposal Submission System

    Talking to a Sponsor Before Sending in a Proposal

    Past issues of Research News

    From the Editor's Desk

    Dear Readers,

    In this issue of Research News we call to your attention two funding opportunities we have spotlighted: the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which has deadlines in early November, and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator program, which has a deadline of early January 2004. We also feature an article about common misconceptions about FastLane, NSF’s electronic proposal system. And because grants are more likely to be awarded when the researcher talks to the sponsor before writing the proposal, we offer an article about making that important contact. Also in this issue we welcome two new staff members to Research Support Services. You are encouraged to drop by Main Building 301 to make use of our services or just to say hello. We enjoy meeting the people we support and hope to see you soon.

    - Glenn Krell M.P.A., C.R.A.
    Editor, Research News
    Director, Research Proposal Development

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    Recent IIT Awards

    Awards received during August 2003 at IIT

    Awards received during July 2003 at IIT

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    Research Support Services Welcomes New Staff Members

    Two new staff were recently welcomed to the Research Support Services unit of the IIT Graduate College. Please join us in welcoming Pamela Andrews and Robert Lapointe.

    Pamela Andrews has been hired as Research Coordinator in the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs (OSRP). Pam comes to us from the South Shore Kids Academy. Her primary responsibilities will be maintaining the OSRP records in the database, performing queries and generating reports as needed. She will also be assisting in proposal preparation and other sponsored program activities.

    Robert Lapointe, who replaced staff member Jennifer Dupuis, has been hired as Research Projects Coordinator for the Graduate College. Robert comes to us from Loyola University Chicago, where he worked as a graduate assistant in the School of Business Administration. Robert recently completed his MBA degree from Loyola. His primary responsibility is to support the Graduate College and various needs of its research enterprise. His first project involves coordinating the Research Marketing Initiative of the Graduate College. On a personal note, Robert and his wife celebrated the birth of their first child in June.

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    FIPSE seeks reviewers for November 18 and 19th

    The following announcement is from U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE): “FIPSE is seeking reviewers to read proposals for its Comprehensive Program competition at Columbia College Chicago, November 18-19, 2003. Reviewing proposals is an excellent opportunity for faculty, administrators or other education professionals to learn about what's going on in postsecondary education; it can improve grantwriting skills; and it's a valuable professional service. Qualifications: (include) college or university faculty with doctoral degrees from a wide variety of disciplines (liberal arts, business, medicine, vocational programs, etc.) and a good deal of teaching experience. Other individuals with current and relevant knowledge of students, teaching, curriculum and education reform are also welcomed.” For complete information and signup forms please see For information on the FIPSE program, see

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    Spotlighted Funding Opportunity:
    The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

    What: “…Approximately 900 graduate fellowships each year, including awards for women in engineering and computer and information science. Fellowships provide three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering supported by the NSF and are intended for students in the
    early stages of their graduate study.”

    Amount: Currently $27,500 stipend for a 12-month tenure plus $10,500 cost-of-education allowance per tenure year (pending availability of funds).

    Eligibility: Applicants must be United States citizens or nationals, or permanent resident aliens of the United States.

    November 4, 2003: Life Sciences, Physics and Astronomy.
    November 5, 2003: Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, Geosciences.
    November 6, 2003: Social Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering,
    Psychology, Chemistry

    Link to Complete Info for this program:

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    Spotlighted Funding Opportunity:
    ONR’s Young Investigator Program (YIP)

    Overview: “The objectives of the Young Investigator Program (YIP) are to attract to naval research outstanding new faculty members at institutions of higher education, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers. ONR anticipates making about 24 new awards in Fiscal Year 2004.”

    Amount: Up to $100,000 per year for three years, with the possibility of additional support for capital equipment or collaborative research with a Navy laboratory.

    Eligibility: U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents holding tenure track or permanent faculty positions at U.S. institutions of higher education who have received graduate degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent) on or after 01 November 1998.

    Deadline: January 8, 2004

    Link to Complete Info for this program:

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    Commonly Held Misconceptions About FastLane,
    NSF’s Electronic Proposal Submission System

    FastLane is the system used to submit your proposal electronically to the National Science Foundation. If the system is used correctly, it is a boon everyone involved—researchers, administrators, and staff at the sponsor. However, even experienced researchers who use FastLane frequently may sometimes have a misconception or two about how it actually works. Here’s a short list of some of those misconceptions.

    MYTH: “I shouldn’t put my proposal online unless it’s in near-perfect form, so that NSF staff don’t see my early draft.”
    REALITY: NSF staff won’t see your proposal until after it’s officially submitted by IIT’s Office of Sponsored Research and Programs (OSRP). You can put your proposal online without fear of it being seen by NSF reviewers.

    MYTH: “I should wait until the last possible moment to hit the button that says, ‘Allow SRO to view, edit and submit proposal.’”
    REALITY: That’s not just a myth—it’s a bad idea! At IIT, we encourage researchers to go ahead and allow full SRO access early on during proposal preparation. Staff at IIT will never submit your proposal unless they personally hear from you that you are ready to submit it. Note that there are three choices at the FastLane menu called “Sponsored Research Office (SRO) Access Control.” These are:

    • Allow SRO to only view proposal but not submit.
    • Allow SRO to view and edit but not submit proposal.
    • Allow SRO to view, edit and submit proposal.

    Go ahead and select the third choice. This gives IIT staff maximum freedom to help you with your proposal, and it can avoid a last-minute search to find you on proposal submission day. Granting full access early on saves everyone time!

    MYTH: “If I put my proposal into FastLane, my research collaborators can go online and work on the proposal manuscript, making corrections and revising the text.”
    REALITY: Putting your proposal into FastLane won’t allow your collaborators to revise your manuscript online. The manuscript online will be in pdf format (portable document format). While collaborators who have a password will be able to read what you have written, they would need to have your source documents in order to make changes. You can solve the problem by giving them the source documents they need at the appropriate time when you need their feedback.

    MYTH: “FastLane allows me to work on my proposal right up until deadline day.”
    REALITY: IIT policy still requires that the administrative parts of your proposal be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs FIVE DAYS before submission.

    For full details on the five-day rule, please see
    In addition, for electronic submissions, we require that the proposal be completed, ready for submission, by noon the day BEFORE the deadline.

    If you have questions about the proposal you’ll be submitting via NSF FastLane, call the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs (OSRP) at x73035 or email to The Graduate College maintains a computer workstation for researchers, called the Faculty Research Kiosk, specifically for you to use for your FastLane training and submission needs. If you are new to FastLane or wish to get help with training or scanning paper documents, call the Office of Research Proposal Development at x77141 or email to

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    Talking to a Sponsor Before Sending in a Proposal

    Many researchers ponder: “Should I really talk to a sponsor before I send in my proposal for extramural funding?”

    The answer to that question is: “Absolutely!”

    A discussion with the sponsor can help you determine whether your proposal would be a good “fit” with what is being offered. It could give you critical input about what the sponsor would like you to emphasize in your proposal. Most sponsors welcome calls from proposal writers. NSF policy, for example, strongly encourages (but does not require) that proposal writers contact them before a proposal submission. Sponsors don’t want you to waste your time writing a proposal that isn’t a good match--and they don’t want to waste their own time, either. The fewer off-the-mark proposals an agency must review, the more money and staff time they save.

    Yet researchers still hesitate to speak to a funder before submitting a proposal.

    Some say they’d never want to risk “bothering” a funder. Others feel it could be perceived as pushy or inappropriate. Some say calling the funder invites bad luck! And other researchers feel it would bring them unwelcome attention. Some of these fears are understandable, but on the whole, talking to a funder before sending in a proposal is an excellent idea. Even the most seasoned, well-funded researchers would still do well to talk to a program officer if they have any question about proposal content.

    What should be done prior to making such a contact? An excellent first step, that should be taken immediately upon your hearing of a funding opportunity, is to carefully look at the solicitation for the program to which you are applying. Make a printout of the solicitation, get yourself to a quiet location, and read every paragraph thoroughly. Make notes about anything the solicitation says that you do not understand completely. After you have thoroughly read the solicitation—and you are still definitely interested in writing a proposal—look to see whether there is a contact person listed. Remember, that person's name and phone number is there specifically so that you, the researcher, can call to ask questions about their grant program.

    Often an email address for the contact person will be listed as well. If you wish, try sending an email requesting a “telephone appointment” with the contact person. In your email, note that you have read the solicitation thoroughly and are now interested in asking a few questions about it. Ask for a good time to call them. This approach avoids putting the contact person “on the spot”—since in some cases, they may need to do a bit of research before they are ready to speak with you about their agency’s solicitation--and can lead to a beneficial phone conversation.

    According to The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing, callers should be careful to "listen for the no." They also advise that you keep in mind three objectives for your phone call: promoting name recognition for your institution; testing the possible compatibility; and gathering information about the sponsor and their possible reaction to your project before you actually send your proposal.

    During your conversation with the funder, have your written questions at hand. Remember that in addition to getting answers to your questions, you are trying to elicit valuable information about an approach to take, a goal to include, or other "must-have" items for your research proposal. Another purpose of your call is you are demonstrating to the funder that you are serious about meeting their needs--rather than the other way around.

    Large government sponsors will usually list a designated contact person in the solicitation. Smaller foundations, however, often have limited office support and your phone calls may go unanswered. Be persistent. If your phone call is not returned, send a letter of inquiry. If your letters, emails, and phone calls go unanswered, go ahead and send your proposal anyway.

    If you would like some suggestions preparing for a call to the sponsor so that you can best develop your proposal, please email Glenn Krell at or telephone at x77141.

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    Editor: Glenn Krell, MPA, CRA

    Ali Cinar, PhD
    Dean of the Graduate College and
    Vice Provost for Research
    (312) 567-3637

    Alexander J. Flueck, PhD
    Associate Dean for Research
    (312) 567-3625

    The Staff of Research Support Services:

    Toni R. Allen
    Assistant Director
    Office of Sponsored Research & Programs
    (312) 567-3035

    Pamela Andrews
    Research Coordinator
    Office of Sponsored Research & Programs
    (312) 567-3022

    Janice D. Haney
    Administrative Assistant
    Office of Sponsored Research & Programs
    (312) 567-3035

    Glenn Krell, MPA, CRA
    Office of Research Proposal Development
    (312) 567-7141

    Robert Lapointe, MBA
    Research Projects Coordinator
    Graduate College
    (312) 567-7135

    Domenica G. Pappas, CRA
    Associate Director
    Office of Sponsored Research & Programs
    (312) 567-3035

    Mary T. Spina, CRA
    Office of Sponsored Research & Programs
    (312) 567-3035

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    Last modified: 09/27/2013 14:50:03

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