What do I Need to Know Before I Begin?
What is Harvard’s Institutional Culture and Why Does it Matter to Me?
As a new researcher at Harvard, it’s important to become familiar with the research landscape. This includes:
- The institutional culture of the University, your school or college, and your department
- Resources for research support
- The funding landscape of your discipline
- Learning about the proposal submission process
In Harvard’s decentralized environment, each school and college—sometimes each department—has its own unique culture and expectations regarding benchmarks such as tenure, promotion, and annual evaluations (manuscript, articles, publications, teaching). You should learn these expectations early on and plan your research agenda accordingly. Informal meetings with your new department colleagues and formal meetings with your department chair can be very helpful. In addition, for support and information regarding the tenure process and for information on resources to support you, faculty may schedule one on one consultations with Stephen Kargere, Assistant Dean for Science, firstname.lastname@example.org
What Resources are Available to Support Me as I Develop My Research Proposal?
How Do I Find Funding that Matches My Research Interests?
There are many sources of support at Harvard to assist you as you develop a proposal for extramural funding. Ask your department administrator what type of support exists in your department to support your proposal development efforts. Each department is unique and offers different forms of support; all provide support with proposal preparation, budget development, and grants management. Your departmental sponsored research administrator will also work closely with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), Harvard’s central office that must review your proposal before submission and who then submits the proposal to the sponsor on your behalf. Susan Gomes, email@example.com
or 617-496-9448, is available to meet with you and to assist you in identifying funding opportunities, to provide advice on developing your proposal, and to connect you with resources and tools that will enhance your ability to submit a successful proposal. Susan is also familiar with the university landscape and can help you navigate a complex environment.
Just as Harvard is a complex environment to navigate, each federal agency and private sponsor that provides research funding has unique missions, goals, and program guidelines. In general, finding funding opportunities involves identifying the sponsors and programs whose missions and goals are aligned with your research interests, reviewing abstracts of funded projects in the program that interests you, and talking with and getting feedback from program officers about how your project may align with their program’s mission, strategic priorities and goals. Learning the priorities and programs of sponsors and developing grant applications that align with these priorities is essential. Asking advice of colleagues on campus and elsewhere who have been funded in your discipline, establishing a relationship with relevant program officers, and serving as a grant panel reviewer all will increase your chances of success. There are also funding opportunity tools and resources that you can use to search for funding – those opportunities are located in the Funding Resources section of this website. For one-on-one assistance, please contact Susan Gomes, firstname.lastname@example.org
How Do I Submit a Proposal for Funding?
Researchers who have identified a funding opportunity and are thinking of submitting a research proposal should discuss their proposed projects with their department chairs or directors and sponsored research administrators. Letting your department know in advance that you plan on submitting an application will allow them to provide adequate support for your submission and provide useful advice that you need to submit a successful proposal. If you are uncertain of who can help you, contact your lead departmental administrator. If your proposal involves any commitment of resources on the part of your department or University (space, cost sharing, etc.) it is essential to discuss these items well in advance of the proposal deadline.Who Needs to Review My Proposal Before Submission?
In FAS, all requests for funding to be submitted to an external sponsor must be reviewed and approved by the following entities:
- The PI’s department or center;
- the Dean of FAS or his/her designee;
- and, on behalf of the President and Fellows of Harvard College, by the Office for Sponsored Programs or, for industry sponsored agreements, the Office for Technology Development.
In certain FAS science departments, under certain circumstances, the Laboratory Director is authorized to review and approve as the Dean’s designee before the proposal is forwarded to OSP.
To help FAS investigators and their administrators with the review process, a summary checklist called the Dean’s Approval Form (DAF) is attached to the front of all proposals submitted for review. This form is for internal use and is not submitted to the sponsor. The DAF asks for summary proposal information and also provides a convenient way to confirm that certain special issues relating to proposal submission have been anticipated and addressed.
Your department administrator will complete your DAF. FAS Research Administration Services (RAS) have assembled a set of Guidelines for Completing the Dean’s Approval Form.
If you need additional assistance, please contact Pam Baker-Webber, 617-495-9840 or email@example.com.
Proposals must be submitted to FAS OSP at least 5 days before they are due to any sponsor, to ensure sufficient time for review. Click here to go to the Proposal Submission Policy and download the memo from the Office of the Provost.
Are There Other Resources to Help Me with Grantsmanship, Managing a Lab and Managing My Research?
The Faculty Scientific Management Series introduces faculty to laboratory and research management skills that are critical to launch productive independent academic careers. This inaugural series, open to all FAS Science Faculty but targeted to assistant and associate professors, includes presentations and discussions on some of the most critical aspects in effectively directing and managing a research program at Harvard. The series includes a number of senior Harvard faculty who draw on their own experiences managing a research enterprise as well as program and scientific review officers from National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Registration is required. To register and for more information on the series, click here