Techniques in Writing IV 
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IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF WRITING A PROPOSAL IV

One of the key factors in getting your proposal funded is selling your idea to the reviewers. So, how do you sell your idea? There are many techniques for doing this.

Sometimes, often in fact, there will be weaknesses in the position behind your proposal. This is a risk factor that is supposed to be there. It is one of the reasons for the SBIR program: to support early risky projects that would not be able to attract venture/angel funding due to the high risk.

NSF encourages this type of proposal and the reviewers at NSF approach risk in this spirit as well.

The NIH is different. The NIH is risk averse. Most reviewers are so used to the no risk RO1 review style that it is difficult for them to adjust to the spirit of the SBIR review criteria.

There are several ways to write your application so that the reviewers will be more likely to accept the risk. Aside from providing preliminary data, which reduces the risk, you can address the risk explicitly in terms of a business venture. First show the reviewer that the reward is high. Next, show the reviewer that the most efficient way to test feasibility is to do the high risk experiments first. That is, if one were to first carry out the preliminary studies to reduce the risk, their cost would not justify the savings of avoiding the high risk experiments in the proposal. Be sure to put this aspect of the proposal in terms of a business venture and not a scientific venture.

This technique gives you the highest probability that the reviewer will walk away with the right idea of the reason for carrying out the risky set of experiments with the high gain.

Finally, for high risk ventures, keep the budget as low as possible. The budget is only discussed after the review is complete, but it still enters into the score whether it is supposed to or not. I have seen this happen many times. Therefore when risky experiments are proposed, keep the budget as low as possible.

For more specific and additional information on this topic, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.



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Techniques in Writing III 
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IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF WRITING A PROPOSAL III

One of the key factors in getting your proposal funded is selling your idea to the reviewers. So, how do you sell your idea? There are many techniques for doing this.

Another important technique is to always put your ideas into the context of the broader picture and then drill down to the details.

A common mistake is for applicants to write their whole application like a marketing brochure, which by definition lacks details.

Make no mistake about it, the application is indeed a marketing tool; but it is just not a brochure. Your audience is looking for the meat in the application. So it is fine to start with broad generalizations, but then drill down to the facts that support the broad statements.

A good technique to use is to use your topic sentence of key paragraphs to give the bottom line of the paragraph. Then give a broad generalization to put the paragraph into context. Then drill down to the facts that lead to the final sentence of the paragraph. This final sentence should be a restatement of the topic sentence.

This technique gives you the highest probability that the reviewer will walk away with the right idea of the paragraph. Many reviewers will only remember the first sentence of a paragraph. If the bottom line is not there, then they will never get the point.

Have you ever gotten back a critique from a reviewer in which it appears that the reviewer never read the application? Everybody has. The above writing style is one technique that you can use to increase the chances that the reviewers will indeed get your point and understand it.

Use this technique to your advantage.

For more specific and additional information on this topic, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.



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Techniques in Writing II 
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IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF WRITING A PROPOSAL II

One of the key factors in getting your proposal funded is selling your idea to the reviewers. So, how do you sell your idea? There are many techniques for doing this.

Another important technique is to always control the reviewers’ thought process in terms of where their mind will wander as they read your application.

As the reviewers read your application, their minds will start to ask questions. You must learn to anticipate these questions and answer them immediately in your writing. If you do not answer them immediately (or say where in the application the answer can be found), then one of two bad things can happen or one of two good things can happen.

For the good, a reviewer might forget the question and move on or the reviewer might figure out the correct answer, thus no problem.

However, why take that chance in a proposal?

When writing a proposal, take steps to reduce the risk of failure and increase the probability of success.

Here are two bad things that can happen when you let the reviewers' minds wander:

First and worst, they will come up with the wrong answer to the question that was left hanging. You do not want this to happen.

Second, a feeling of incompleteness in the application will set in, even if the question is addressed later. Do not expect the reviewer to put in the effort to keep everything straight. That is your job as the applicant. The reviewer has a lot of applications to go over and does it in a short period of time, so make the proposal as easy and thought free to read as possible.

Use this technique to your advantage.

For more specific and additional information on this topic, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.



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Techniques for Writing I 
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IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF WRITING A PROPOSAL

One of the key factors in getting your proposal funded is selling your idea to the reviewers. So, how do you sell your idea? There are many techniques for doing this.

One important technique is to gain the reviewers' trust. Do not upset their comfort level. To accomplish this, you must know your field and repeat the field dogma. Do not challenge the current dogma in the background section. SBIR grant applications that will change the current paradigm are few, so you really do not have to worry about this. Do not try to position your application to appear as if it does change the current paradigm unless it actually does, which is very rare.

Almost always, your idea will extend the current paradigm. Put your idea in this context. That way the reviewers will feel that they trust your judgment. They have seen that you understand what they understand and they can see the logical extension. Now you have their trust and they will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in other areas of the application. In fact, they will want to give you a good score because they trust you and feel comfortable with your proposal, so they will be willing to overlook other areas of weakness.

I have seen this happen many times. Use this technique to your advantage.

For more specific and additional information on this topic, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.



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NIH Reviewers II 
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NIH REVIEWERS

Picking up from last weeks thoughts, methods descriptions are also important for the NIH, whereas they are far less important for most other agencies.

NSF, DoD, DoE, and the other funding sources that I have worked with are very logical and goal oriented in their grant review process. They are clearly focused on whether the product is significant, whether the team can make the product, and whether a market exists for the product. This is clearly seen from the bare bones and focused approach to writing the application and reviewing the application for these funding sources.

On the other hand, the NIH is more focused on academic credentials, as opposed to real life credentials and methods versus “can this group do it?”

Most other funding agencies assume that you can do the experiments outlined in your application as long as you have demonstrated success in this area or similar areas before. The agencies do not require a complete description of the experimental design and methods, as would be found in a publication. Most NIH reviewers do require this type of detail.

There are numerous reasons for this. First and foremost, this type of information is asked for in the application from the NIH, whereas it is not asked for in the applications of the other agencies. Again, this reflects the academic bent of the NIH, as opposed to a real life get it done attitude of the other agencies.

Thus for NIH applications, be sure to put in all the details of an experimental design and methods. Lack of details is one of the most common reasons why truly outstanding applications do not get funded by the NIH. Other agencies avoid this problem by assuming that if an applicant can show that they have already accomplished a task, then they should not have to describe that task in detail…clearly the team already knows how to do it. The NIH insists on knowing how you did the task, just in case you did not do it right the first time; so be sure to include sufficient details for NIH proposals.

Reviewers are instructed to not get caught up in the details and to ask the bigger question: can the team succeed given the overall approach? However, my experience has shown me time that most reviewers do get caught up in the need for details of the experiments. As a result, they sink excellent applications when all of the details of the methods are not present. A typical reviewer response is: “How can I evaluate the application if the methods are not complete?” To avoid this problem, be sure to include all of the details for NIH applications.

This weakness is being addressed by the current head of CSR, however it is difficult to change the course of a large ship overnight. In the meantime, be sure to put in the necessary details for the experimental approach and methods.

For more specific and additional information on this topic, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.



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