Next Steps: Once the Decision Has Been Made
Once the granting agency has made a decision, several things can happen.
1. A rejection can trigger bouts of recrimination and remorse, of course! But what it should trigger is careful thought, requests for feedback from the decision-makers at the agency, and a determination to go back again with a further request. Alternatively, it may simply be that this agency and your proposal are not a good match, or that their funds have run out this cycle. Further research to find more profitable sources is now suggested.
2. A grant is awarded, but the conditions are changed from those you sought. Often this means you have less funds than expected. In this case, work with the Research Office to ensure that you can complete a modified version of the work you planned to undertake.
3. The grant is awarded in full. Some experienced researchers think this is, in fact, the worst news. It’s great fun to think up research ideas, but when you’re funded you have to do something about them. Life is not quite the same any more, and you have obligations that may stretch over a long time period, and much work to do. So it’s time to get organized. So, to start with, when funds are received, either in part of in full, you should send a copy of the letter or email to the grants office so that an account can be established for you, and so that publicity can be arranged to celebrate your achievement.
Bill Ray (email@example.com) in the Finance Office opens research accounts. The Research Office will advise Bill when new funds are received, and he will start the process of opening an account for you. Normally your dean and you will be able to sign on the account. You may wish to have an administrative person in your College also listed as a signer. Bill Ray and staff in Finance and Administration track expenses and make financial reports when requested. But the overall responsibility for making timely reports to the funding agency rests with you. As with every other stage, you can expect the Research Office, and, when needed, the Finance and Administration Office, to assist you in this task. But you should take the lead in bringing these reports to completion.
Of course, maintaining excellent relationships to donors and major funding agencies is of paramount importance. On it rests our ability to seek further funding, and to gather the information we need to keep the research enterprise working smoothly. So, obviously, it is in your interests, and the interest of the campus as a whole, to ensure reports and other communications are attended to in a thorough and timely fashion.
In order to make sure this happens, be sure to develop a reporting plan with the Research Office. In this fashion, a calendar triggering system can be put in place to ensure you get timely reminders of reporting dates, and sufficient time to prepare materials. This in turn allows the research agencies you are dealing with to establish a relationship with you that reflects your professionalism and thoroughness, which clearly improves your chances of later support.