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Online grant-writing workshops at USF draw hundreds of researchers

The University of South Florida’s Summer Grant Writing Workshops are proving popular with faculty, student researchers and others with more than 350 signed up for the eight-week online program, more than twice the number of last year’s registration. 

“It’s amazing to see how many have signed up to learn about grant writing and the strategies to attract funding to USF and their own particular projects,” said Sandra Justice, director of the Office of Research at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. 

Sandra Justice

Sandra Justice

Justice oversees the twice-weekly sessions, which are designed to guide researchers through the application process and develop competitive proposals. Among the topics are how and where to apply for federal grants, private foundation funding, endowments and fellowship positions. The sessions run through July 28. 

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced $955 million in grants from the Administration for Community Living to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities as communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. USF has developed online resources to communicate COVID-19 external research funding opportunities. 

Summer months are ideal for faculty and graduate students to conduct research and seek funding to continue their work through the fall and spring. The free workshops are open as well to USF alumni and external campus partners, including the Moffitt Cancer Center and the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital. 

Justice guides participants through the typical grant life cycle and how, once a grant is awarded, researchers must report significant findings and broader impacts to their sponsors. 

“It’s interesting to see the range of experience at the sessions,” she said. “We have professors who have applied for grants before and student researchers who have never applied for a grant. We walk them all through the steps and approval process and tackle specific questions.” 

karen holbrook

Karen A. Holbrook, PhD

Some inquiries are detailed and complex, particularly those involving funding for medical and scientific projects. 

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for researchers of all backgrounds and levels of expertise to learn from this program and from each other about what it takes to develop a fundable grant,” USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook said. The workshops began more than 10 years ago at the USF campus in Tampa and were held for the first time at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus in 2017. This year, for the first time, participants who complete all of the workshop modules will receive certificates of completion. 

“Faculty, staff and students on this campus are deeply engaged in research but many have not had the opportunity to develop skills in grant writing,” she said. “Sandy has been doing this for many years and has the knowledge of not only what skills are essential for developing a successful grant, but also where to look for funding related to each discipline and program. This is one of the great benefits of a consolidated USF!”

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