Checklist for Talk 3: Preparing to Write for a Cooperative Agreement (U series)

14 Steps

  • Do we understand how cooperative agreements differ from R and P series applications? Do we grasp that program staff will be intrinsically involved in the execution of the project? If a multiproject U, have we conceptualized projects and cores that come together around a central theme and function synergistically with each other, resulting in an entity that is greater than the sum of its parts? Do we understand how network cooperative agreements function, and are we willing to participate in one, if our FOA requires it?
  • Have we thought through the reason(s) we need a cooperative agreement? How would the work be innovative, what competitive advantage do we offer?
  • If multiproject, have we identified what scientific work we could accomplish with a center that could not be accomplished with R-level funding? Do we have complementary strengths on campus that might come together around a theme? Do we have strong facilities, potential for cores? Is our university interested in supporting this center? Is there potential to obtain funding in advance of the application?
  • If network, have we considered how we would contribute to and participate in a network of funded hubs? Why would POs want to fund this center over one from another well-qualified group, given limited funding?
  • Have we spent time learning about the myriad types of U mechanisms and considered the one that is optimal for the project we have in mind? Have we searched for active U FOAs offered by our target institute(s)?
  • Do we have several possible PIs who have a strong history of funding and publications in the relevant topic? Does s/he have experience managing multi-site or complex structures? Does s/he have leadership experience? Do our MPIs bring complementary, necessary, non-redundant expertise to the project? Do they have the bandwidth to lead the project?
  • If multiproject, have we identified project and core leads who have funding and publications in the relevant topic? Do they have leadership experience? Can they make the appropriate time commitment? Have we made strong efforts to identify leadership that identify as underrepresented?
  • Have we looked on the Reporter website to search for similar projects to firm up our choice of sponsoring institute? Have we then searched for active U FOAs sponsored by that institute? Once we select an FOA, have we read every word of it and noted all the requirements?
  • Have we set up a pre-submission meeting with program staff? Are we prepared to discuss our innovation, impact, and competitive advantage?
  • If multiproject, have we considered creating a short, simple slide presentation for the pre-submission meeting?
  • At the meeting, did we take careful notes about everything program staff said, and listened carefully to how they said it (noting enthusiasm or the lack thereof?) Did we use feedback to modify our concept to fit our funder? If program staff were not enthusiastic, have we considered another institute?
  • If multiproject, have we considered ways to obtain university support and funding before application? Have we considered strategies for obtaining funding and/or support from the state, other federal agencies, a company, or collaborators/consultants, as appropriate?
  • Have we carefully reviewed every detail of the FOA, all instructions and scoring criteria? Do we understand how the application will be reviewed?
  • Have we developed a realistic timeline to submission, taking into account whether the application is new, whether the team is experienced, and the complexity of the center?
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