Four faculty members from within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences recently traveled to Washington, DC as part of the inaugural DC Days program. Created by the OARDC Director’s Office and the Grant Development Support Unit, the program was designed to increase the competitiveness of grants submitted by emerging faculty researchers by providing them an opportunity to visit with a variety of federal agencies and program officers.
During these meetings, program officers and administrators were asked to give an overview of the agency’s mission, their approach to funding research, and the submission process. Anticipated outcomes were that participants would learn more about structuring a research proposal to fit within the agency’s requirements and the importance of tailoring a basic research idea to meet the needs and priorities of the funding agency. There was also some basic training before the trip concerning how best to communicate with program officers and how to form professional connections.
Participants began at the National Institutes of Health with a presentation by a Program Officer and a tour of the campus in Bethesda, Maryland including the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center. There was also a chance to sit down with OSU alumnus Sally Rockey, the Deputy Director for Extramural Research. The afternoon was filled with a meeting at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to hear about Feed the Future, USAID’s initiative aimed at global hunger and food security.
While visiting United States Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), faculty members were fortunate to be able to spend some one-on-one time with program officers in their area of research to help focus and refine future proposals. They also had this opportunity during a similar visit to the National Science Foundation.
Faculty returned feeling empowered to make use of the contacts they made and with a better sense of what might be successful at the individual agencies. It was also a chance to form professional relationships with other OSU faculty members and staff.
The faculty members chosen to participate in this program were selected from a pool of applicants. If you are interested in being part of the next trip, please watch your email for more information about the selection process. Contact the Grant Development Support Unit for more nformation.
Photo (left to right): Sarah Elvey (GDSU), Lauren Pintor (Environment & Natural Resources), Francesca Peduto Hand (Plant Pathology), Dr. Bill Ravlin (Associate Director, OARDC), Peter Piermarini (Entomology), Lori Kaser (GDSU), Reed Johnson (Entomology)