Three CCI faculty members, Associate Professor Beth Avery (AdvPR), Assistant Professor Nick Geidner (JEM), and Assistant Professor Jonathan Pettigrew (CS), were among 12 UTK faculty members who participated in the UTK Office of Research and Engagement’s 2013 Summer Grant Writing Institute (GWI). Pettigrew and Avery shared their thoughts about the GWI. Pettigrew said, “The Grant Writing Institute was a rewarding experience, and I am grateful to those who made it possible for me to attend. We not only learned about the process of writing grants and developing professional relationships with a sponsoring agency, but we also had the opportunity to meet mentors, faculty, and graduate fellows in an interdisciplinary forum. We also were introduced to people at UTK who are eager to assist in grant writing efforts. Meeting these faculty and staff was, for me, the most valuable part of the GWI. I was surrounded by a network of capable mentors who critiqued my ideas and writing, offered valuable grant writing “insider tips,” and encouraged excellence in my grant proposal development.”
“Participating in the Grant Writing Institute was an invaluable experience,” said Avery. “The multi-tiered learning approach, including workshops with Bob Porter, peer discussion groups, meetings with our mentors, and the trip to D.C. to meet with program officers at NIH and NSF, created a comprehensive and intense yet comfortable learning environment. After receiving tenure, my writing focus has shifted heavily to procuring the external funding I need to advance my research stream. So this was the perfect opportunity at the perfect time! I now realize that the grant writing process is a lot like the publishing process; you have to approach it with determination, confidence, perseverance, hard work, and a thick skin! In the Institute we learned detailed relational and writing nuances of the process that would otherwise be elusive to find. I want to thank Suzie Allard for her excellent mentoring as well as Dean Wirth and CCI for giving me this truly incredible opportunity! I hope to pay it forward in the near future!”
As mentioned above, the Institute included an intensive two-day trip to visit federal funding agencies in Washington, D.C. to improve GWI participants’ ability to compete for funding. In addition to the three CCI faculty participants, Associate Professor Suzie Allard (IS) participated as a mentor and Kyle Heuett (CS), Jaclyn Cameron (JEM) and Scott Eldredge (CS) attended as graduate fellows. Allard said, “What stood out for me is the hard work that all the participants put in and the faculty’s high talent level from across the University.”
According to the most recent Chancellor’s progress report on the Journey to the Top 25, UTK has increased funding for research from a total of $165 million in 2010 to $208 million in 2012. Funded research provides opportunities for student research participation and income to support an expanded base of graduate students. The academic prestige of high quality research also enhances the University’s reputation, which in turn aids in the recruitment of top students and faculty.