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Grant Consulting

The Office of Research has contracted with Hanover Research, a grant development firm headquartered in 
Arlington, VA, to provide grant consultant services to UTHSC faculty. The primary goal of this partnership is to increase the quality and success rate of extramural research proposals.

Hanover helps to strengthen competitive grant proposals to federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as grants to private and non-profit foundations. Hanover Grants Consultants work with faculty by providing reviews that underscore key insights into funder priorities and recommendations for improvement.

Hanover Services

Hanover can touch a proposal up to two times, based on any combination of the services outlined below. The number of reviews and level of service Hanover can provide varies depending on the turnaround time required by the proposal.
Consultation
Proposal Review Services
Grantsmanship Training and Workshops

 

Consultations

Consultations are an excellent option for PIs seeking advice on how to frame a research project to match a funder’s priorities. Sessions are conducted via conference call and are generally one hour in length with the PI option to close out Hanover’s engagement with a subsequently scheduled 30-minute follow-up call. Please request phone consultations at least one-week prior to the date you would like the phone call to take place.

Hanover offers three types of consultation sessions:

  • Unfunded Proposal Consult: For PIs preparing to resubmit a previously declined proposal but uncertain how to address reviewer feedback and other critiques within the rewrite.
  • Research Design Consult: For PIs needing guidance on how to pitch a research idea to a program officer.
  • Grantseeking Strategy Consult: For PIs looking for expert advice on how to frame a research idea to better align with a funder’s strategic priorities.
Proposal Review Services

Hanover offers up to two waves of review from a Grants Consultant for each proposal. The two waves can include any combination of the following services described below: (1) margin comments on the narrative draft with recommendations surrounding alignment of the proposal to the grant opportunity’s guidelines and funder’s expectations; (2) a brief memo outlining high-level recommendations; and (3) a debrief teleconference call with a Grants Consultant.

Our contract with Hanover allows fora maximum of six concurrent projects at any given time, therefore proposals will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Every effort will be made to accommodate all PI requests, but due to this limitation, some projects may need to wait in the queue until a space opens in the pipeline. Given this, please plan to request services as early as possible to allow ample time for review.

Proposal Review Services include comments in the margins of the text, highlighting where the proposal can better align with funder guidelines and priorities.

  • Prescriptive Feedback: Real and actionable insight into how to improve a proposal. While we may highlight strength areas, our focus is on helping the PI zero in on what can be improved.
  • A Close Eye: While “reviews” do not include redlining within the text, they may highlight a need for the PI to proofread or otherwise address the writing itself prior to submission.
  • Key Findings: When delivered, reviews are attached to a concise email that outlines the Grants Consultant’s primary observations. These include identifying strengths and weaknesses, and outlining opportunities for shaping a more competitive proposal.
  • Consultation: A phone debrief with the Grants Consultant is often possible upon request.

The number of reviews and level of service Hanover can provide varies depending on the turnaround time required by the proposal. Typical turnaround Time for review is two weeks.

Grantsmanship Training and Workshops

In addition to the project specific support described above, a Hanover Grants consultant will work with leadership and faculty to create one (1) on-site training per year that will last two (2) full days and incorporate 
one-on-one consultations to faculty.

Hanover will also conduct two (2) webinars per year and work with
 leadership and faculty to construct topics.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I Request Hanover’s Services?

The Office of Research Development (ORD) manages the pipeline of projects submitted to Hanover Research. Our contract with Hanover allows for a maximum of six concurrent projects at any given time, therefore proposals will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Every effort will bemade to accommodate all PI requests, but due to this limitation, some projects may need to wait in the queue until a space opens in the pipeline. Given this, please plan to request services as early as possible to allow ample time for review.


To request Hanover’s services, faculty members must submit a completed Proposal Summary Form to Lisa Youngentob at lyoungen@uthsc.edu. Once the completed form and associated requested materials have been received, the ORD will forward the materials to Hanover. Chris Gray at Hanover will contact the PI letting the investigator know where he/she is in the queue and a timeline that services will be completed.

How does Hanover work with each PI?
After a proposal is accepted into the pipeline, Chris Gray from Hanover Research emails the PI to introduce the assigned grants consultant. Next, Hanover schedules a project initiation conference call 
prior to the start of work. Project initiation calls give the PI an opportunity to discuss specific areas of concern with
 the assigned grants consultant and to share reviewer feedback (if available). After Hanover releases its deliverables, the PI is afforded the opportunity for a debrief conference call to discuss
Hanover’s critique and to address any outstanding questions or concerns.
Hanover offers two waves of review/consultation, what does this mean?

Hanover offers up to two waves of review from a Grants Consultant for each proposal. The two waves caninclude any combination of services: (1) two phone consultations; (2) one phone consultation and one proposal review; (3) two proposal reviews.

Does Hanover have experience with a wide range of funders?

Yes, Hanover has experience with many federal, private, and nonprofit funders. Representative funders include the NIH, NSF, DOD, PCORI, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What types of grants will Hanover work with?
Hanover will work with many different grant mechanisms including individual grants (e.g. K, R0I, R21, R03), program project grants, 
center grants, and institutional training grants. They will work with new submissions, 
resubmissions, and competing renewal applications. Hanover will not review grants for internal competitions.
What parts of a research proposal will Hanover critique?

Hanover’s proposal critiques primarily focus on the narrative components of a research proposal - namely the specific aims 
page, research strategy, and (for resubmissions) the introduction. Faculty are welcome to provide Hanover additional narrative components (e.g. facilities and resources, biosketches, resource sharing plan).

Will Hanover be reviewing the underlying science/scientific merit of my proposal?

Hanover’s value lies in its understanding of proposal and agency nuances 
that can help PIs competitively reframe proposals in response to a specific solicitation. Grant consultants are not subject matter experts who can evaluate the specific science
 of a research proposal.They do seek to achieve cohesion in the grant narrative and to align the proposal with funding requirements. A
Hanover grants consultant may address general scientific elements of a proposal, such as:

  • Construct or structure of the hypothesis and methodology: While Hanover does not provide 
“scientific reviews”, its grants consultants will flag 
areas where they think research questions, aims, and hypotheses could be strengthened and better aligned.
  • Literature review: Hanover grants consultants will note places where a citation is needed and has not been 
included.
  • Clarity and focus: When they suspect that narrative content lacks sufficient clarity, consistency, or rigor,
 Hanover grants consultants will pose questions to encourage the PI to verify the science, and/or suggest a 
review by a senior colleague or program officer.
Who can use Hanover's services?

To be eligible for Hanover’s services, the investigator must be a faculty member with a primary appointment at any UTHSC campus.

Is there a fee associated with using Hanover’s grant consultation services?
No, Hanover’s services are generously supported by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, so there is no fee for service required of faculty members or their departments.
What documents am I required to submit to Hanover?

For proposal reviews, most faculty submit the abstract, specific aims, and research strategy. Please note, for resubmissions of unfunded proposals and
 competing renewal applications, PIs will be asked to provide a copy of the original submission along with reviewers’
 comments (e.g., summary statement).

How far ahead must I request Hanover’s services? What is the turn-around time for Hanover to get my proposal back to me?

To allow Hanover time to assign the best suited consultant to respond to your request, phone consultation requests must be submitted at least one week ahead. Proposal review requests must be submitted two weeks (10 business days) ahead. Once you are in the pipeline, Hanover will get your proposal review back to you within 10 business days. You will not be put in the pipeline until Hanover has received all required proposal information that is outlined on the Proposal Summary Form.

How does Hanover protect the confidentiality of PI materials?

Hanover uses secure file-sharing via encrypted email. If the PI desires another layer of protection beyond encryption, please provide this information when Chris Gray from Hanover makes his initial contact.

Will Hanover provide copy editing services for my proposal?

No, editing proposal content for clarity and effective use of language, (including punctuation and grammar) is not included in Hanover’s services, although, these services are available through the UTHSC Office of Scientific Writing.

Can you tell me more about the Hanover Research?

Established in 2003, Hanover Research is a consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia that provides grant development and market research solutions to education and healthcare clients across the United States. Hanover’s grants professionals provide customized research, training, and proposal support to clients, while also helping to align their needs and strategic priorities to federal, state, and foundation funding opportunities.

Hanover’s grant professionals have collectively more than 150 years of grantsmanship experience
 that cuts across a wide range of foundations and federal agencies. Hanover has worked extensively with higher education institutions to grow their research portfolios and has helped clients to secure more than $500 million in
 awarded grants. The company’s grants practice supports both junior faculty members and seasoned investigators seeking to
 strengthen their grantsmanship skills.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Please direct questions to Lisa Youngentob, Director if the Office of Research Development at lyoungen@uthsc.edu or (901) 448-1277.

Last Published: Sep 18, 2018