Texas Tech University

How We Help: Early Career Faculty Trips to Washington

By the Research Development Team

Have you ever wondered how to begin your career as a researcher? What do you do to start on the right path of funding? How about a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with program officers, see where your research goals best fit with funding agencies, ask questions and better prepare yourself and your research for funding?

How do you know which program officer to contact? You can:

  • Review sponsor websites, directorate/program webpages, and abstracts of funded projects.
  • Review solicitations in which you are interested.
  • Ask colleagues for recommendations of sponsors, programs, and program officers to contact.

Program officers want to connect with researchers. They want to build relationships with the scientific community because they desire to fund the best science and advance the mission of the funding agency. Meeting with program officers in D.C. allows you to share your research ideas and expertise and to gain advice on applying to programs. The program officers will share with you whether your research fits within their areas of interest in the program they oversee, and they might direct you to other programs or other federal agencies where your research might be a better fit and more competitive. Not only will you let them know who you are and your research expertise, but you will also raise the profile of Texas Tech.

The Office of the Vice President for Research has a program to support travel to visit a funding agency. The Proposal Support Program requires a grant submission and a match from your department or college. Details can be found here: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/vpr/funding/proposal-support-program.php

Before meeting with the program officers, you should review their funding agencies' priorities and programs and be well-versed in any grant opportunities of interest. Prepare a 2-page concept paper (RDT can assist you with this) of your research that you can leave with the program officer, as well as your business cards. Prepare questions to ask the program officers. Remember, this is a time for you to get in front of program officers, gain insider knowledge, and get ahead in funding your research.


To learn more or to receive assistance on developing a concept paper, please contact RDT at rdt.vpr@ttu.edu today. We are more than willing to help!

Next month (October), Concept Paper