100% recognize Mission to DC as funding asset

One hundred percent of faculty respondents who’ve participated in a Mission to DC found the trip helpful to their efforts to secure outside funding for their research. That’s according to a survey sent to 59 faculty members who participated in a mission within the past three years and 36 faculty who responded to a follow-up survey one year later.

In fact, the trips were so helpful that 40 percent of respondents said they actually received funding in the past year as a direct result of their missions.
“Meeting with program directors at supporting foundations is vitally important for our faculty and is a strategic investment of both time and money,” said Jim Petersen, vice provost of research. “There’s really no substitute for that personal interaction.

“Traveling in small groups also provides time for faculty members to generate ideas for collaborative research proposals.”

Of those responding to the survey, 47 percent found the mission very helpful, 36 percent somewhat helpful and 17 percent slightly helpful. Even if it results in no funding, 55 percent said the trip was very helpful, 36 percent somewhat helpful, 6 percent slightly helpful and 3 percent not helpful.

And though they agreed lack of time was the biggest barrier to applying for and securing grant funding, respondents said the time they invested in their Mission to DC definitely was worthwhile; 67 percent strongly agreed, 30 percent agreed and 3 percent disagreed.

Before their missions, 62 percent of respondents said they had been awarded a research grant or contract, while 32 percent had not. In the year following their trips, 83 percent received grants or contracts, while 17 percent did not.
The percent of small and medium-sized grants, especially, saw an increase, as illustrated below:
   
                                      Before           After

No grant                             18%          11%
Less than $25,000                7%          11%
$25,001-$50,000                 3%            8%
$50,001-100,000                 7%           14%
$100,001-$200,000            13%            6%
$200,001-$400,000            10%          25%
$400,001-$800,000            10%            6%
More than $800,000           32%          19%

In addition to the monetary benefits from Mission to DC, the trips also reaffirmed to participants WSU’s commitment to them. When asked whether WSU positively supported their scholarly growth and/or research efforts, 84 percent agreed before going on their mission, while 94 percent agreed in the year after they returned.
“I’m pleased we can develop programs that support our faculty as they seek funds to advance their scholarship,” Petersen said.

“Such funding enhances the scholarship conducted by the faculty and the university’s reputation. It provides a rich educational opportunity for our students to work in a face-to-face manner with our outstanding faculty.”

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