NNLM PSR has completed three projects related to our funding program. First, please visit our map of funded awards. This new website lets you zoom in on activities in your area and provides a brief overview of funded projects from 2016 to the present. Most entries include links to articles or other press about project achievements, and in the future we hope to include personal success stories from award recipients! Second, we added a funding guide to the NNLM PSR website, designed to answer common questions about the application process and provide a reference for award recipients to understand and comply with NNLM reporting guidelines. If you need forms, have questions about terminology, or want to know which awards are available, you’ll want to bookmark this resource. Our third project, a funding survey that closed in early October, gathered feedback about ideal outreach funding scenarios and barriers to applying for awards. Fifty-three PSR Network members responded to the survey. Although the current grant year’s funding cycle is halfway over, this exercise gave us valuable insight into our awards process that we will use in 2019 and beyond!
Overall, most respondents felt the NNLM PSR awards program is adequate, but it’s clear that we need to refine our marketing/publicity efforts. Nearly 70% of respondents have not applied for funding, and 42% cited a “lack of knowledge about funding opportunities” as the most significant barrier for not applying for an award. Institutional barriers such as a “lack of staff resources” (36%) or “lack of time” (36%) to implement a project were expected, but we were encouraged to see that very few respondents found the application process “difficult or time-consuming.”
Early in the survey we asked, “What type of funding award would be most helpful to your organization?” The top three answers were Health Literacy (55%), Health Outreach (49%), and Technology Enhancement (43%).
Although we expected more interest in Disaster Preparedness from members in our region, the responses to this question dovetail with NLM’s emphasis on data science and developing partnerships with public libraries. Network members were also asked open-ended questions about ideal funding scenarios. The question that garnered the greatest response was, “If time and personnel were not a consideration, is there a ‘moonshot’ project that you would pursue to expand health information services in your community?” Some of the innovative ideas offered were:
There were also great suggestions to provide better resources for non-English speakers, partner with campus research centers, and help consumers navigate the healthcare system. All of the presented ideas have been recorded, and we hope to implement some of them in targeted award offerings in 2019.
To gauge interest in receiving help with proposal development, we posed a few questions about writing assistance or training. The responses to most questions were overwhelmingly positive. For example, 80% of respondents answered yes to the question, “Would you be interested in grant-writing assistance?”
Some respondents offered suggestions to make the award application process easier:
We also asked about specific forms of support in the question, “Would any of the following resources make it easier for your organization to apply for funding?”
The vast majority of respondents (90%) noted that award templates would be helpful, and more than half were interested in writing assistance (61%) and/or grant-writing training (51%). Nearly 80% of respondents were interested in a mini-site showing funded projects. As mentioned above, the good news is that we recently posted an interactive map of our recent awards. Check it out!
In conjunction with questions about proposal assistance, we asked which health education topics are of most interest for promotional purposes. For subject matter, the most selected topics were technology-focused (e.g., integrating technology into instruction; producing online videos; designing mobile health apps) or broad-based (e.g., promoting consumer health literacy; partnering with community groups). The highest-rated topic, evidence-based medicine (EBM) (44%), was somewhat of a surprise on a list with 25 options, but that may reflect EBM’s relevance to medical students, clinicians, and policymakers as well as information scientists. MedlinePlus (64%), PubMed (52%), and mobile apps (55%), all longstanding popular NLM resources, topped the list for resources to highlight in a potential project.
Funding is an important part of NNLM’s mission, and we are thankful that more than 50 people took the time to complete the survey. Following are some major takeaways:
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the questionnaire! Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help shape the RML’s future funding awards. If you have questions about anything presented in this article or would like to discuss funding opportunities, please contact the NNLM PSR office.