We know, contacting program officers can be nerve-racking, and for good reason. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that program officers are there to help when you need it.
We came across this great article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Michael J. Spires titled, “What to Say – and Not Say – to Program Officers.” Some of his advice is very straightforward: If you have a question make sure you have exhausted all other resources before contacting the program officer. This includes thoroughly examining the grant guidelines and reaching out to your institution’s research administration team for help. Some advice is less obvious. For instance, Spires reminds us not to assume that ‘no’ is the end of a discussion. Ask your program officer, “Is there a way to move to a ‘yes’ here?” Program officers, he says, “Have a vested interest in helping you craft a quality proposal, so let them do it.”
Check out the article on The Chronicle’s website.