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How's It Going?

Foundations want to be kept up-to-date on how their grantees' work is progressing, and Ingrid Eisenstadter, the director of grants for the Eppley Foundation for Research, writes at Nature Jobs that grantees have to familiarize themselves with reporting requirements. She notes that failure to follow the requirements or meet reporting deadlines could affect your chances for future funds.

To write these reports, Eisenstadter says grantees should follow the format the foundation requires, if there is one, and should avoid copying and pasting text from their proposals into the progress reports. Instead, she suggests summarizing the work completed, with details following on subsequent pages.

"A sensible way to proceed is to address each subsection as it appeared in your proposal," she says. "If your proposal listed steps such as 'select a 40-patient cohort, collect weekly blood samples, and sequence viruses', repeat these headings in your report. Under each heading, describe your progress."

Of course, things don't always go as planned, and in that case, Eisenstadter says grantees should notify their funding foundation if they have to deviate from their original research proposal. Minor changes, she says, are nearly always approved by her foundation, but more major ones could lead to problems.

Still, if you're unsure about something, ask. "Do not drown your granter with enquiries — always search the foundation's website first," Eisenstadter says. "But the occasional request for clarification will reduce your risk and save time for applicant and granter alike."