Richelle Weihe Proposal Development Unit Manager wrichell@med.umich.edu

Richelle Weihe
Proposal Development Unit Manager
wrichell@med.umich.edu

As the proposal development unit manager, could you explain to members some of the services you offer and how they can benefit most from them?
I take a holistic view to proposal management and that is why I offer proposal management services ranging from totally hands on to mostly hands off at three stages across the proposal process. Those stages are Pre-RFP, RFP, and Post Submission. At the Pre-RFP stage I can help members develop their strategy for a proposal by doing things such as tracking opportunities, helping them position for an opportunity, and by assisting them with opportunity planning through processes like compression planning and SWOT/GAP analyses. Once a member has an opportunity they want to pursue we are at the RFP stage. I add value to a proposal through things such as assessing an opportunity, developing win strategies and themes, checklist and calendar development, editing and graphics planning, and color team review coordination. My involvement in a proposal can, but doesn’t have to end after a proposal submission, which is what I consider to be the third stage of the proposal process. I am available to help plan, prepare and coach members for site visits, schedule and facilitate debriefing and lessons learned meetings, and if a proposal is unsuccessful, I can help incorporate sponsor feedback and determine next steps. Members can benefit most these services by simply taking that first step to call or email me to set up a quick consult so we can work together to see how I can add value to their proposals.

In terms of applying for funding, what's the best advice you can offer researchers?
I don’t think I can limit my advice to just one thing. I’d tell members to start thinking strategically year over year about where they want to go with their funding and research and put a plan in place to accomplish that goal, including specifics about which opportunities they want to pursue.  This is also something I’m happy to help them with. Also, in today’s funding landscape where things are becoming more competitive, I would encourage members to start the proposal development process (and contact me!) early whenever possible. Beginning early will enable them not just simply apply to an opportunity, but to apply competitively. Assessing competitiveness is also an area where I can add value.

You've recently launched a new funding opportunity website as an exclusive resource to members. How can members make the most of this site?
First, the site is really user friendly. Members can use their university credentials and their level 1 password to access the website and look around for opportunities. Once they’ve landed on the home page, they can either scan the list of curated opportunities or search for their research key words. Second, the information contained in the listing for each opportunity is very thorough. Members, at a glance should have enough information to help them determine if the opportunity is right for them. Finally, members can make the most of this site by never hesitating to contact me if they don’t see an opportunity they were expecting, or have basic information on an upcoming opportunity they want me to take a deep dive on, or to track for them. 

Halloween is just around the corner! Do you have any costume ideas or celebrations planned?
I LOVE Halloween! I also love to make my own costumes and usually start building/sewing them obscenely early, like in August/September. The more creative the better! I am fairly new to town so I don’t have any plans yet, but if I do find something, I may go as the tooth fairy (complete with 3-foot toothbrush) or I might re-use my owl or Flo from Progressive Insurance costume from years past.