Winning win themes

Academia has only recently caught up to private industry proposal development practices. For example, more and more color team reviews are being applied to large-scale and/or more complex proposals and there is emerging interest in capture management as professional designation.

One industry concept that is tough to explain and promote is the concept of “win themes”. Too often, we think that win themes are simply what our university has on tap, readily available for use in our proposed program….

We have thousands of students.

But without connecting what we have with how we are uniquely using or applying the resource, it doesn’t differentiate us from the crowd…..

ASU is ranked xx in online course delivery, enabled through the development of specialized learning environments for thousands of students enrolled in online courses.

And, without connecting that with a perceived or real sponsor need, we cannot hope to satisfy the sponsor requirements….

ASU will improve student experience and subject matter mastery for XXXX participants by designing, testing, and evaluating specialized, adaptive learning environments using proprietary online course software, which currently serves over XX00 students annually in a nationally recognized program.*

I recently read an amazing article: “How to create winning proposal themes” that should be required reading for anyone interested in exploring the use of win themes. As with all challenging concepts, practice makes perfect! From my experience, a concerted win theme development period at the beginning of a proposal is priceless for identifying and agreeing to overall proposal strategy.

* These are examples only and have not been vetted, nor approved for use.

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About Faye Farmer

As Associate Director of the Research Strategy Group, Faye contributes to the development of high impact, high dollar trans-disciplinary, intra/inter-university proposals and other collaborative research opportunities in support of ASU’s mission. Faye is a results driven performer. She received her B.S. from the University of Arizona in Plant Sciences and her M.S. from Arizona State University in Plant Biology. She has over five years experience in proposal management, technical editing, and writing. Her previous experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Southern Africa, a laboratory technician, and educator, round out a skill set that emphasizes collaboration, clarity, and alacrity. She is an active member of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP), the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), and Friends of Lesotho.

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