Courses

Strategies for Success: a Short Course for Project Directors

Upcoming Dates and Locations: June 9-11, 2015 in the Washington, DC Metro Area

*Click here for a printable pdf version of the course outline*

This three-day, intensive course will provide project directors with the key financial planning, analytical, and communication skills they need to enhance their project’s or program’s continuing development and financial sustainability.  Expert faculty will use lectures, group work, discussions, and case studies to:

  • Provide tools and tips that participants will use to assess their project and develop methods for financial sustainability
  • Introduce essential strategies for effective communication with stakeholders; and
  • Provide guidance and best practices to help participants succeed as they innovate and add value to their projects.

Who should attend?

Ideal applicants include experienced Directors and Principal Investigators of biological infrastructure projects (such as digital data resources, museum and living stocks collections, field stations, and marine laboratories) that have been established for at least two years.  Their resource must have direct relevance to the biological research community, and the applicant should be able to express their need and preparedness for training in business planning and communication.  Up to 25 participants will be selected based on these qualities, and to ensure an appropriate mix of project and participant diversity.

Course fee:

The fee to attend SBI’s Strategies for Success course is $975 per participant and includes all course materials, plus lunches and refreshments during the three course days. The course fee does not include accommodation and other meals (which participants can purchase onsite at modest cost), or travel to and from the course.

Our training approach:

We believe in learning by doing.  Our ultimate goal is for you to come away from the Strategies for Success course with an action plan and enhanced skills to improve your project’s sustainability.  Our faculty will present key concepts in course lectures, but you will spend most of your time in discussions with each other and working through relevant case studies and group assignments.

Throughout this course, you will have opportunities to engage with our expert faculty, advisory committee, and distinguished guest speakers.  We also expect participants to learn and share a lot with each other during group activities.  Please come prepared to share your own challenges, success stories, and lessons learned.

Course outline:

We’ll kick off the course and begin getting to know one another with a group dinner after participants arrive onsite.  The next three days will be very intensive and hands-on.  We’ll also ask you to come prepared with your project or program’s recent financial statements and annual report.

SessionWhat You Will Learn and Do
Day One:
Session 1: Introduction (early morning)
  • Give a mini-pitch to introduce yourself and your project;
  • Discuss your goals and objectives for attending the course;
  • Learn about your fellow participants
Session 2: Evaluate Your Current Sustainability (late morning)
  • Examine aspects of both financial and program sustainability;
  • Identify your project's business lines and their profitability and mission impact
Session 3: Finance 101 (early afternoon)
  • Learn how to analyze and communicate financial information to a variety of audiences;
  • Define a financially sustainable project;
  • Determine the financial health of your project and assess strengths and vulnerabilities
Session 4: Create Your Business Model Canvas (late afternoon)
  • Learn how to use the Business Model Canvas;
  • Create a Business Model Canvas for your own project or program
Day Two:
Session 5: Rethink Your Mission, Vision, and Future Activities (early morning)
  • Learn how to evaluate the mission and vision of your project or program;
  • Learn to use the Kellogg Logic Model as a planning and prioritization tool;
  • Plan out your project's future activities using the Kellogg Logic Model
Session 6: Measure Your Success (late morning)
  • Evaluate strategies to monitor and document project use;
  • Identify key performance indicators for your project; Discuss ways to communicate project success effectively
Session 7: Analyze Your Stakeholders (early afternoon)
  • Discuss the relationships among stakeholder analysis, communication, and financial sustainability;
  • Use a framework to conduct a stakeholder and marketing analysis for your own project
Session 8: Communicate Effectively (late afternoon)
  • Learn how to strategically communicate with different audiences;
  • Learn how to use some common marketing tips and tools;
  • Develop and present an "elevator speech," and receive feedback from other participants
Day Three:
Session 9: Harness Private Funds (early morning)
  • Analyze your project for private funding potential;
  • Learn how to make federal grant proposals into private foundation proposals;
  • Discuss the possibilities of licensing and commercial partnerships
Session 10: Next Steps (late morning)
  • Learn how to make the best use of your institutional resources;
  • Develop a plan for post-award or turn-down communications
Session 11: Make the Pitch (afternoon)
  • Practice pitching an idea to course participants and faculty who will play the role of potential funders;
  • Receive feedback on the content, style, and delivery of your pitch
Closing
  • Keeping in touch with the SBI team and alumni;
  • Evaluations and Certificates

How to apply:

We are now accepting applications for a February 6 deadline.  Please visit the How To Apply page for more information and to access the online application form. If you have questions at any point, please contact Jill Parsons, ESA Science Programs Manager at sbi@esa.org