Why You Need a Great Data Management Plan for Your Grant Proposal—and Beyond

Data management plans are an important piece of grant proposals. Most federal grants, in particular, require such a plan, as do some private foundation grant proposals. So, it’s important to know what the data management plan requirements are and make certain that the grant proposal provides the required data management plan details.


At Boost Midwest, we encourage our clients to submit a complete data management plan with their grant proposal that is appropriate to their specific project in an effort to find greater success in grant awards and in successfully managing the data generated by the project.


Even if your grant doesn’t require a data management plan, there are significant benefits from developing one. Some of these benefits are:

  • The grant will meet the specific data management requirements mandated by the grant funding agencies.

  • An increase in impact and visibility for the grant.

  • Simplifying the process so you can easily find your data when you need it.

  • Avoiding duplication of data.

  • Saving time so you have more time to focus on the grant project itself.

So, what exactly is a data management plan, or DMP? A data management plan is a formal document that outlines how a grant project will handle its data during and after the project. Apart from any additional requirements requested by a specific grant application, a basic DMP should include:

  • A description of the data that will be created.

  • The standards used to describe the data.

  • The owner of the data.

  • How long the data will be preserved.

  • How long the data will be accessible.

  • A data access and sharing policy.

  • An archiving and long-term storage plan.

In addition, implementing a data management plan helps in two distinct ways:

Organization: When you manage your data in a pre-set, structured way, you can better understand the details and procedures relating to your data and data collection throughout the lifecycle of the project, making it easier to fulfill the data requirements of the grant.

Recognition: The data you collect for your grant project is a unique contribution so preserving it means that your work may be recognized—and built upon—by others. This means the data can support future research and facilitate new discoveries.


The WorkRight example:

Start-up company WorkRight LLC (a pseudonym) applied for an innovation grant from a state agency to fund the creation of and pilot program of a mobile app that would allow its clients to track employee travel time. The grant proposed that the app would use open source code and be free to nonprofits and public state agencies, requirements of the grant. The grant also required a data management plan, which raised questions of privacy when it came to data sharing and storing, in particular for employees employed by a private company.


WorkRight LLC proposed the following Data Management Plan, as a first draft:

Description: WorkRight LLC will capture data of employee travel time in real time as they travel to meetings and appointments with clients.


Standards: Data will be collected in miles traveled cross-referenced with the hours and minutes spent traveling.


Ownership: The data will be fully owned by the company or organization that generates it.


Preservation: WorkRight LLC will either transfer the data collected to its client for storage or, at the client’s request, preserve the data on WorkRight servers.


Accessibility: The data will be encrypted to preserve privacy of the employees whose travel time is tracked by the app with encryption keys provided only to the client.


Data sharing: WorkRight LLC may only share data if all employee names are redacted, and only to: demonstrate how the app works for potential clients or at professional conferences; at the request of public agencies or nonprofits for budgeting purposes.


Archiving: Once data is captured is sent to the client, WorkRight LLC will archive that data on password-protected servers accessible only to the client.


Whether you are a nonprofit, university or privately held company of any size, Boost Midwest works with our grants management clients to determine what data should be captured, how to present the data for grant proposals, and best practices for capturing that data throughout the grant project cycle. Boost Midwest can also become a partner in data management for your grant, both in the proposal and post-proposal phases.


Ready to learn more about how Boost Midwest can help your team’s next grant project succeed? Schedule your free consultation call with us today using our Quick Schedule Link here.




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