Do you have a burning question for someone in the grantor space, or are you in need of an answer to a frequently asked, grant-related question? Check out part 3 of the new Almanac series, “Ask the Grantor.” This series, created by and for Alliance members, offers a place where these questions can be answered for all to see. Because grantors' policies and procedures differ, we have asked multiple Alliance members from the Industry Alliance for CE section (IACE) to weigh in on the questions. Both questions and answers will remain anonymous. Before you read on, check our part 1 and part 2 of the series on the Almanac.
Question: Why do companies provide commercial support/educational grants for accredited education? Is it just to be altruistic?
Many companies post their grant philosophy on their websites. Companies understand the critical role of independent medical education in improving patient care, and to support those innovative, high-quality educational activities that close professional practice and healthcare gaps, narrows unmet medical needs, and addresses any barriers to change.
Medical education is and should be a critical responsibility of a pharma/med device company to ensure the safe and effective use of its products. Independent medical education grant support is only one mechanism for which this is accomplished. Internal support for educational grant dollars for accredited education is geared toward addressing educational and clinical gaps that prevent patient care from being optimized. Given the requirements for clinicians to participate in CE/CME, it is a natural junction for getting the most up-to-date information into their hands. At the end of the day, showing that education had an impact on knowledge transfer, confidence building in new data, and/or practice change resulting in improved patient outcomes all speak to internal budgetary stakeholders.
Question: How often do pharmaceutical companies post request for proposals (RFP) for meeting support grants?
This is a difficult question to answer precisely as each company has a different approach regarding RFPs. Some companies are almost entirely RFP driven, some do not use them at all, and some use a combination of RFPs and unsolicited submissions. As for RFPs that are specifically for meeting support grants, again, that is difficult to answer precisely. Limiting the proposed program format to a meeting is more granular than some companies — perhaps even most — are willing to put in an RFP, preferring to leave the program format open for the applicant to determine. Most companies describe their RFP process (or lack thereof) on their website. That is likely to be your best source of information related to RFPs, meeting support, etc.
Each company manages their RFP process differently — some companies do not do RFPs at all, some do it based on their available budget, and some do it based on unmet educational needs. The frequency of the posting of RFPs is largely dependent on the educational strategy of the company. If providers have an unmet need of their own learners that aligns with the educational focus of the RFP, it is critical that they comply with all requirements of the RFP.
Question: Is there a website, or an organization membership, that has information on where to look for grants?
In my experience there are three main ways in which we have tried to promote the availability of grants:
- Company website, independent medical education (IME) webpage
- Alliance RFP, CGN webpage
- Society of Academic Continuing Medical Education (SACME) website
I have also been curious about using the company’s social media accounts and know of at least one example of a company tweeting about available funds for an RFP.
Look forward to the next installment of “Ask the Grantor,” coming soon. Did this article spark a grant-related question for you? Email your question to email@example.com, and it will be submitted to the Alliance volunteers for their consideration to be answered in an upcoming article.