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Competing for Funding in the Biomedical Sciences from the National Institutes of Health & Elsewhere. December 12, 2008 John Ivy [email protected] Office of Proposal Development Texas A&M University Texas A&M Health Science Center. Texas A&M University Office of Proposal Development.

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Competing for Fundingin theBiomedical Sciencesfrom the National Institutes of Health & Elsewhere

December 12, 2008

John Ivy

[email protected]

Office of Proposal Development

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M Health Science Center


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Texas A&M UniversityOffice of Proposal Development

  • Unit of Division of Research and Graduate Studies

  • Supports Texas A&M faculty in the development and writing of research and educational proposals

    • Junior faculty research

    • Individual faculty proposal support

    • Center-level initiatives

    • Multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research teams

    • Diversity in the research enterprise

    • List funding opportunities

    • Proposal development resources

    • Grant writing seminars and workshops

    • Agency Toolkits

    • Craft of Grant Writing Workbook

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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OPD Member List

  • Jean Ann Bowman, PhD [email protected]

    Physical Geography/Hydrology, earth, ecological, environmental

  • Mike Cronan, PE, BS (Civil/Structures), BA, MFA

    Center-level proposals, research and educational partnerships, new proposal and training initiatives [email protected]

  • Lucy Deckard, BS, MS (Materials) [email protected]

    New faculty initiative, fellowships, engineering/physical science proposals, equipment, and instrumentation

  • John Ivy, PhD (Molecular Biology) [email protected]

    NIH biomedical and biological science initiatives

  • Phyllis McBride, PhD (English) [email protected]

    Proposal writing training, biomedical, editing

  • Libby Pasciak [email protected]

    Scheduling, workshop management, project coordination

  • Robyn Pearson, BA, MA (Anthropology) [email protected]

    Social sciences and humanities proposals, editing and rewriting

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Office of Proposal DevelopmentOPD-WEB http://opd.tamu.edu/

For an electronic version of this presentation

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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General Steps for Writing Competitive Proposals – Topics

  • Finding Research Funding Opportunities

  • Analyzing the RFP & Its Role in Proposal Development

  • Analyzing and Assessing the Agency Culture, Mission and Research Priorities

  • Understanding the Review Process & Writing to Reviewers

  • Overview of How to Write a Competitive Project Summary & Proposal Narrative

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Your Research Interests will define funding sources

  • Your research interests should align with the Mission of the Agency

    • Biology

    • Biomedicine

    • Health disparities

    • Behavior

    • Biochemistry

    • Computational science

    • Interdisciplinary studies

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Know the category of funding in which you are interested

  • Research

  • Training

  • Fellowship

  • Student retention

  • Student recruitment

  • Diversity

  • Curriculum

  • Loan reimbursement

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Funding Sources for Biomedical Research

  • National Institutes of Health $29 bill.

  • National Science Foundation $6 bill.

  • Dept. of Health & Human Services

  • Department of Defense

  • Foundations

  • Environmental Protection Agency

  • US Department of Agriculture

  • National Aeronautics & Space Admin.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Where do you find the RFPs?(Who ya gonna call?)

  • Network with colleagues

  • Funding sources cited in literature acknowledgements

  • Corporations

  • Professional societies

  • Google searches

  • University posted listings

  • Federal agency web sites

  • Foundation web sites

  • Discussions with Agency and Foundation Representatives

  • E-mail listserves (last but not least)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Grants.gov

The Grants.gov web portal serves as a single point of access for all federal agency grant announcements. New funding announcements from federal agency are posted to this site daily, and a range of other features allow subscribing to email funding alerts, linking to agency web sites, and searching for funding among agencies.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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http://www.grants.gov/

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Search & Browse Grant Opportunities

  • Searchhttp://www.grants.gov/applicants/search_opportunities.jsp

  • Browse agencieshttp://www.grants.gov/search/agency.do

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Grants.gov Search

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Vaccine Keyword Results

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Receive Grants.gov Funding Email Alerts

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/rfp/

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Identify NIH Funding Opportunities

  • NIH Office of Extramural Research

    http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm

    • NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

      http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html

      • Search by keyword

      • Browse by Requests for Applications (RFAs)

      • Browse by Program Announcements (PAs)

      • Automatic funding alerts

  • Institutes and Centers (IC) homepages

    • Listed at http://www.nih.gov/icd

      • Go to IC homepage

      • Browse or search their “Research Funding” or "Extramural Funding” section

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH Funding Mechanisms

  • Three principal types

    • Training — T & F

    • Career — K

    • Research Project Grant — R

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH Training Awards

  • Institutional awards

  • Individual Training awards – for predoctoral (F31), postdoctoral (F32), or senior fellowships (F33)

  • Limited to US citizens or legal aliens

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH Career Development: K Awards

  • Directed at retraining, professional career development, or recognition of career success

  • K Kioskhttp://grants1.nih.gov/training/careerdevelopmentawards.htm

  • Career Award Wizardhttp://grants.nih.gov/training/kwizard/index.htm

    • Helps you select the right career award

    • Participation may be restricted to certain Institutes and Centers

  • K01 Mentored Research Scientist

    • Provide mentored career development in a new research area

    • 3-5 yr, 75% effort

  • K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist

    • Provides support and “protected time” to individuals with a clinical doctoral degree for an intensive, supervised research career development experience

    • Biomedical and behavior research

    • 3-5 yr, 75% effort

  • K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development

    • Development of the independent research scientist in the clinical area

    • 3-5 yr, 75% effort

  • K99/R00 NIH Pathway to Independence (PI)

    • 2 years mentored postdoctoral research + 3 years independent research in tenure track position (or equivalent)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Research Grants for Independent Scientists

  • R01 – Large Research Grant

    • 4-5 years, $250,000+/yr

  • R03 – Small Grant

    • 2 year max, $50,000/yr max

  • R21 – Exploratory Research Grant

    • High Risk – High Reward

    • Transformational

    • 2 years, $275,000 total

  • R15 – Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA)

    • Primarily undergrad institutions

    • Institute must have received <$3mill/yr in NIH funding

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University



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Unsolicited vs. Solicited

  • NIH makes a distinction between solicited versus unsolicited proposals

    • Unsolicited (investigator-initiated) proposals (82%)

      • Parent Announcements (Program Announcements, PA)

    • Solicited (agency-initiated) proposals (18%)

      • Program Announcements (PA)

        • New research programs and updates to ongoing programs (renewable)

      • Request for Applications/Proposals (RFA/RFP)

        • One time request to fulfill specific agency research objective or need

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Parent Announcements

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Identifying NIH Solicitations by Topic

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Example – Sequencing Technology

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Example – Sequencing Technology

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Funding Opportunity Announcements

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Application Due Dates

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Identifying NIH Solicitations by IC

  • Search by Agency (IC)

    • Identify funding opportunities within an agency

    • Steps for searching….

      • Identify Agency (IC)

      • Go to their homepage (http://www.nih.gov/icd)

      • Go to their “Research Funding” or Extramural Funding” section

      • Perform search

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Identifying NIH Solicitations by IC

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Identifying NIH Solicitations by IC

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Elements of an NIH FOA

  • A Funding Opportunity Announcement

  • Part I. Overview Information

    • Issuing Organization

    • Participating Organizations

    • Components of Participating Organization

    • Title

    • Announcement Type

    • Program Announcement Number

    • Key Dates

    • Executive Summary

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

1. Research Objectives Section II. Award Information 1. Mechanism(s) of Support 2. Funds Available Section III. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants     A. Eligible Institutions     B. Eligible Individuals 2. Cost Sharing or Matching 3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria Section IV. Application and Submission Information 1. Address to Request Application Information 2. Content and Form of Application Submission 3. Submission Dates and Times A. Submission, Review and Anticipated Start Dates   1. Letter of Intent B. Sending an Application to the NIH C. Application Processing 4. Intergovernmental Review 5. Funding Restrictions 6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information1. Criteria 2. Review and Selection Process   A. Additional Review Criteria    B. Additional Review Considerations    C. Sharing Research Data    D. Sharing Research Resources 3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates Section VI. Award Administration Information1. Award Notices 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements 3. Reporting Section VII. Agency Contact(s)1. Scientific/Research Contact(s) 2. Peer Review Contact(s) 3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s) Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Contents of an NIH PAPart II. Full Text of Announcement

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Program Solicitation

  • From the PA or RPF –

    • Determine supporting ICs

    • Identify mechanism (R, T, U, etc.)

    • Determine eligibility

    • Identify review criteria

  • Learn essential information to develop and write a competitive proposal that is fully responsive to the agency’s objectives and review criteria.

  • Continuously use the RPF throughout proposal development and writing as a reference point to ensure that an evolving proposal narrative fully addresses and accurately reflects the goals and objectives of the funding agency –including the review criteria.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Staying Informed on NIH FOAs

Subscribe to Weekly E-mail LISTSERV

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Agency-initiated

Investigator-initiated

Remember, investigator-initiated grants represent >80% of those funded by NIH!

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Identifying funding opportunitiesSUMMARY

  • Develop search protocols to fit research interests

  • Know relevant agencies

  • Learn grant cycles

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Know the Funding Agency NIH Mission

  • NIH is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the Nation. Its mission is

    • science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and

    • the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH – 20 Institutes, 7 Centers

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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National Institutes of Health

  • NIH is a basic research agency

  • Each Institute has its own mission

  • Each Institute has its own budget

  • Each Institute has its own activities

  • Each Institute has its own ways of doing things

    When you’re planning to submit a grant, check with Program Officers from different institutes to determine their specific policies and interest in your science.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Know your home-base IC's Mission

For Researchers

About NIDA

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Analyze the Agency: NIH Culture

  • Trans-NIH initiatives – research that cuts across typical agency boundaries of various ICs

    • http://www.nih.gov/about/transnih.htm

      • Model Organisms for Biomedical Research

      • Blueprint for Neuroscience Research

      • Bioengineering Consortium

      • Biomaterials and Medical Implants

      • Bioinformatics at the NIH

      • Mammalian Gene Collection

      • Cognitive & Emotional Health

  • Translational Research

    • Part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research

    • http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/

    • http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/clinicalresearch/overview-translational.asp

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH Funding Investments and Priorities

  • NIH has investment priorities based on past research findings and current trends in science

  • Targeted areas (FY 2008 proposed budget):

    • HIV/AIDs

    • Biodefense

    • Roadmap for Biomedical Research

    • Enhanced Support for New Investigators

    • Physical Infrastructure

  • NIH FY2007 budget is $28.8 billion (FY2008 proposed $28.85 billion)

  • NIH funds research projects inside their own laboratories (intramural) and outside their laboratories at national and international locations (extramural)

    • Extramural funding 85%

    • Intramural Funding 10%

    • Research Infrastructure 5%

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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New Investigator Programhttp://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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For New Investigators

  • K99/R00 Pathway to Independence

    • Must have fewer than 5 yr postdoc experience

    • Open to US and non-US citizens

    • 2 yr mentored Post-doc; 75% effort required

    • 3 yr independent, tenure-track or equivalent position; 75% research effort

  • R01 – fast review for new investigators

    • Check box on cover page for new investigators

    • Example: Oct 5 Submit Mar 1 Summary Statement Mar 20 Resubmit (Mar 5, Jul 5, Nov 5)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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For New Investigators

  • More lenient R01 payline for new investigators (varies by IC)

    • In FY07, 500 R01 awards to be made to new investigators

  • DP2 – Director’s New Innovator Award

    • For exceptionally creative work of new investigators

    • Requires highly innovative approaches that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact

    • Must have completed doctoral degree within ~10 yr

    • Awards up to $300,00

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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A New Initiative:Identify Early Stage Investigators

  • Designed to encourage early transition to independence

    • the average age at which an investigator first obtains R01 funding has increased by more than 5 years between 1980 to and 2001

  • New Investigator:  An NIH research grant Principal Investigator who has not yet competed successfully for a substantial, competing NIH research grant

    AND

  • Early Stage Investigator (ESI):  An individual who is classified as a New orFirst-Time Investigator and is within 10 years of completing his or her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Details of:Early Stage Investigators Initiative

  • Early Stage Investigator (ESI): 

    • NIH will collect necessary data from the eRA Commons personal profile

    • NIH will eliminate the New Investigator Check Box on the application face page

    • New or First-Time Investigators will continue to be identified by determining whether the individual has had significant, previous NIH funding

    • PD/PIs who receive a substantive, competing NIH research grant will lose their New Investigator status and hence their status as an ESI

    • Applications from ESIs and New Investigators will be identified to reviewers so that appropriate consideration of their career stage can be applied during review

    • New Investigators as well as ESIs will be eligible for the “Full Implementation to Shorten the Review Cycle for New Investigator R01 Applications Reviewed in Center for Scientific Review Recurring Study Sections"

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Early Stage Investigator New NIH Policy Supports Transition to Independence

  • Peer reviewers will be instructed to concentrate more on the proposed method of research and to expect less preliminary data than might be provided by an established investigator.

  • In addition, many NIH institutes and centers will give special consideration to ESI applications; while in some cases, grant periods for ESIs may be longer.

  • All New Investigators must update their eRA Commons profiles to ensure that they are given appropriate consideration for R01 applications for February, 2009 due dates and beyond.

  • New investigators who do not yet have an eRA Commons account should work through the sponsored research office or its equivalent at their institution to establish an eRA Commons account.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Rationale:Early Stage Investigators

  • NIH hopes that providing a focus on ESIs will directly encourage earlier application for NIH research grant support.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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What you're competing for:FY 2007 Operating PlanNIH Discretionary Budget Authority $29.228 Billion

>80% awarded to >325,000 extramural researchers

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH FY2007: Increase of $620 million

$30

$29.2

$28.6

$28.6

$28.0

$27.1

$25

$23.3

$20

$20.5

$17.8

$15

Billions of Dollars

$15.6

$13.7

$10

$5

$0

FY

FY

FY

FY

FY

FY

FY

FY

FY

FY

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

DOUBLING

It's competitive out there ~ Historical NIH Congressional Appropriations

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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35%

60,000

49,656

30%

31%

50,000

43,069

25%

40,000

Projected

22%

% Success Rate of Grants Funded

20%

30,000

19%

Number of Applications

24,154

15%

+8,359

20,000

10%

+8,303

10,000

5%

0%

0

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Success Rates

Applications

New Grant Applications and Success Rates During and After the Doubling Period

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Success Rate: FY 2007It's competitive out there!

  • Research Project Grant* application overall success rate

    • 47,455 applications

    • 10,100 funded

    • 21.3% success rate

      • New 18.2%

      • Continuation 38.7%

      • Supplements 33.7%

*DP1, DP2, P01, R01, R03, R15, R21, R33, R34, R36, R37, R55, R56, RL1, RL2, RL5, RL9, U01, U19

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Dr. William F. Raub, NIH Associate Director for Research and Training, strategy paper

Competition for funds from the NIH and other sponsors, intensifying year by year, now stands at an unprecedented level, and shows no sign of abating. Never before have so many established investigators faced so much uncertainty about their longevity as active scientists. Never before have so many novices faced so many disincentives to entering or continuing a research career.

1982

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Assess the Competition: Training, strategy paperKnow what was recently funded

  • Learning about recently funded research in your area helps you understand what an agency is looking for in the review process

    • Search on-line databases of funded projects

    • Review abstracts of funded proposals on agency web sites

    • Talk to the principal investigators of funded proposals in your area

    • Obtain copies of funded proposals

      • Ask the PI

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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CRISP Training, strategy paperhttp://report.nih.gov/crisp/

  • Computer Retrieval of Informationon Scientific Projects

  • A searchable database of federally funded biomedical research

    • What similar projects have been funded?

    • Has someone already been funded to pursue my idea?

    • Who are my competitors?

    • Who are potential collaborators?

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University



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CRISP search results Training, strategy paper

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Review of NIH Proposals Training, strategy paper

  • Center for Scientific Review (CSR)

    • Administers and coordinates peer review

    • http://www.csr.nih.gov/default.htm

  • Divisions (4)

  • Integrated Review Groups (IRG) – 23

  • Study Sections (SS) – 220

    • Scientific Review Officer (SRO)

    • Members (peers with expertise in SS research)

      • Standing members

      • Ad hoc members

    • Study section rosters postedhttp://www.csr.nih.gov/Roster_proto/sectionI.asp

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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FUNDING Training, strategy paper

DECISION

What happens when you submit an application?

Center for Scientific Review

1) Scientific Review Group or IC Review Branch

2) IC Advisory Council

Institute Director

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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CSR – Review & ‘Streamlining’ Training, strategy paper

  • Proposal received at CSR

  • Assigned to an IRG, then to a Study Section (SS)

  • The Scientific Review Officer (SRO) assigns a primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewer

  • Review is a two-step process

    1) Peer review is merit-based

    • Investigator-initiated proposals (R01, R03, R21) are read by the 1°, 2°, 3° peer reviewers

    • Bottom 50% of proposals are identified about 1 week prior to the SS meeting (triaged or streamlined)

    • All three reviewers must agree on the streamlined proposals in order for the proposal to be triaged

    • Streamlined applications receive summary statements verbatim from each reviewer, but are not discussed nor scored

    • SS meets to review and discuss applications

    • Primary reviewer presents your proposal to the group (reads the abstract)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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CSR – Scoring Proposals Training, strategy paperCaution – details are changing!

1) Peer Review (cont.)

  • SS members discuss your application, the primary reviewer answers questions about the proposal

  • SS members assign a score to the proposal between 1-5 (1=outstanding, 5=forget it)

  • After the meeting the SRO calculates the average score for each proposal, multiply by 100 to get a 3 digit score (100-500)

  • SRO calculates a priority score or percentile ranking of the score; based on the past 3 cycles of grant scores within SS

  • SRO prepares a written critique of your proposal based on reviewer’s comments

    2) Advisory Council or Board

  • Meritorious proposals considered against mission, needs, and budget

  • IC Program Officer makes recommendation to IC Director

  • IC Director makes funding decision

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preparing for Changes in Peer Review Training, strategy paper

  • Scoring

  • Critiques

  • Balanced and Fair Reviews Across Career Stages and Scientific Fields

  • Amended Applications

  • Enhanced Review Criteria

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preparing for Changes in Peer Review Training, strategy paper

  • Scoring

  • To improve the transparency of the scoring process:

    • Before a review meeting, assigned reviewers and discussants will score applications on the five review criteria using a scale greater than 1-5.

    • Each assigned reviewer and discussant will also provide a preliminary overall score using the new scale.

    • At the meeting, discussed applications will receive an overall score from each eligible (i.e., without conflicts of interest) panel member and these scores will be averaged, multiplied by 10, and called the priority score.

    • The priority scores then will be percentiled against the appropriate base. The new scoring system will necessitate the establishment of new percentile bases. Percentiles will be reported in whole numbers

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preparing for Changes in Peer Review Training, strategy paper

  • Critiques

  • To improve the quality of the critiques and to focus reviewer attention on the review criteria:

    • Before the review meeting, in addition to preliminary scoring, assigned reviewers will provide written critiques of the application through an electronic template that will prompt for strengths and weaknesses for each criterion.

    • After the meeting, the critiques will be compiled into a summary statement that will be shorter and more focused than current summary statements due to standardized organization and reporting of strengths and weaknesses.

    • Discussed applications also will have a summary of the panel’s discussion at the meeting.

  • Feedback for Streamlined Applications.

    • Currently, applications not considered to be in the more meritorious half are “streamlined.” Streamlined applications are not discussed by the full review committee and are not assigned numerical priority scores, but the applicants do receive the reviewers’ critiques.

    • In 2009, streamlined applications will receive scores in addition to the reviewers’ critiques to help applicants assess whether or not they should submit an amended application.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preparing for Changes in Peer Review Training, strategy paper

  • Balanced and Fair Reviews Across Career Stages and Scientific Fields

  • The New Investigator Policy was modified to identify Early Stage Investigators (ESIs), see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-od-08-121.html, and becomes effective beginning with traditional R01 applications received for the February 2009 receipt dates.

  • Where possible, NIH will cluster new investigator applications (including ESIs) for review.

  • The same clustering approach will be considered for clinical research applications

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preparing for Changes in Peer Review Training, strategy paper

  • Amended Applications

  • To speed the funding of meritorious science and minimize reviewer burden:

    • NIH has issued a policy announcement decreasing the number of resubmissions (i.e., amendments) permitted from two to one.

    • Beginning with applications intended for the January 25, 2009 due date, all original new applications (i.e., never submitted) and competing renewal applications will be permitted only a single amendment (A1).

    • To facilitate this transition, original new and competing renewal applications submitted for FY 2009 or earlier, i.e. prior to January 25, 2009, will be permitted two resubmissions.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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New NIH Policy to Fund Meritorious Science Earlier Training, strategy paper

  • The new NIH policy decreasing the number of amended grant application resubmissions from two to one will help ensure earlier funding of high quality applications and improve efficiencies in the peer review system

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Your application is reviewed at study section by: Training, strategy paper

  • Experts

  • Non-experts

  • People who are reading lots of grants

  • People who want to be excited by science

  • People who will be irritated by a sloppy application

    So,

  • Submit a high quality, reviewer-friendly application!

  • Have people review your application critically well before submission

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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For what are Reviewers looking? Training, strategy paperNIH General Review Criteria

  • Significance

    • Ability of the project to improve health

  • Approach

    • Feasibility of methods and appropriateness of budget

  • Innovation

    • Originality of research

  • Investigator

    • Education, training, relevant experience

  • Environment

    • Suitability of facilities and institution support

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preparing for Changes in Peer Review Training, strategy paper

  • Enhanced Review Criteria

  • The current five scoring criteria will have clearer descriptions, with questions for reviewers to consider in evaluating each criterion.

  • The application instructions will be updated to inform applicants of these revised questions.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Timeline for Implementation of Key Actions in the NIH Peer Review System

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preparing Proposals Review System

  • All NIH proposals use either the electronic form SF424 or the paper PHS398. In transition!

  • The transition to SF424 for F and K awards is delayed

  • Step 1: Download the Instructions and Forms via the NIH OER website

    • http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/

    • http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html

  • Step 2: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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2009 Brings New Adobe-Based Application Forms for Electronic Submissions

  • Most electronic submissions to NIH on or after Jan. 1, 2009 must use Adobe application forms, with a few exceptions.

  • Existing FOAs that were released prior to Sept. 1, 2008, will have PureEdge application forms that will remain active and available until they are replaced by Adobe forms in the December timeframe.

  • New Funding Opportunity Announcements released after Sept. 1, 2008, will not have Adobe application forms for downloading until December 2008.

  • Note: Although the software program has changed, the electronic submission process has NOT.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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New Adobe-Based Application Forms Submissions

  • Adobe-based application packages will become available after the first week of December 2008.

  • Everyone who will work on an application must download Adobe Reader version 8.1.3 or higher

  • Non-compatible versions of Adobe Reader will prevent successful submission to Grants.gov; make sure to install compatible software before you begin your application!

  • A delay in receiving the revised forms has prompted us to modify our implmentation schedule. There will be two rounds of form updates. Applicants will need to return to their respective FOAs in April to download the latest version of the Adobe-based application forms for receipt dates of May 2009 and beyond.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH Transition to Adobe Forms Submissions

Small business and conference FOAs will use PureEdge forms for receipt dates on or before Jan. 7, 2009, and Adobe thereafter.

2008

2009

OCT

NOV

DEC

JAN

FEB

NIH pilot of Adobe Forms

(mid-late Oct.)

RFA-AI-08-020

RFA-DE-09-001

RFA-DE-09-002

Adobe forms for existing and new FOAs will be available in early Dec.*(Except for small business and conference FOAs)

Most submissions after Jan. 1, 2009 must use Adobe forms, with these exceptions**

Adobe forms for SBIRs and R13/U13s will be available in early Feb. 2009

Apr. 2009 2nd update of Adobe forms

*New FOAs issued after Sep.1, 2008 might not contain application forms.

 Adobe forms will be made available for these FOAs in early Dec. 2008

 Adobe forms for small business and conference FOAs will be available in early Feb. 2009

**Most FOAs with receipt dates on or after Jan. 1, 2009 must use Adobe forms, except…

 Small business applications (R41,R42,R43,R44) and conference grant applications (R13/U13) with Jan. 7, 2009 AIDS

submission deadlines

 All FOAs expiring on or before Jan. 31, 2009 that will continue to use PureEdge until the expiration date. See

complete list on eSubmission Web Site at http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/


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Writing for Reviewers Submissions

  • Reviewers often have 8 or 10 proposals to read

  • Use white space, underlining, bold, bullets, figures, flowcharts to make main points easy to find

  • Put main idea of sections and paragraphs up front

  • Write for the reviewers

    • Make it easy for them to assess your proposal

    • Make it easy for them to be your advocate

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Must Convince Reviewers… Submissions

  • Your proposed research should be funded

    • It’s important and supports the agency mission and program goals

    • It’s exciting

    • It has a good chance of succeeding

  • You are the person who should conduct the proposed research

    • You are knowledgeable and well-qualified

    • You have the support and resources required

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Albert Einstein on Grant Writing Submissions

  • If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well.

  • Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in language comprehensible to everyone.

  • Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Before you begin . . . Submissions

  • Make sure you have identified the following:

    • Goal

      • Indicates the purpose for the project as a whole

      • Should be aligned with the agency’s mission

    • Aims (Objectives)

      • Indicate the purpose for each specific part of your project

      • Should be aligned with your overall goal

      • Should be specific and measurable

    • Rationale

      • Indicates why you want to achieve your purpose

      • Should be clear and logical

    • Expected outcomes

      • Indicate what will change as a result of your research(e.g., behavior, performance, process, produce)

      • Should include both immediate and long-term outcomes

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Speak with the Program Officer Submissions– early and often

  • Do your homework first

  • Make an appointment

  • Listen to the response

  • Request clarification

  • Follow up

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Never be timid about contacting a program officer for clarification

Timidity is never rewarded in the competitive grant process.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Common Elements of PHS398 R01 clarification

  • Cover page/face sheet

  • Description: Project Summary (Abstract) & Relevance

  • Performance site, key personnel

  • Table of contents

  • Budget page(s)

  • Budget justification

  • Biosketch of PI, biosketch of all other major/key personnel

  • Resources

  • Research Plan (Items A-D)

  • Other Information under Research Plan (Items E-J)

    • References cited, human or animal research subjects, inclusion of minorities/children in clinical studies, data sharing plans, etc.

  • Appendix items

  • Checklist

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Introductory writing tips clarification

  • Title, Summary (Abstract), and Introduction (Specific Aims) are key

    • May be all reviewers read

    • Must excite and grab the attention

  • Reviewers will assume errors in language and usage will translate into errors in the science

  • Don’t be overly ambitious in what you propose, but convey credibility and capacity to perform

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Introductory writing tips clarification

  • Sell your proposal to a good scientist but not an expert

  • Some review panels may not have an expert in your field, or panels may be blended for multidisciplinary initiatives

  • Agencies & reviewers fund compelling, exciting research

  • Proposals are not journal articles – proposals must be user-friendly and offer a narrative that tells a story that is memorable to reviewers

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Cover Sheet clarification

  • Requires that you provide basic information about yourself, your institution, and your proposed research project

  • Often offers you the opportunity to indicate if you are a “new investigator” (until Feb. '09/)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Title clarification

  • Used by agency administrators to route your proposal to the appropriate reviewers

  • Should provide an accurate representation of your proposed project

  • Should generate interest in and enthusiasm for your proposed project

  • Should conform to agency requirements

    • Program name

    • Number of characters (NIH: 81 incl. spaces)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Project Summary (Abstract) clarification

  • One of the most critical sections

    • May be one of only a few elements a reviewer reads

    • Communicate excitement and “grab” the reviewer

  • Used by agency administrators to route your proposal to the appropriate reviewers

  • Provides a concise overview of the proposed project

  • Requires that you provide a great deal of information within a very limited amount of space (NIH – 30 lines)

  • Becomes public record if the project is funded

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Project Summary (Abstract) clarification

  • Consider writing the Abstract after you've written your Research Plan

  • Use the same elements of the Specific Aims in the same order

    • Brief introduction to the topic

    • Gap in knowledge or critical need

    • Broad, long-term goals

    • Specific Aims

    • Describe research design and methods

    • Summarize the Significance of the project

    • Avoid summary of past accomplishments

    • Avoid use of the first person

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Project Relevance clarification

  • The second component of the Project Summary/Abstract is Relevance

  • Corresponds to "Project Narrative" in SF424 forms

  • Using no more than two or three sentences, describe the relevance of this research to public health

  • Be succinct and use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Connect budget to the research narrative clarification

  • Be sure activities discussed in the narrative (Research Plan) are reflected in the budget

  • In budget justification, personnel, materials, supplies, equipment, travel should reflect that necessary to complete Research Plan

  • Base budget on real costs

    • Remember that reviewers know what things cost

    • Factor in both direct and indirect costs

    • Factor in cost escalations for multi-year projects

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH Biographical Sketch clarification

  • Four page maximum – use NIH form

  • Emphasize qualifications relevant to the proposed project

    • Ability to conduct and manage project

  • Section A. Positions and Honors

  • Section B. Publications

    • List publications reflective of the topic of the current proposal (or maximum)

  • Section C. Research Support

    • Current and completed support

    • Begin with projects that are most relevant to the research proposed in the application

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Sample NIH Biosketch clarification(via http://grants.nih.gov/grants/OER.htm)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Resources clarification

  • Demonstrate that it is feasible to conduct the proposed research project at your institution

  • Laboratory

  • Clinical

  • Animal

  • Computer

  • Office

  • Other

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Research Plan clarification

Introduction (Resubmissions only)

A) Specific Aims

Long-range goals

Hypothesis

B) Background & Significance

C) Preliminary Studies / Progress Report

D) Research Design and Methods

Structure based on Specific Aims

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims clarification

  • Critically important

  • Must provide a conceptual overview

  • Must outline the project goals, objectives (aims), and expected outcomes

  • Must be clearly written; leave no room for interpretation

  • Must grab the reviewer’s attentionand generate enthusiasm for the project

  • Must be able to stand alone

  • Often Title, Abstract, and Specific Aims may be the only three parts that all study section members will have an opportunity to read

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims clarification

  • PHS's Instructions

    "List the broad, long-term objectives and the goal of the specific research proposed, for example, to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology. One page is recommended."

    ~Grants.gov Application Guide SF424 (R&R)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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General clarification

Specific

General organization of the Specific Aims

Introduction to the problem.

Identification of need or gap in knowledge.

Long term research goal and specific project goal

Central hypothesis

Specific Aims

Project outcomes & benefits

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims clarification

  • Write this section for all your audiences—primary reviewers and other reviewers—since they'll all read it.

  • Provide a framework for your research topic

  • State a long-range goal of your research program

  • State a goal of the proposed research

  • Identify a gap in knowledge or critical need

  • State a specific hypothesis or critical need that your experiments will address

  • State specific, measurable Specific Aims

    • Aims are not activities, e.g., measure, study, evaluate

    • Specific aims are what you plan to accomplish by the end of the grant

    • Specify research methods

    • Do not be overly ambitious!

  • Provide a rationale for your approach ~ how expected outcomes will fill gap in knowledge, satisfy critical need, advance the field, enable future progress, etc.

  • Summarize Significance

  • Identify Innovation

  • Tie to program/agency mission and goals

  • One approach: organize this section into four paragraphs.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims – Paragraph 1 clarification

  • Introduce the project.

    • Relate the project to the agency’s mission.

  • Educate the reviewer.

    • Summarize the important knowledge.

  • Identify the gap in the knowledge or state the critical need.

  • Identify the problem created by the gap or the critical need.

    ~Adapted from Morrison and RussellGrant Application Writer’s Workbook

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims – Paragraph 2 clarification

  • Describe your long-range research or career goal(s).

    • Ensure that your long-range career goal aligns with the agency’s mission.

  • State your overall project goal.

    • Ensure that the overall project goal addresses an identified gap in knowledge and represents a step toward achieving your long-range career goal.

  • Present your central hypothesis (or, alternatively, a statement of need).

    • Be sure that you present a true hypothesis – one that can be objectively tested to determine its validity – rather than a predetermined conclusion.

      ~Adapted from Morrison and RussellGrant Application Writer’s Workbook

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims – Paragraph 2 (cont.) clarification

  • Explain your rationale for pursuing the project.

    • Indicate what it will be possible to accomplish when your research is complete.

  • Describe your qualifications and research environment.

    • How you are better prepared than other, equally qualified researchers.

    • Identify special training, expertise, experience, and, most importantly, relevant preliminary data.

    • Identify access to human and animal subject pools; to unique equipment and instrumentation; and to collaborations and partnerships.

    • Why you are the best resercher in the best environment to address the research question.

      ~Adapted from Morrison and RussellGrant Application Writer’s Workbook

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Your Central Hypothesis clarification

  • The foundation of your application – the conceptual underpinning on which the entire structure rests.

  • Generally applications should ask questions that prove or disprove a hypothesis rather than use a method to search for a problem or simply collect information.

  • The goal of more applied research may be to discover basic biology or develop or use a new technology.

    • If your application is not hypothesis-based, state this in your cover letter and give the reasons why the work is important.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Your Central Hypothesis clarification

  • Choose an important, testable, focused hypothesis that increases understanding of biologic processes, diseases, treatments, or preventions and is based on previous research.

  • State your hypothesis in both the Specific Aims section and the Abstract.

  • Example of a good research hypothesis:

    • Analogs to chemokine receptors can inhibit HIV infection.

  • Examples of a poor research hypothesis:

    • Analogs to chemokine receptors can be biologically useful.

    • A wide range of molecules can inhibit HIV infection.

      ~ NIAID "How to Plan a Grant Application"

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims – Paragraph 3 clarification

  • Delineate your specific aims in a bulleted list.

    • Ensure that specific aims correlate with your central hypothesis.

    • Ensure that all specific aims relate to and support your overall project goal.

    • Design your specific aims and experiments so they answer the question posed by the hypothesis.

    • Provide conceptual rather than descriptive specific aims.

      ~Adapted from Morrison and RussellGrant Application Writer’s Workbook

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims – Paragraph 3 (cont.) clarification

  • Delineate your specific aims in a bulleted list (cont.).

    • Delineate a reasonable number of specific aims, presented in a logical order.

    • “Why” aims are generally stronger than “what” aims.

    • Define a clear purpose, working hypothesis or statement of need, and expected outcome for each specific aim.

    • Make sure no specific aim is dependent on the successful outcome of another aim.

      ~Adapted from Morrison and RussellGrant Application Writer’s Workbook

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims – Paragraph 4 clarification

  • Identify the project’s innovation, e.g., a unique approach or technology

  • Delineate the project’s expected outcomes

    • Should validate central hypothesis and resolve gap in knowledge

  • Summarize the project’s significance

  • Provides segue to Background and Significance

    ~Adapted from Morrison and RussellGrant Application Writer’s Workbook

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Specific Aims clarification

  • Don't be overly ambitious

    • 2-5 aims for an R01

  • Avoid descriptive aims

    • No fishing expeditions; no look-and-see!

  • Use brief, concise, informative, conceptual statements (headline style)

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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What vs. Why Aims clarification

  • "What" aims

    • Determine amino acid sequence of protein Y of antiviral Z-sensitive wild-type virus X.

    • Determine amino acid residue changes in protein Y of 100 natural antiviral Z-resistant virus X isolates.

    • In culture, select for virus X variants that develop resistance to antiviral Z and identify altered protein Y residues.

      versus

  • "Why" aim

    • Identify virus X protein Y candidate amino acid residues responsible for antiviral resistance.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Background & Significance clarification

  • Consider starting with Significance and tie into Specific Aims

  • Explain explicitly why proposed research is important

    • Specify how your research will extend and advance knowledge in the field

    • Identify what you will be able to do following successful research that you cannot now do.

    • Tie to agency and program goals

    • Relate to review criteria (e.g., innovation)

  • Make Significance easy to find

  • Communicate your excitement!

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Background clarification

  • Background should tie closely to your proposed research

    • Describe state of the field

    • Provide context for proposed project

    • Demonstrate your familiarity with the field

    • Nature of the problem and Identification of the opportunity

    • Acknowledge alternative hypotheses or models

    • Be thorough and concise

  • Do not be dismissive of previous research

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Preliminary Data / Progress Report clarification

  • Preliminary data must connect clearly to proposed project

  • Determine how much preliminary data to include

    • Can vary with funding mechanism

  • Present the results in a logical order

  • Illustrate your results

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Research Design & Methods clarification

  • Structure based on Specific Aims or Review Criteria

  • Include approaches and detailed methods

  • Be clear about how you will accomplish your stated goals and objectives. Include details:

    • What, specifically, will you do when you get the money?

    • Schedules and milestones may be helpful

    • This is especially important if you are a relatively new researcher

  • Identify expected, measurable outcomes

  • Identify and address anticipated pitfalls and alternate approaches

  • Avoid ambiguous terminology—be specific!

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Project schedule clarification

  • Delineate the key milestones

  • Incorporate the agency and program requirements

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Formatting Requirements clarification

  • Font

    • Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia typeface

    • Black font color

    • Font size of 11 points or larger

    • Symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies

    • Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch

    • Type may be no more than six lines per inch

  • Page Margins

    • At least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages

    • Use standard paper size (8 ½" x 11)

  • Figures, legends, tables, graphs, charts, etc. may use smaller font

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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The funded proposal clarification

The author of a funded proposal has accomplished the basic goal of grant writing when she has ensured that the reviewers

  • were intrigued and excited about the proposed research,

  • understood its significance, and

  • were confident in the researcher’s capacity to perform.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Three possible outcomes of proposal review clarification

  • Triaged

  • Discussed, scored, not funded

  • Discussed, scored, FUNDED!

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Receive review comments clarification

  • If your proposal is not funded…

    • Deal constructively with rejection

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Three strikes “you’re out” clarification

Read the reviewer’s comments

Take a break

Re-read the reviewer’s comments

Don’t take them personally

Read the reviewer’s comments, AGAIN

Call the program officer for more feedback

Evaluate if you should resubmit

Revisions & Resubmission

X

Two

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Interpreting Reviews – Planning to Resubmit clarification

  • Were certain issues mentioned consistently?

    • Plan how to address those issues

  • Did the reviewers misunderstand your proposal?

    • Plan how to make your text more clear

  • Was no clear issue mentioned?

    • May not have excited reviewers enough

    • May not be an area they wish to fund now

    • May not fit into their research portfolio

  • Begin working on the revisions. Incorporate the revisions that you think make your proposal better than the previous submission

  • Many funded proposals were funded after multiple submissions →intelligent perseverance is the key!

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Recap: Tips for Success with NIH Grants clarification

  • Identify your "IC home"

  • Get to know your Program Officer

  • Sign up for the Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

  • Study the "how-to" NIH websites

  • Look for various opportunities to acquire funding, e.g., diversity supplements, career awards

  • Partner with established NIH investigators

  • Read the solicitation

  • Develop a descriptive title

  • Write a concise, non-ambiguous Abstract/Summary

  • Write Specific Aims that are hypothesis-driven with clear, measurable outcomes

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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The Last Word: clarificationThe proposal is the only reality

A proposal is not unlike a novel or a movie. It creates its own, self-contained reality. The proposal contains all the funding agency and review panel will know about your capabilities and your capacity to perform. With few exceptions, an agency bases its decision to fund or not to fund entirely on the proposal and the persuasive reality it creates.

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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NIH Web Resources clarification

  • National Institutes of Health http://www.nih.gov/

    • Grant Application Basicshttp://grants.nih.gov/grants/grant_basics.htm

    • All About Grants Tutorialhttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/ncn/grants/default.htm

    • New Investigator Portalhttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/ncn/grants/new/portal.htm

    • Annotated R01 Research Plan and Summary Statementhttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/ncn/grants/app/

    • Mock Peer Review Videohttp://www.csr.nih.gov/Video/Video.asp

    • CRISP funded biomedical researchhttp://crisp.cit.nih.gov/

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Life Science Funding Source Listings clarification

  • Grants.govhttp://www.grants.gov

  • National Institues of Health

    • Office of Extramural Research http://grants.nih.gov/grants/OER.htm

    • Individual Institutes and Centers

  • National Science Foundationhttp://www.nsf.gov/

    • Find Fundinghttp://www.nsf.gov/funding/

    • Funded Researchhttp://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

  • GrantsNet sponsored by AAAS and HHMIhttp://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/funding

  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programshttp://cdmrp.army.mil/funding/default.htm

  • Philanthropy News Digest RFP listingshttp://foundationcenter.org/pnd/rfp/

    • American Cancer Societyhttp://www.cancer.org/docroot/RES/RES_0.asp

    • American Heart Associationhttp://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=9713

    • Cancer Research Institutehttp://www.cancerresearch.org/criprogs.html

    • Life Sciences Research Foundationhttp://www.lsrf.org/geninfo.htm

    • National Multiple Sclerosis Societyhttp://www.nationalmssociety.org/

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Additional Resources clarification

  • Office of Proposal Development, TAMUhttp://opd.tamu.edu/

    • Funding Opportunitieshttp://opd.tamu.edu/funding-opportunities

    • Resources for Junior Facultyhttp://opd.tamu.edu/resources-for-junior-faculty

    • The Craft of Grant Writing workbookhttp://opd.tamu.edu/the-craft-of-writing-workbook

  • National Science Foundationhttp://www.nsf.gov/

    • Find Fundinghttp://www.nsf.gov/funding/

    • Funded Researchhttp://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University




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Grant Writers' Seminars and Workshops clarification

http://grantcentral.com/

Office of Proposal Development, Texas A&M University


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Questions? clarification

Copies of this presentation will be available on the OPD websitehttp://opd.tamu.edu/


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