Tips and tricks in grant applications translational research
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Tips and Tricks in Grant Applications Translational Research. Kenneth Cheung Clinical Professor Division of Spine Surgery. Messages from my experience. Start modest, don’t be too ambitious Build up your track record before you ask for big money!

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Tips and tricks in grant applications translational research

Tips and Tricks in Grant ApplicationsTranslational Research

Kenneth Cheung

Clinical Professor

Division of Spine Surgery

Messages from my experience
Messages from my experience

  • Start modest, don’t be too ambitious

    • Build up your track record before you ask for big money!

  • “Basic science” projects with clinical relevance are better supported?.....translational?

  • Look for money everywhere!

    • Local, regional or international

The 3 nevers
The 3 Nevers

  • Never give up

  • Never say “this grant is not for me”

  • Never put it off to next year

You never know when you get lucky!

Key strategies
Key strategies

  • Ground work on what the granting agency wants

  • Novelty

  • Simple hypothesis

  • Pilot data

    • CRCG seed funding

    • Include info in background and/or appendix

  • Get appropriate co-I with track record

  • Realistic budgets

  • Methodologies that are really do-able

The process
The process

  • Start early

    • Begin to think about your grant from April

    • Organize meetings with your collaborators

    • Brainstorming sessions to generate ideas

    • Background reading

    • More meetings to refine ideas

    • Avoid projects that are “fishing expeditions”

    • Find a good mentor

  • July-Aug

    • Start writing

The process1
The process

  • Do not be afraid to send it to others

    • Send it to whoever is willing to read it!

    • Be open to criticism

  • Aim to RE-WRITE your proposal AT LEAST 2-3 times

  • Put it away for 2 weeks and re-read it to check for logic and flow

    • (faculty reviewing process helpful)

Tips on writing grf
Tips on writing GRF

  • Objectives (1 page)

    • One page summary of the whole proposal

    • Write this and abstract at the end

  • Background

    • Work done by others / work done by yourself

    • General introduction of the problem

    • Work leading to the hypothesis

      • Clearly indicate if this is yours or your collaborators/groups work vs work by others

      • Ensure that you are up to date with the literature

    • Ends with Hypothesis

Tips on writing grf1
Tips on writing GRF

  • Methodology

    • Summary of steps to address hypothesis

    • Sufficiently detailed to ensure that you can convince the reviewers - you know what you are doing (difficult balance)

    • ?how will you make use of the results obtained to address the hypothesis

    • Potential problems and ways that you can address them / alternate strategies

Tips on writing grf2
Tips on writing GRF

  • Do-ability

    • Avoid “fishing” exercise

    • Sample size – for human studies – can you collect enough of what you need in the required time?

    • Ethical?

    • Best to have existing samples to work on (demonstrates that you can collect)

    • Pilot information to demonstrate your methodology works

    • Do you have the right expertise to help you – both experimental setup and analysis?

    • Remember – reviewers are experts in the field

Tips on writing grf3
Tips on writing GRF

  • Must be a realistic budget

    • Most overseas reviewers cannot comment on budget

    • But if you are successful, you have to deliver!

Tips on writing grf4
Tips on writing GRF

  • Choosing the right reviewers

    • Nominate some

    • Point out competitors to avoid if the field is small

  • English editing – limited value in helping you get the message over


  • Start early

  • Keep it simple

  • Have pilot results

  • Have appropriate expertise

  • Be open to criticism and learn from others

  • A lot of luck!