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To facilitate your success in securing funding To share strategies in developing collaborations To explore qualities of a competitive application What.

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Presentation on theme: "To facilitate your success in securing funding To share strategies in developing collaborations To explore qualities of a competitive application What."— Presentation transcript:


2 To facilitate your success in securing funding To share strategies in developing collaborations To explore qualities of a competitive application What constitutes a competitive grant application? What components contribute to success? To examine successful proposal strategies To offer insights on effective grant-writing

3 Why should I apply for a grant? Collaborate? NIH support for collaboration Features of competitive collaborative applications Strategic action to catalyze collaboration Mission fitsponsor priorities and project goals Assessing readiness to propose Managing external review Communicating with reviewers Goals and objectives Rationale Approach Other key proposal content

4 Grants allow you to… Achieve intellectual or programmatic goals. Implement change in your… Institution, Environment, Society. Advance your field. Travel. Obtain resources/assistance w/ current activities. What is more…grant funding is increasingly part of the currency of an academic career!

5 …the process of knowledge creation has fundamentally changed. Teams increasingly dominate solo authors in the production of knowledge. …across nearly all fields. Teams typically produce more frequently cited research than individuals do…. The Increasing Dominance of Teams in Production of Knowledge, Wuchty et al. Science 18 May 2007: Vol. 316 no. 5827 pp. 1036-1039 DOI: 10.1126/science.1136099

6 Collaborations that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries can… Expand the nature of research questions you ask. Leverage synergies across disparate disciplines. Address particularly intractable problems. Enable far more complex analyses. Deepen the final insights generated by a study. NIH: Increasingly health-related research involves teams that vary in…size, hierarchy, location of participants, goals, disciplines, and structures.

7 Key NIH mechanisms facilitate team science. Multi-PD/PI** option… Encourages and supports interdisciplinary and other team science. Allows shared responsibility and authority for leading a project. Maximizes PI potential to respond to 21 st century challenges and opportunities. Supplements, rather than replaces, the traditional single PD/PI model. *National Institutes of Health **Multiple project directors/principal investigators

8 Key NIH mechanisms facilitate team science. Collaborative R01… Linked group or set of R01s, usually one R01 per participating PD/PI Coordinated and interlocked applications from each Common Research Statement section, summary statement for each PI Requirements… Rationale for applying as a collaborative study Role of each site in the project Approach to project management Elements unique to any of the sites

9 Sample Collaborative R01 FOAs Collaborative R01s for Clinical and Services Studies of Mental Disorders and AIDS (Collaborative R01) - PAR-12-278PAR-12-278 Collaborative Clinical Trials in Drug Abuse (Collaborative R01) - PAR-10-099PAR-10-099 Investigator Initiated Multi-Site Clinical Trials (Collaborative R01) - PAR-10-096PAR-10-096

10 Key NIH mechanisms facilitate team science. Excerpts from NIH peer review criteria… Investigators. If the project is collaborative or multi- PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise? Innovation. Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms…? Environment. Will the project benefit from unique…collaborative arrangements?

11 Competitive Proposal Strong Idea Strong Evidence Strong Presentation Strong Science Strong Team

12 To recapitulatestrong idea, strong evidence, strong science, strong presentation, and… Strong collaborative team Evidence of complementary expertise that… Enables novel insights Enables complex approaches Documentation of… Prior history of collaboration Shared planning/proposal development Commitments to… Collaborate Support the work in concrete areas A truly collaborative proposal engages key collaborators early in project development efforts!

13 Success depends heavily on… Strong leadership The larger the collaboration, the greater the need for a single leader to provide… Authority Assessment of core strengths / weaknesses Coordination of shared contributions External interactions (e.g., external advisory group, external review) Tactical and administrative responsibilities

14 Success depends heavily on… Strong leadership (cont.) A strong leader brings the group along: Pushes cross-fertilization among disciplines Monitors progress Manages team responses to new developments Focused initiative Shared vision of what could be Strategic team action to achieve the vision… Align strengths optimally Address weaknesses Solicit external feedback React to feedback

15 Collaborative projects typically develop in one of two ways… Strong collaborative idea/team drives a funding search for an appropriate grant program. Subscription funding databases InfoEd SPIN Community of Science NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts Intriguing funding opportunity announcement (FOA) inspires development of a collaboration.

16 Dont wait for collaborative opportunities…Act! Cross-fertilizationa dynamic strategy to… Catalyze exploration of areas of common interest. Refine a potential concept with new endpoints, etc. Pointed, low-effort strategies that work! Set up regular research program meetings (20-min. slots for each PI presentation). Invite others to your meetings. Garner invitations to their meetings. Set up bi-monthly luncheons. Develop hypotheses to share with one another. Listen and offer expertise/input! Structure the approachfacilitate the interactions through your research development office!

17 Safety/Toxicity Assessment of Ceria (A Model Engineered Nanoparticle) to the Brain, EPA RD-83377201-0, Yokel – pharmaceutical technology, PI; Butterfield – chemistry, Co-I; Graham – applied energy research, Co-I; Grulke – chemical and materials engineering, Co-I, subcontract PI - medicine Diffuse Optical Monitoring of Head and Neck Tumor Therapy, NIH R01CA149274, Yu – biomedical engineering, PI; Kudrimoti – radiation medicine, Co-I; Stevens – diagnostic radiology, Co-I Geometry of Gene Cophylogenies as Relates to Genome Evolution and Speciation, NIH R01GM08688, Yoshida – statistics, PI; Jaromczyk – computer science, Co-I; Schardl – plant pathology, Co-I Mechanisms of Wnt/beta-catenin inhibition by resveratrol and its derivatives, NIH R21CA139359, Liu – cancer biology, PI; Evers – surgery, Co-I; Watt – analytical chemistry, Co-I Genetic Markers Associated with Epithelial Ovarian Cancer and Hypodontia, NIH R03DE021438, Morford – oral health science, PI; Desimone – gynecologic oncology, Co-I; Fardo – biostatistics


19 Keep an eye on less obvious outcomes of the collaboration), i.e., nurture your long-term prospects! Development of new multi- faceted research thrust that multiplies your… Potential for future grant awards Avenues for publication Potential to generate new collaborators, emphases Network of possibilities from your expanded scope and the contacts of your collaborators New grants New publications New collaborators New emphasis

20 The extramural funding scene… Huge numbers of potential sponsorsfederal and private grantorseach with… Different missions and priorities Different programs and funding emphases Different funding mechanisms Your goalmatch your teams idea to the right sponsor and the right program! Sponsors are only interested in your project if it meets their need or solves their problem!

21 Know the sponsor! Do your researchreview carefully… Sponsor web pages Mission statement History Scope of grant-making activity Talk extensively with funded investigators. Read and reread the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Mission fit is critically important to funding success!

22 As you study the FOA, carefully analyze… Goals/purpose of the specific program Topics or issues of interest (funding priorities) Integrative or interdisciplinary priorities/potential Target populations Review criteriaAgainst… Your project concept and goals Your own professional capabilities Expertise and experience Collaborative relationships Your institutional capacity Campus/partner environment/infrastructure Human resources/administrative support

23 Analyze the match (your goalstheir needs) Why would the sponsor want to buy your idea? Check the FOAwhat kinds of team science is the sponsor seeking? Do my objectives/activities link to sponsor goals? What else has the sponsor funded? Review abstracts/successfully funded proposals. What kinds of collaborating institutions were represented by the awardees? To what degree is team science represented in funded projects? Lack of good project/mission fit usually results in rejection!

24 Note key phrases/themes: Collaborative teams of investigators Approaches which synergistically combine… Models of collaboration Integration across domains Requires multidisciplinary teams Let these buzzwords shape… Your project concept. The make-up of your team of collaborators. Collaborations can be as simple as… a multi-PI R21 ($275,000 total for two years) to highly complex large-scale projects.

25 Once you target a sponsor… Contact the program official listed in the program solicitation to discuss your project concept. Alignment of project with program focus Any recommendation for a specific… Institute at NIH Directorate at NSF Program at a private foundation

26 Email the program contact to request a time to call. In the email, identify… ~ Yourself, your expertise, your institution ~ Your project concept, i.e., send a brief abstract or concept paper

27 Funding begets funding! Build a track record by starting small. Each award instills confidence that you can… Manage the funds of others responsibly Complete a proposed project successfully Build on previous work to accomplish even greater outcomes Persistence pays! Rejection is part of the process. Those who succeed submit again and again and again.

28 NIH success rates by submission status… Act on a cardinal rule of grant-seeking: persistence pays! FY New R01 Equivalent Grants by Submission No. Success Rate 2011Original (-01)12.7% 2011First Amendment (-01A1)39.2%

29 If you find yourself proposing… Ideas without processes for implementation Potential collaborators with no evidence of commitment Several to-be-named roles Plans to… Recruit key collaborators Identify gaps or assess needs Identify evidence-based methods to carry out the aims… …you are probably not yet ready to write the proposal. A competitive proposal is … a detailed, step-by-step action plan!

30 The grant-writing process takes place after significant planning of the details… Gap or needs analysis Identification of collaborators and project team Collaborator commitments and documentation of complementary synergistic expertise Collection of preliminary datapreferably collaboratively collected datato support your rationale Extensive project development involving committed collaborators Think shovel-ready – in short, you have laid extensive groundwork, and the proposed project is ready (or almost ready) to launch!

31 To be an NIH-funded investigator, you must look like one! (Substitute any sponsorthe game is the same.) Let reviewers recognize you as someone who knows how to play the game. This means... You (i.e., your grant application) must… Reflect your knowledge of NIH conventions. Speak the language of the agency Specific aims (NIH) or objectives (NSF) Significance and innovation (NIH) or intellectual merit, broader impact, integration of research and education (NSF) Follow the formulathe layout of a typical NIH application as specified in the FOA. In short, write for an NIH audience..

32 Read and follow the guidelines strictly! Use the outline structure provided in the FOAyou deviate at your own risk! Include all specified content. Use the sponsors section headings. Avoid long, unbroken expanses of text. Judicious use of white space Blank lines between paragraphs Short digestible blocks of text Be reviewer friendly, i.e., make specific content easy to find!

33 Use the 4-S strategy of audience-centered communication for discussion points! Signpost – Signal upcoming content with subheadings, boldface or italic type, figures, diagrams, charts. State – Open with a key point or topic sentence. Support – Cite supporting evidence for each statement. ~ Tell (state) – then show! (support) Summarize – Pause periodically to interpret and lead reviewer thinking. Make complex content easy to digest!

34 Team science creates special needs to convince reviewers because it... Transcends traditional boundaries Proposes bold new directions Uses synergy to create new disciplines or alter approaches within existing ones (e.g., neuro-economics) You must demonstrate to reviewers that the collaboration is both appropriate and effective. Clearly convey both collaborative history and potential!

35 For example… Collaborative R01s require… Rationale for multi-site collaboration. History of collaboration, particularly as it informs or drives preliminary… Instrument development. Data collection. PI and his/her environmentcomplementary and integrated Clearly convey both collaborative history and potential!



38 Roles/areas of responsibilities of the PIs Justification of collaborative relationship Coordination of fiscal and management areas Process for decision-making Scientific direction Allocation of resources Team communications Publication and intellectual property policies Procedures for resolving conflicts

39 What it is… Summative conversation with… Program officers Reviewers Public (if funded) Mini version of the proposal Covers each major component Captures the essence of the review criteria ~ Do discuss review criteria fully in the narrative! Addresses a wide variety of audiences Executive summary, abstract, project summary… …a rose by any other name…. (Shakespeare) Write it last!

40 Clear goal statements Well-defined problem statement or rationale… Supported by data Most often presented as a gap in the field Detailed set of project activities… Direct alignment of proposal content with review criteria Meaningful evaluation measures Carefully justified budget Direct link between budget items and narrative

41 The Specific Aims page must… Market your idea Build a convincing case for funding Generate reviewer support for the project concept Paragraph 1: Set the context/frame the problem Paragraph 2: Propose a solution. Paragraph 3: Briefly summarize your approach. Paragraph 4: Summarize the overall impact. By the end of the Specific Aims page reviewers are either sold on the projector not!

42 1) Identify a critical need in highly compelling terms. Opening hook sentence to begin the flow of logic, orient reviewers to the context, provide direction Knowns – the current state of knowledge Unknown – gap in current state of knowledge Problem statement – direct indication of compelling need 2) Outline a solution (idea). Project goal (aligned with agency mission) Central hypothesis Basis for hypothesis (preliminary work + literature) Rationale (why?)

43 3) Lay out the approach. Project-specific aims or objectives Logically related Not dependent on success of other aims/objectives Logical step-by-step development of activities to fulfill the aims/objectives 4) Summarize the overall impact. Direct statement of expected results Expected benefits/impact of the outcomes… Brief mention of Significance Brief mention of Innovation

44 Goals… Indicate overarching long-range direction. Provide broad statement of the targeted outcome. ~ Examples: …to determine the role of changing marriage and family practices in shaping international migration. (The Reciprocal Dynamics of Family Transformation through International Marriage Migration; PICole, University of Chicago; NSF award 1060807) …to assess the long-term effect of [intimate partner violence] during pregnancy on early childhood health. (Early Childhood Development in Relation to Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy; PIChen, Medicine/Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, NIH R03 HD058249) Consensus is critical for team sciencewrite goals and objectives collaboratively!

45 Objectives… Break the goal down into smaller units Provide specific, measurable actions to achieve the goal Outcome objectives… Express intended results or accomplishments Focus on changes in policy, a system, the environment, knowledge, attitudes, or behavior Task-based or process objectives… Focus on the activities to be completed Represent concrete steps in the implementation process

46 Outcome objectives… ~ Examples: …to determine if self-monitoring of daily eating and physical activity habits using a personal digital assistant (PDA), with or without a tailored feedback intervention, is superior to using a paper diary in terms of promoting and maintaining short and long-term weight loss. (Improving Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss with Technology; PIBurke, University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh, NIH R01DK071817)

47 Task-based or process objectives… ~ Example: … to create concerted patient care and clinical research workflow models, designed to promote awareness, information sharing and reuse…; establish a standards-based knowledge base of business rules to support the re-engineered care/research workflow model…. (Developing flexible EHR Plug-Ins to Re-Engineer Clinical Care and Research Workflow, PIBigger, Columbia University Health Sciences, NIH R01 LM0101815) …to develop and validate a novel non-contact diffuse optical system for early hemodynamic assessment of ulcer development in deep tissues. (Non-contact Diffuse Optical Assessment of Pressure Ulcer and Therapy, PIYu, University of Kentucky, NIH R21AR062356)

48 Task-based or process objectives… ~ Example: …to analyze the network assembly of vascular derivatives in hydrogels. (CAREER: Hypoxia and Extracellular Matrix Remodeling in Vascular Differentiation and Network Assembly; PIGerecht, Johns Hopkins University, NSF award 1054415) …to characterize (qualitatively and quantitatively) trophic interactions between major plankton groups in the euphotic zone and rates of, and contributors to, carbon export [in the Sargasso Sea.] (Collaborative Research: Plankton Community Composition and Trophic Interactions; PIRichardson, University of South Carolina, NSF award 1030345)

49 Non-SMART objectives invite reviewer criticisms… The scope is too ambitious. It is not clear that the applicant can achieve the objectives during the project period. The objectives are not easily measured and, thus, the expected outcomes are doubtful. Know where your work is headed! Ensure your objectives are SMART… Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-bound Specific aims or objectives drive the application!

50 A strong project rationale builds on a… Specific problem statement or Gap in the current state of the field Provides a context or frame of reference for the work Underscores the importance of the goals/objectives Uses compelling language and statistics to describe… Extent/degree of problem Need for the project and its urgency Impact of leaving the problem unaddressed Populations affected The discussion of rationale (Why?) helps you sell the project.

51 Joshua Bell at the metro… By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars…and began to play. By Gene Weingarten Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, April 8, 2007 dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html Never leave your reviewers to determine the impact themselves!

52 A competitive proposal… Starts with a good idea but develops the idea into a very detailed action plan. Clearly indicates who, what, why, when, and how…and it does so in highly specific detail. Strong Proposal Good Idea Action Plan Position your proposal content as far as possible along the Good Idea Action Plan continuum by laying out very specific details of the work.

53 Study the review criteria. Are your responses to the criteria easy to find? Are the criteria thoroughly addressed? Are all criteria addressed? Did you seek outside review of the narrative against the guidelines?

54 Evaluate! Analyze and interpret data, or evaluate program activities. Identify specific tools and measures linked to objectives. Identify an expert evaluatorinternal or externalbut not you! Sustain! Describe future studies, applications, other funding. Embed within a center, institute, or college. Conceive the project as a model for others. Disseminate! Identify products, outcomes, or findings Deliver project deliverables. Sharepublish, present, teach, post, reach out.

55 Identify precise areas of project value Merit or quality Worth or cost-effectiveness Significance or impact Determine… What to evaluate (program and context) What performance aspects to judge What standards must be reached What evidence or indicators to use What conclusions are justified How outcomes will drive improvement What happens when its over? Program evaluation matters!

56 Sponsors/reviewers increasingly want to see… Formal expertise with data analysis and interpretation Statistician Expert evaluator Robust plan for critically analyzing the outcomes Formative/summative assessments Discussion of statistical measures Thoughtful discussion of conclusions to be drawn Evidence-based measures appropriate to the standards of the discipline Theoretical underpinnings of the analytical approach Budget sufficient funds for evaluation, or… risk undermining your work!

57 Identify directly and specifically… The products of your work The anticipated end users The overall benefit Address sponsors expectations for sharing… Publication Presentation Participation in awardee network Application or translation to other settings Foundations for future studies by others What did you create? New knowledge? Novel tools? Innovative approaches?

58 Consider ways to sustain the value of your creation… Future studies (think research program, not project) Existing resources to support sustainability Impact in building capacity or enabling translation External factors that support continuation Lay groundwork for institutional buy-in… By senior administrators Institutional assurances/commitments Other stakeholders or playmakers What did all that money buy? Plans to sustain matter!

59 External review prior to submission is critical! AKA Red Team review Pick toughest reviewers you can get… People who will give great feedback People who are engaged, so easier to keep engaged Set parameters for guided review by red team reviewers. Specify the section you wish feedback on. Specify 4-5 issues you are struggling with. But send the whole draft proposal in as polished a state as possible.

60 AKA Red Team review (cont.) External/internal advisors/reviewers (or both) can play the heavy, i.e., deliver the bad news. Pressure on team to deliver quality content when other colleagues will see their work Motivation to team to talk, regroup, revise Swap reviews by collaborators create cohesiveness. Within-the-team review Inside knowledge of the project concept, so particularly informed review Eye to alignment with the central concept Successful sample proposals are invaluable!

61 Writing Good Goals and Smart Objectives All About Grants Tutorials (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) Program Evaluation Toolkit U.S. Department of Agriculture User-Friendly Handbook for Mixed Method Evaluations Identify successful projectsrequest sample proposals.


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