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Developing a Plan of Action Dr. Jan Dorman University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

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1 Developing a Plan of Action Dr. Jan Dorman University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

2 Why Write a Grant? Grants provide you with resources needed to complete a major project that interests you Grants allow you to set your own career goals and increase your autonomy Grants help you achieve recognition and enhance your professional reputation Grants generate resources for graduate students

3 Why Write a Grant? Grants offer salary support and potentially release time Grants fund personnel, equipment and travel Grants can be used to support conferences Grants may be required for tenure Grants provide prestige to you and your school

4 What Type of Grants? Project grants –Research –Conferences –Books Career development grants –Fellowships –K awards –Institutional Training Grants

5 Need an Idea that FITS Fills a gap in knowledge Important –To you and long-term career path –To your institution –To the field –To the funding agency –To the reviewers Tests a hypothesis Short-term investment leads to long-term gain –Impact –Sustainability

6 Ideas May Come From Clinical experience Literature Presentations at professional meetings Discussions with colleagues Funded investigators Emerging health-related issues Solicited reports (e.g. IOM) Current agency priorities NIH-sponsored conferences

7 Current Hot ‘Topics’ Community-based participatory research Interdisciplinary initiatives Underserved populations Technology Translational research Biobehavioral science Genomics Patient safety

8 NINR Program Areas Health promotion and disease prevention Managing symptoms in acute and chronic illness Self-management in health and illness Caregiving Health disparities End of life/palliative care

9 CRISP Information on grants and programs funded by HHS Search database to see what has been funded that relates to your topic Can obtain copy of the proposal –Contact PI –Contact NIH Freedom of Information Office Coordinator


11 Communicate Intent To mentor/advisor/department chair To Research Administration To program staff from the funding agency –Do homework first!

12 Before You Start Writing Conduct comprehensive literature review –Your question should be based on gaps in the literature –Why is your research compelling, necessary, timely, significant? –What are your goals and outcomes? –Brainstorm with colleagues Identify Co-investigators and a statistician Consider theoretical frameworks

13 Before You Start Writing Draft your Specific Aims All proposals require a narrative –Read funded proposals –Develop an outline –Consider developing a presentation of your proposal –Consider publishing your narrative (after your grant is submitted!) Do you need pilot data?

14 Develop study design and methods –Identify study population –Determine How your project will be conducted Recruitment needs Data to be collected to address your question Resources will be required If your environment is appropriate Do you need community support? –Develop timeline –Talk with a statistician Before You Start Writing

15 Carefully read grant guidelines and review criteria Determine whether you are eligible to apply – NIH says: –“Any individual with the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support.” Additional qualifications depend on the funding agency and mechanism

16 Before You Start Writing Talk with your colleagues and mentors –You will want them to review your proposal –Include people who do and do not know the area Visit your University’s Office of Research Website Make an appointment with your school’s research administrators

17 Before You Start Writing Do you have institutional support? Do you have the needed infrastructure? When are applications due? Can you apply later? When are they reviewed? Are there budgetary restrictions? When do you need the money? How much money do you anticipate needing? Key Question: GO/NO GO?

18 Rules to Follow If It’s a Go

19 Get Started Early! Rule 1

20 Establish benchmarks and deadlines –Start ~3 months before it’s due Are internal reviews are needed? Is the submission electronic? –Register with agency weeks in advance –Need 10 extra days Allow time for feedback –Don’t be defensive

21 Rule 2 Read the Instructions!

22 Rule 2 Follow instructions exactly! –If not, application may be returned Use Appendices wisely –Don’t put anything in an Appendix that the reviewer needs to read Check key websites frequently Make contact with agency as needed

23 Make It Easy For the Reviewers Rule 3

24 Write from the reviewer’s perspective –Assume that they are NOT experts Make it EASY for the reviewers –Let there be white! Clarity is key – avoid detours –Use subheadings, tables, figures

25 Rule 3 Keep it simple, focused and interesting to reviewers and funding agency Identify potential problems /limitations –Address them in the proposal Talk up strengths Say it’s significant because …

26 Rule 4 Play It Straight!

27 Rule 4 Don’t pad biosketches –Do not list conference presentations or book chapters if you’re applying to NIH Don’t over- or under-estimate the budget –NIH has 2 tier review Toot your horn – but don’t deafen the reviewers! Grants are awarded to your institution, not you!

28 Rule 5 Don’t Work in A Vacuum!

29 Rule 5 Lot’s of resources on the web Meet with collaborators early and often Update internal and external staff frequently Get feedback from colleagues –Senior investigators, non-experts






35 Additional Things to Consider Take additional grant writing courses Read books –Gerin W. Writing the NIH Grant Proposal, Sage Publications, 2006 –Ogden TE and Goldberg IA. Research Proposals: A Guide to Success. Academic Press. 2002. –Reif-Lehrer L. Grant Application Writer’s Handbook. Jones and Bartlett, 2005. Take a course in accounting Write (or help write) lots of grants!

36 Rule 6 Don’t Give Up!

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