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Science Grant/Proposal: Development and Writing Michael Hadjiargyrou Department of Biomedical Engineering Fall 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Science Grant/Proposal: Development and Writing Michael Hadjiargyrou Department of Biomedical Engineering Fall 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Science Grant/Proposal: Development and Writing Michael Hadjiargyrou Department of Biomedical Engineering Fall 2011

2 Grant Proposal: a multistep process Friedland & Folt, Writing Successful Science Proposals, 2000 Identify/Define concept/idea Review literature, conduct preliminary studies Articulate the general question Formulate a set of hypotheses that address the general question Design studies to test each hypothesis Develop methods/techniques to test, analyze results Evaluate potential alternative outcomes Develop a realistic budget Obtain feedback – collaborators, consultants Obtain all necessary permits, authorizations, meet all sponsor requirements (including deadline)

3 Grant Proposal: devise a workplan Responsiveness to solicitation (link it to stated objectives in the solicitation); study solicitation, contact program officer The nature of the project and how it will be conducted The data you will include Time table for project (number or years) Anticipated outcomes and evaluation Description of: Existing expertise (who is available) Facilities & Equipment Collaboration that make it possible to conduct the research (who to include)

4 Be accurate, clear, consistent, brief, optimistic Write with impact and emphasis Organize the text so it is easy to follow Avoid redundancy and unnecessary words Have an effective (clear, concise) title that captures reviewer’s attention Use figures, diagrams, and tables effectively Funnel the reader from big ideas to specifics of your research Highlight (bold, italics, underline) important points Start each paragraph with a topical sentence Spell check and use a consistent format Make sure to reference sources and check citations against reference list Grant Proposal: the writing

5 Grant Proposal (Fellowship): the components Section I – Applicant/Fellow Face page Form pages Table of Contents Biosketch Previous Research Experience Research Training Plan Checklist Personal Data on Kirschstein- NRSA Individual Fellowship Applicant Page Section II – Sponsor Biosketch Information Section III – References Letters of support NIH Cover Sheet Project Summary Table of Contents Project description Background Rationale Preliminary Studies Research Design and Methods Broader impacts Integration of Research and Education Scientific/Technological Understanding and Benefits to Society References Biosketches Budget & personnel justification Current and Pending Support Facilities/Equipment Letters of Support NSF

6 Fellowship review criteria Candidate: previous academic and research performance and the potential to become an important contributor to biomedical, behavioral, or clinical science. Sponsor and Training Environment: The quality of the training environment and the qualifications of the sponsor as a mentor within the proposed research training experience. Research Proposal: The merit of the scientific proposal and its relationship to the candidate’s career plans. Training Potential: The value of the proposed fellowship experience as it relates to the candidate's needs in preparation for a career as an independent researcher. For each the strengths and weaknesses are outlined. Additional Review Criteria Protections for human subjects Vertebrate Animals Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children Biohazards Responsible Conduct of Research NIH What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? Importance of proposed activity Qualification of PI Creativity and originality Conception and organization Sufficient access to resources What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? Advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning Broaden the participation of underrepresented groups Enhance the infrastructure for research and education Dissemination of results Benefits to society Scoring is Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor NSF

7 Grant Proposal: common mistakes "The Top 10 Grant-Writing Mistakes," by Deborah Ward. Principal, Volume 81, Number 5, May 2002 The writing isn't succinct or intelligible. To avoid this situation, give the finished proposal to a colleague to read before you submit it. This will help you to identify parts that needed to be clarified. The estimated costs for the proposal are inaccurate, incorrect, or inflated. Never guess at the cost of any item. Chances are that a reviewer or a staff person will identify the inaccuracy, which will affect the credibility of your entire proposal. The proposed budget doesn't match the narrative or there are costs in the budget that are not mentioned or explained in the narrative. Always be sure that the budget accurately reflects the costs of the project's activities. Otherwise, the reviewers are likely to suggest that unexplained costs not be included in the grant award. The proposal contains typographical and grammatical errors. Although a proposal with such errors will be read, what kind of message does it send to a reviewer? Take time to have other people proofread your proposal before you submit it. The objectives are too vague and open to individual interpretation. Objectives must be measurable! Objectives that are not specific or measurable will lead to vague evaluations and, in all likelihood, rejection of your proposal.

8 Grant Proposal: common mistakes The proposal was hastily assembled. Reviewers can easily spot proposals that were written at the last minute. Items are missing, budgets are incomplete, and the proposal sounds choppy and unfinished. Never underestimate the time needed to develop a project idea and complete the paperwork. The proposal is filled with jargon and acronyms. Don't assume that grant reviewers are experts in the subject area and that they understand your jargon and acronyms. Make sure that your proposal has substance and clarity, and that you explain what you mean. The proposal is full of buzzwords and clichés. What may seem perfectly clear to you may be mystifying to the reviewers. Be clear! The writer ignores instructions. Every grant has rules and directions that must be followed. If you want your proposal to be read and considered, read and re-read the directions. Otherwise, you risk having your proposal disqualified without being read. The proposal doesn't match the funder's objectives. Sometimes individuals are more interested in the funding than what the funding is supposed to accomplish. Don't expect sponsor to depart from its objectives just because you have a good project idea. In fact, if your project doesn't match a sponsor's interest, your proposal will likely go unread. So be sure you do your research and find a sponsor that closely matches your project idea.

9 Grant Proposal: common mistakes Problems with significance: Not significant nor exciting nor new research Lack of compelling rationale Incremental and low impact research Problems with specific aims: Too ambitious, too much work proposed Unfocused aims, unclear goals Limited aims and uncertain future directions Problems with experimental approach: Too much unnecessary experimental detail Not enough detail on approaches, especially untested ones Not enough preliminary data to establish feasibility Feasibility of each aim not shown Little or no expertise with approach Lack of appropriate controls Not directly testing hypothesis Correlative or descriptive data Experiments not directed towards mechanisms No discussion of alternative models or hypotheses No discussion of potential pitfalls No discussion of interpretation of data Problems with investigator: No demonstration of expertise or publications in approaches Low productivity, few recent papers No collaborators recruited or no letters from collaborators Problems with environment: Little demonstration of institutional support Little or no start up package or necessary equipment grantwriting_mistakes.htm

10 NIH Fellowships: National Research Service Award (NRSA)

11 NIH Fellowships (F31): Application, Awards, Success Rates

12 Trends in major fields of study of NIH-supported Ph.D. recipients

13 NIH Budget/Award Stipend: $21,180 Tuition and Fees : 60%, up to $16,000/per year Institutional Allowance: $4,200 for health insurance, research supplies, equipment, books, travel to scientific meetings Maximum of 5 years of support NSF Three years of support $30,000 annual stipend $10,500 cost-of-education allowance Budget / Awards

14 Grant Proposal: Resources National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (Parent F31) wship_VerB.pdf Writing Successful Science Proposals, Andrew J. Friedland and Carol L. Folt, Yale University Press, 2000. Guide to Effective Grant Writing: How to write an effective NIH grant application, Otto O. Yang, Springer, 2007

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