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DRI Grant Writing Workshop Writing Successful NIH Mentored Career Development Awards (K and F Series), Mentorship Plan and Role of a Mentor Lynn Snyder-Mackler.

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Presentation on theme: "DRI Grant Writing Workshop Writing Successful NIH Mentored Career Development Awards (K and F Series), Mentorship Plan and Role of a Mentor Lynn Snyder-Mackler."— Presentation transcript:

1 DRI Grant Writing Workshop Writing Successful NIH Mentored Career Development Awards (K and F Series), Mentorship Plan and Role of a Mentor Lynn Snyder-Mackler

2 1 Predoctoral Individual NRSA (F31) Predoctoral Individual MD/PhD NRSA (F30) Postdoctoral Institutional Training Grant (T32) Postdoctoral Individual NRSA (F32) Small Grant (R03) Research Project Grant (R01) Independent Scientist Award (K02) Senior Scientist Award (K05 ) Stage of Research Training / Career Awards GRADUATE/MEDICALSTUDENT POSTDOCTORAL EARLY MIDDLE SENIOR CAREER Predoctoral Institutional Training Grant (T32) NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award (K99/R00) Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08) Mentored Patient-Oriented RCDA (K23) Mentored Quantitative RCDA (K25) Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24) Exploratory/Develop- ment Grant (R21) Training and Career Timetable Pre-Bac Pre-Bac Institutional Training Grant (T34)

3 2 Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award (K25) Career Transition Award (K22) Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) Postdoctoral Graduate School College IndependentInvestigator Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08) Mentored Patient- Oriented Research Development Award (K23) Pathway to Independence (PI) Award (K99/R00) Mentored K Awards

4 3 Mentored Awards Support mechanisms that provide mentored research experiences to gain additional expertise in an area that will significantly enhance research capabilities or expertise in a new research area.

5 F32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows Requirements: U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, doctorate awarded Duration: Up to 3 years Commitment: Full-time research fellowship Provisions: ~$37K-$52K stipend, ~$8K institutional allowance, 60% up to $16K tuition Research Career Awards (K) 4

6 5 Mentored K Awards K01: Mentored Research Scientist Development Award K08: Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award K22: Research Career Award for Transition to Independence K23: Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Development Award K25: Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award K99/R00: NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award K12: Institutional Mentored Research Scientist Development Program

7 K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award Purpose: For individuals who wish to enhance their capacity for independent research. Requirements: U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, doctorate awarded Duration: 3-5 years Commitment: 75% effort Provisions: Salary up to $75K, fringe benefits, other research expenses up to $20K 6

8 K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award Purpose: To support clinicians who need an intensive period of mentored research experience. Requirements: U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, clinical doctorate awarded Duration: 3-5 years Commitment: 75% effort (50% effort for physician surgeons) Provisions: Salary up to $75K/$50K, fringe benefits, other research expenses up to $20K 7

9 Scientific Review:  Jun/July  Oct/Nov  Feb/Mar Council Review:  October  January  May Earliest Award Date:  December  April  July Receipt/Due Date:  Feb 12 (April 8)  Jun 12 (August 8)  Oct 12 (December 8 ) Timeline for K (F) Applications 8

10 F and K sections and page limits Section of Application Page Limits * (if different from FOA, FOA supersedes) Introduction to Resubmission or Revision Application (when applicable) 1 Specific Aims1 Research Strategy6 Respective Contributions1 Selection of Sponsor and Institution1 Responsible Conduct of Research1 Applications for Concurrent Support (when applicable) 1 Goals for Fellowship Training and Career1 Activities Planned Under This Award1 Doctoral Dissertation and Other Research Experience 2 Sponsor(s) and Co-Sponsor(s)6 Biographical Sketch4 9 Section of Application Page Limits * (if different from FOA, FOA supersedes) Introduction to Resubmission or Revision Application (when applicable) 1 Specific Aims1 First three items of Candidate Information (Candidate's Background, Career Goals and Objectives, and Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period and Research Strategy 12 pages (for all sections combined) Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research 1 Mentoring Plan (Include only when required by the specific FOA, e.g., K24 and K05) 6 Statements by Mentor, Co-Mentors, Consultants, Contributors 6 Description of Institutional Environment 1 Institutional Commitment to Candidate’s Research Career Development 1 Biographical Sketch4

11 Prepare the Application: read the instructions!! start early, seek internal reviewers A.Candidate (grades, GREs, publications, pedigree) US citizen or permanent resident Doctoral degree (many ok) B.Sponsor and Training Environment C.Research Proposal D.Training Potential E.Vertebrate Animals, Human Subjects F.Up to 3 yrs G.You may have to resubmit…

12 NIH Data Book – (http://report.nih.gov/ndb/index.aspx)Data provided by the Division of Information Services, Reporting Branch Kirschstein-NRSA post-doctoral fellowships (F32s) Applications, awards, and success rates

13  Assess your career situation and needs. Find out the opportunities for collaborating with a known laboratory and experienced mentor(s) and collaborators.  Assess field and the competition; see which other projects in your field are being funded by NIH. Search the NIH database: Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT).  Evaluate yourself: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Can you capitalize on your expertise and fill in any gaps with collaborators or consultants?  Find out what resources and support your organization has and what additional support you will need. Develop a Strategy 12

14  Is there an added value to your receiving a K award? Why not pursue research training through other mechanisms?  Give yourself plenty of time to write the application, probably three (to six) months.  Know your organization's key contacts and internal procedures for electronic application.  Begin the application by writing a one-sentence hypothesis for the proposed research project.  Call an Institute/Center (I/C) Program Officer for an opinion of your ideas. See if your ideas match any of the I/C's high-priority areas, reflected in I/C’s initiatives and concepts. Develop a Strategy 13

15  Read NIH Guide notices.  Read the NIH Institute/Center Funding Opportunity Announcements.  Sign up for NIH's Electronic Application Listserv to Receive News and Updates.  See NIH's Electronic Submission Website.  As you plan your grant, watch for important policy and process changes.  Be wary of online information – always check when a page was last updated. Stay Informed 14

16  The general rule of thumb for a K award is to start at least 3 months prior to the application due date.  Notify your referees early on and give them plenty of time to submit letters of reference.  At least a month before you want to apply, you'll need to get an NIH Commons account.  You will also need to know who is your organization's Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). Your AOR is typically someone in your business office.  Only the AOR can submit your application to Grants.gov. Keep in mind that your organization is the “applicant.” You are the K candidate.  For info, see: Start Early to Apply Electronically 15

17  Coordinate the application with your mentor’s schedule. Remember that a K application is a collaboration between you and your mentor.  As you write the research project, always keep in mind the impact on your career development plans and progression.  Make sure your planning and feedback are adequate by putting together your own review committee.  After you've settled on a project, draft a short description of your specific aims and discuss these with the committee.  Be sure to have the committee review the application after you're finished writing. Before You Start Writing 16

18  The research component of a K application should be driven by strong hypotheses rather than advances in technology.  The hypothesis is the foundation, or the conceptual underpinning on which the entire project 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.  However, sometimes applied research is also important to discover basic biology or develop or use a new technology.  You should develop a focused hypothesis that increases understanding of an important biologic process and is based on previous research. Develop a Solid Hypothesis 17

19 A few Tips:  Make sure your idea is not too broad. Your hypothesis must be provable during your 3 to 5 year award with the level of resources you are requesting.  Your topic should fit NIH's public health mission. Tie your science to curing, treating, or preventing disease.  Show reviewers how your project fits in your field. Make this explicit.  Remember, methods are the means for performing your experiments. Your experimental results will prove or disprove your hypothesis.  If you have more than one hypothesis, choose the better one. Develop a Solid Hypothesis 18

20  Make sure your hypothesis will generate aims and methods you can accomplish within the 3-5 years time and with the resources available.  After you have chosen your hypothesis, outline your specific aims:  List your aims and then all the experiments you will do to support each aim.  Keep in mind that your experiments support your aims, and your aims support your hypothesis.  Use graphics to plan experiments.  Chart experiments with decision trees showing alternative pathways should you get negative results. Plan Your Application 19

21  The Career (K) line budget is driven by NIH Institute and Center policies. As an applicant, you are restricted to what you can ask for.  Be aware that the NIH Institutes and Centers have varying salary and research cost scales!  A typical mentored K award to a new investigator provides partial salary and only modest research costs.  Ideally, your mentor(s) should be well-funded (NIH funding is preferred), and funding from the K is supplemental to his/her research funds.  Most independent K awards do not provide research costs. It is expected that you will have peer-reviewed research funding. Request an Appropriate Budget 20

22  Sharpen the focus of your application. Beginning applicants, particularly at an early career stage, often overshoot their mark by proposing too much. Avoid an “over-ambitious” project or one that looks a lot like an R01 grant!  Your hypothesis should be provable and aims doable with the resources you are requesting.  Make sure the scale of your hypothesis and aims fits your request of time and resources.  Reviewers will quickly pick up on how well matched your research and career development objectives are. Don't Propose Too Much 21

23 Write to Your Audience:  Organize your application so the reviewers can readily grasp and explain what you are proposing, and most importantly, why you should get a K award. Be Persuasive:  Tell reviewers why testing your hypothesis is worth NIH's money, why you are the person to do it, and how your mentor(s) and institution can give you the support you'll need to get it done. Balance the Technical and Non-technical:  Keep the abstract, significance, and specific aims non-technical, and get technical and detailed only in the methods section. A Few Tips as You Write 22

24 Make Life Easy for Reviewers:  Write clearly and concisely  Guide the reviewers with graphics as much as possible  Label all materials clearly  Edit and proof Know These Review Problems and Solutions:  Write a compelling argument for why your career will be enhanced by receiving a K award  Write to the non-expert in the field A Few Tips as You Write 23

25  Candidate Qualifications, Career Goals, Training Plans  Statements by the Mentor, co-Mentors, Collaborators, and Consultants  Institution Environment and Commitment to the Candidate  Specific Aims  Research Strategy Write a Compelling Application 24

26 Writing a competitive mentored K award grant application Main sections of the grant application –Candidate (Sections 2 – 4)* –Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (Section 5: limited to 1 page) –Statements by Mentors, Co-Mentors, and Collaborators (Section 7; limited to 6 pages) –Description of Institutional Environment (Section 8; limited to 1 page) –Institutional Commitment to Candidate’s Research Career Development (Section 9: limited to 1 page) –Specific Aims (Section 10: limited to 1 page) –Research Strategy (Section 11)* *Sections 2 – 4 plus Section 11 are limited to 12 pages

27 Career Goals and Objectives:  Tell the reviewers about your scientific history, and how the K award fits into you research career development plans.  If you have changed research direction, discuss reasons for the change, and be sure to justify how it will help you to develop your research career.  You should always provide a career development timeline, including plans to apply for subsequent grant support. 26 Candidate’s Career Goals

28 Career Development/Training During Award:  Make sure to fully explain any new or enhanced research skills you will gain as a result of the K.  Stress activities that will enhance your research career, e.g., courses, techniques.  Describe any additional, non-research activities in which you expect to participate. Explain how the activity is related to your research and career development plans. 27 Candidate’s Career Plans

29 Training in Responsible Conduct of Research:  Document any prior participation in RCR training and/or propose plans to receive additional instruction.  Discuss the five components outlined in the NIH Policy: Format, Subject Matter, Faculty Participation, Duration, and Frequency.  Is the plan appropriate for your career stage, and will it enhance your understanding of ethical issues related to research? 28 Responsible Conduct of Research

30 Statements by Mentor(s), Consultant(s):  Each mentor must explain how he/she will contribute to the development of the candidate's research career.  Discuss the research And Also other activities, e.g., seminars, scientific meetings, training in RCR, publications and presentations.  Document the sources and amounts of anticipated support for the candidate’s research project. 29 Mentor(s), Collaborators, Consultants

31 Statements by Mentors, Co-Mentors, and Collaborators Assemble a complementary team –Choose a primary mentor who is a senior investigator with a track-record of NIH funding Your primary mentor should be at your home institution. –Include co-mentors who will complement the primary mentor’s strengths. –Avoid including co-mentors from institutions outside the region. If you do include someone from outside the region, call them a scientific or technical advisor rather than a co-mentor.

32 Statements by Mentors, Co-Mentors, and Collaborators –Each member of your “team” must play a role in your training or research plan. –Establish a relatively small (3-5) mentoring committee. –This section is limited to 6 pages. Each member of your team must submit a signed letter. The primary mentor’s letter should be at least 2 pages, leaving only 4 pages for all other members; hence, the total number of mentors/advisors on your team should not exceed 5.

33 Statements by Mentors, Co-Mentors, and Collaborators Evaluation criteria for primary mentor: –Appropriateness of mentor’s research qualifications in the area of this application. –Quality and extent of mentor’s role in providing guidance and advice to candidate. –Previous experience in fostering the development of more junior researchers. –History of productivity and support. –Adequacy of support for the research project.

34 Primary mentor’s letter The primary mentor’s letter can also “re-frame” any potential weaknesses in the application. –Examples: Productivity of candidate (e.g., few publications). Feasibility of conducting research plan with resources of K award. Limited mentoring experience of primary mentor. Limited resources of primary mentor (e.g., no current R01 funding. Co-mentor(s) not at UD. Scientific overlap with primary mentor.

35 Letters of Recommendation Letters should address the candidate’s potential for a research career. –Potential for conducting research –Evidence of originality –Adequacy of scientific background –Quality of research endeavors or publications to date –Commitment to patient-oriented research –Need for further research experience and training

36 Statements by Mentor(s), Consultant(s):  Provide details on the candidate's anticipated teaching load, clinical responsibilities, etc.  It is critical to discuss plans for transitioning the candidate to the independent investigator stage by the end of the K award period.  Mentor(s) must provide details for any previous experience as a mentor, types (e.g., graduate students, Postdocs), numbers, and career outcomes. 35 Mentor(s), Collaborators, Consultants

37 Description of Institutional Environment:  The sponsoring institution must document a strong, well-established research program related to the candidate's areas of interest.  The statement should include the names of the mentor(s) and other relevant faculty.  The statement should provide details of facilities and resources available for the candidate.  Any opportunities for intellectual interactions, e.g., journal clubs, seminars, and presentations? 36 Institution’s Research Environment

38 Institutional Commitment to the Candidate:  The institution must document its commitment to the candidate’s career development independent of the K award!  The institution must agree to provide adequate time and support to the candidate for the period of K.  Provide documentation for the institution's commitment to the development and advancement of the candidate during the period of the K award. 37 Institution’s Commitment

39 Description of Institutional Environment This section is limited to 1 page. Evaluation criteria: –Adequacy of research facilities and the availability of appropriate educational opportunities. –Quality and relevance of the environment for scientific and professional development of the candidate.

40 Description of Institutional Environment Describe the research facilities and educational opportunities of the sponsoring institution that are related to the candidate’s career development training and research plans. –Include relevance of each component to your career development plan. Describe resources outside UD, as needed.

41 Institutional Commitment to Candidate’s Research Career Development This section is limited to 1 page. Evaluation criteria –Applicant institution’s commitment to the scientific development of the candidate and assurances that the institution intends the candidate to be “an integral part of its research program.” –Applicant institution’s commitment to protect at least 75% of the candidate’s effort for proposed career development activities.

42 Institutional Commitment to Candidate’s Research Career Development (Cont’d) –These assurances are stated in a letter from your department chair or division chief (see Example 4). Note: For fellows, this letter must state that you will be promoted from your current position to a “higher” position (ideally, to a full-time faculty position) during the K award period.

43  Overall Impact: This score reflects the reviewers assessment of the likelihood for the candidate to become/remain an independent investigator. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to have a major impact.  Scored Review Criteria: Determination of scientific, technical, and career merit. Each gets a separate score: → Candidate → Career Development Plan/Career Goals & Objectives → Research Plan → Mentor(s), Consultants(s), Collaborator(s). → Environment and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate Career Award Review Criteria 42

44 Candidate:  Quality of research, academic and/or clinical record  Potential to develop as an independent and productive researcher  Commitment to a research career  Quality of the letters of reference Career Development Plan/Career Goals & Objectives:  Likelihood that plan will contribute substantially to the scientific development of candidate – Added Value  Content, scope, phasing, and duration of the plan in the context of prior experience and stated career objectives Career Award Review Criteria 43

45 Research Plan:  Scientific and technical merit of the research question, design and methodology  Relevance of the proposed research to the candidate‘s career objectives  Appropriateness of the research plan to the stage of research development and as a vehicle for developing the research skills described in the career development plan Career Award Review Criteria 44

46 Mentor(s), Consultants(s), Collaborator(s):  Qualifications and statement by Mentor and collaborators/Consultants Environment and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate:  Commitment of institution to ensure that the candidate's effort will be devoted to research (Minimum 75%)  Adequacy of research facilities and training opportunities, including capable faculty  Assurance that institution intends for the candidate to be an integral part of its research program Career Award Review Criteria 45

47 Additional Review Criteria:  Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk  Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children in Research  Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research  Biohazards  Resubmission Applications  Renewal Applications (as applicable) Additional Review Considerations:  Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research  Select Agents  Resource Sharing Plans  Budget and Period of Support Career Award Review Criteria 46


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