NRSA Tutorial Emory University School of Medicine

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NRSA Tutorial Emory University School of Medicine Powered By Docstoc
					      Strategic Planning for
Fellowship Grant Funding –
  focus on the NRSA (F32)
        Janet Gross, Ph.D.
        Grants Tutorial Director
        Office of Postdoctoral Education
•   Grant Writing – the challenge
•   What is the NRSA grant proposal?
•   Nuts and Bolts of NIH applications and
    guidelines in general
•   Writing a competitive proposal
•   Common mistakes – lessons from summary
Grant writing takes practice + skill
   Learn about grant writing and other kinds of writing
   Practice letting others review and comment on your
   Practice having your proposals and writing be “rejected”
       find someone with a 100% funding record (if you can)

   Practice rewriting your own work
   Work collaboratively to make your proposal outstanding
       Take advantage of the expertise around you
       There is no stupid question --- risk it!
Best grant writers are collaborators

     Research         Grant proposal
     MENTOR           MENTOR

      Working with your mentor
   Communication
   Learning experience
   Collaborative writing process
   Time management

        Plausible Research Ideas    Specific Aims
Everyone is very smart
   Most proposals are very good, even have excellent
    research plans
   Only outstanding gets funded
   Invest in your career not just in this research project
   Work collaboratively to make your proposal outstanding
       Take advantage of the expertise around you
       There is no stupid question --- risk it!

   Remove all obvious flaws from your proposal
You are not your proposal
             (however, you are your biosketch)

   Scientific writing must be vetted by others
   Write something every day
   Practice rewriting your own work
Grant Writing Strategies

1. Review a successful proposal - do not be naïve
2. Make contact with the funder - is your science fundable?
 Contact with the NIH?
  Section VII. Agency Contacts
  Each NIH Institute and Center has a unique scientific purview and
different program goals and initiatives that evolve over time. Prior to
preparing an application, it is critical that all applicants consult the
appropriate Institute website (listed with each Institute's name at the
beginning of this announcement) for details of research areas supported
by that Institute.
  Applicants should also contact the appropriate Institute representative
to obtain current information about specific program priorities and
policies. This action is of utmost importance because applications with
marginal or no relevance to the participating Institutes will not be
accepted for review or possible funding. .....
  Grant Writing Strategies
1. Review a successful proposal - do not be naïve
2. Make contact with the funder - is your science fundable?
3. Coaching – grant writing group, NRSA tutorial class
4. Collect tips and hints about grant writing that have worked for others
5. Develop a strategic plan for your proposal – careful planning with
   guidance from mentors
6. Use a timeline to write - time management & priorities
7. Convey confidence in your research and writing style
8. “Arm’s Length” approach to reading your own work
9. Get others to read and critique your work
       What is the
     Ruth Kirschstein
National Research Service
      (NRSA F32)?
NRSA F32 Mission
  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards
individual postdoctoral research training fellowships to
promising applicants with the potential to become
productive, independent investigators in research fields
relevant to the missions of participating NIH Institutes
and Centers.

  The primary objective of this funding opportunity is to
help ensure that diverse pools of highly trained
scientists will be available in adequate numbers and in
appropriate research areas to carry out the Nation’s
biomedical, behavioral and clinical research agendas.
F Kiosk

1.   Identify the correct grant
Title: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research
 Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual
 Postdoctoral Fellows (Parent F32)

2.   Download the Program Announcement

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PA-10-110
3.    Locate the applications instructions link
General Information. For general information on SF424 (R&R) Application
and Electronic Submission, see these Web sites:
    SF424 (R&R) Application and Electronic
     Submission Information:

4.    Locate the application package
•  General information on Electronic Submission of Grant
    Why Should I Apply for This Grant?
   Stepping stone for an academic career
   Build a track record of fundable research
   NRSA vs. other grant opportunities
    o $$, prestige

    o Small, competitive awards vs. no award

    o Are you permitted to be a PI?
The Sponsor/Mentor

   How well do you know the sponsor?
   How well does the sponsor know you?
   Has your sponsor ever had NRSA postdocs before?
   Can you in person, face-to-face, ask these questions
    and discuss the answers with your Sponsor?
   Should you have a co-sponsor/mentor?
Other options for awards
There are many non-NIH funding opportunities:

       Training or Fellowship Grants
       Career Development Awards (CDA’s)
       For non-citizens
       For specific disease-focused research
       Travel, equipment, tuition
         Kirschstein-NRSA post-doctoral fellowships (F32s)
              Applications, awards, and success rates

NDB 19
After proposal leaves University

    NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR)

 Assigned to review committee (study section)

 Primary reviewer, Secondary reviewer, Reader
 Who Reviews the NRSA?
1.   Center for Scientific Review

2.   Scoring system considers the impact of the research
     o   range = 10 (high impact, exceptional) – 90 (low impact, poor)

3.   Funding level (payline) is not determined nor discussed by
4.   Funding decisions are made by the NIH I/C
Review Process
         Top 50%                      Bottom 50%

 Discussed at committee               Not discussed

Impact Score + Criteria scores   Not scored (streamlined)

  Summary Statement              Summary Statement with
                                     criteria scores
  Funded      Not funded               (very valuable)

             Anyone can resubmit 1 time
Useful Training Websites

   NIDA Training Information Site

   NINDS Training Information Site

   NIH Grant Review Process - Video
NRSA (F32) Program Announcement:
 General Information

1. You build, save, upload pdfs and fill in online form
   •   follow OSP guidelines for NIH grants; www.

2. Application Package
3. Individual Fellowship Application Guide SF424 (R&R) -
   Adobe Forms Version B – writing instructions
4. Additional Form Pages – biosketch form, etc.
Which NIH I/C is the best match for your

   Study the website of the NIH Institute or Center (I/C) to
    which you are directing your proposal
    •   Is there a match between your interests and the agency’s
    •   Agency Contact List - pre-application advice?

    •   Section I. I.

   Each NIH Institute and Center (IC) has a unique scientific purview and
different program goals and initiatives that evolve over time. Prospective
Fellowship Applicants are encouraged to contact the relevant NIH staff for
IC-specific programmatic information: Table of Institute and Center Contacts.
         Who supports the F32?
Components of Participating Organizations
National Cancer Institute (NCI), (
National Eye Institute (NEI), (
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), (
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), (
National Institute of Aging (NIA), (
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), (
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), (
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), (
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), (
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD),
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), (
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), (
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), (
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), (
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), (
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), (
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), (
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), (
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), (
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), (
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), (
Eligibility Issues for the NRSA
Program Announcement rules are NOT OPTIONAL

  • U.S. citizenship, non-citizen national, or permanent
     • at time of award (not submission)

  • Previous and current funding situation
     • The combined postdoctoral T32 + F32 cannot exceed
        3 years
•   You need an eRA commons account
•   Funding dates – Aug, Dec, April
•   Award cycles – 3x/yr
•   Stipend levels and payback requirements
       Incur a service obligation of 1 month for each month of support
        during the first 12 months.
       Health-related research training, research and/or teaching
     What sections
          are in
the application package?
SF424 (R&R) Application
4.2 SF424 (R&R) Cover Component
4.3 R & R Project /Performance Site Locations
4.4 R & R Other Project Information Component
   7.    Project Summary/Abstract
   8.    Project Narrative
   9.    Bibliography & References Cited
   10.   Facilities & Other Resources
   11.   Equipment
   12.   Other Attachments (mentor’s stuff)
4.5 Key Person Profile
          Biosketches go here (yours – you are the PI- and the mentor’s)
5.2 PHS398 Cover Letter File
5.3 PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form
4.4 R & R Other Project Information Component
 12. Other Attachments
 A.    Required Attachment
      1. List of Referees
      2. Sponsor and Co-Sponsor Information (6 pages max.)
             a)   Research support available
             b)   Sponsor and co-sponsors’ previous fellows
             c)   Training Plan, Environment, Research Facilities
             d)   Number of Fellow/Trainees to be supervised
             e)   Applicant’s Qualifications and Potential

 B. Additional Attachments (when applicable)
      1.   Collaborators and Dissertation Advisor, if applicable
      2.   Certification Letter for Predoctoral Fellowships (F31) to Promote
4.5 Senior/Key Person Profile
       o   PI = you, the Fellowship Applicant or Candidate
       o   Senior Key Person #1 = primary sponsor (mentor)
       o   Senior Key Person #2 = co-sponsor
       o   40 max.
       o   Upload biosketches here
5.3 PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form
        B. Research Training plan

   1.    Introduction to Application (resubmissions only; 1 page)
   2.    Specific Aims – 1 page max.
   3.    Research Strategy – 6 pages max.
        a)    Significance
        b)    Approach (includes preliminary data)

   Human Subjects
   6. – 12.
PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form

Other Research Training Plan Sections
     13-14. Vertebrate Animals
     15.   Select Agents Research
     16.   Resource Sharing – model organisms, GWAS
     17.   *Respective Contributions
     18.   *Selection of Sponsor and Institution
     19.   *Responsible Conduct of Research

     *1 page maximum
PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form
       C. Additional Information

Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Fellowship Applicant
7. * Goals for Fellowship Training and Career
8. * Activities Planned Under this Award (100% effort)
9. ** Doctoral Dissertation and Other Research Experience
10.   Citizenship

D.   Budget
E.   Appendix

** 2 pages max.
If you don’t follow the guidelines.......
   Don’t exceed the page limit
   Don’t use the wrong font, pagination, spacing,
   Don’t skip any sections
   Don’t do this solo
   Don’t think “This couldn’t possibly be
 How can strategic
   grant writing
  contribute to a
competitive proposal?
How to convey your research career

 1.    In the proposal, remind the reader that you are
       on track to become an independent scientist

       NRSA is funding for training & career
      development not just for funding your PI’s
  “This is a person on the path to becoming
an independent researcher”

2.   Biographical Sketch (follow format for Fellowship biosket)

3.       Doctoral Dissertation and Other Research
         Experience (2 pages max.)

Can you create linkages in the reader’s mind?
     o     Tell your story.
     o     Use of 1st person is ok.
    Good Organization is Essential
    .....or messy grant = messy lab
   Choose an outlining style
     •   CAPS, bold, italic, underlining, etc.

   Be consistent throughout - parallel formatting for each Specific Aim
    and for each experiment
   Refer to your Specific Aims in your Preliminary Studies
   Refer to your Preliminary Studies in your Approach (methods)
   Refer to your training potential throughout
   Name names of mentor(s)
You will be rewarded if you DO

o   Set aside time to write a grant – can take weeks or months
o   Read all directions
o   Follow all guidelines
o   Make yourself a personal “to do” list; check it off
     o   Use the SF424 Assembly Line pdf
o   Pace yourself - cramming is a killer  errors!
o   Get quality feedback
Important, unforgivable DON’TS

o   Don’t exceed the page limit
o   Don’t use an unapproved font, pagination, spacing
o   Don’t skip any sections
o   Don’t think “This section couldn’t possibly be
o   Don’t do this solo
Scientific Grant Writing
 1. The messy proposal
   The committee
commented on the less
than stellar
throughout the proposal
(misspellings and typos).
2. The overly ambitious research plan
   There are some concerns as to the likelihood of
completing aims 2 and 3 within the allotted time given
the pilot nature of the work and the number of
techniques that need to be mastered.
The overly ambitious research plan
 The training potential of the planned work is high.
However, there are concerns that the research plan is
overambitious, not hypothesis driven and lacks clear
rationale and detailed description of the studies proposed.
Taken together, these concerns diminish enthusiasm for
the application.

 While interesting, the proposal is extremely ambitious.

  Overall, the research plan is too broad and too large to
have any hope of being successful.
Responsible Conduct of Research:

   A formal course in the responsible conduct of research,
 taken within the past three years, is required; individual
 lectures/seminars and on-line tutorials are not acceptable
 for fulfilling this requirement. To ensure that the course is
 appropriate for fulfilling the requirements for training in
 the responsible conduct of research, the candidate must
 provide specific information on the course content to allow
 reviewers and/or staff to determine whether or not the
 course fulfills the NIH requirements. In this application,
 the course content and the date the course has been taken
 or will be taken are not specified, which is unacceptable.
   4. The flawed methodology

     It is clear that the
applicant is not completely
familiar with the drug
interactions that follow the
combined administration of
substance x and substance y in
patients with diabetic
5. The rush job
  The applicant has not considered the recently published
research on psychosocial determinant of behaviors predicting
HIV/AIDs infection in minority youth while much older literature
has been discussed.
 More Common Mistakes
Mastery of the literature
  •       Controversial terms vs. well-accepted terms
  •       Are you considering all sides of the issue fairly?
  •       Is your familiarity with the literature up to date?
  •       Have you made a compelling case for Significance?

Resources not adequately explained
      •    Lab does not have established techniques, models related to your
           training and research goals

Insufficient collaborative support or supervision
      •    Sponsor’s experience is insufficient or not well-described
  More Common Mistakes
Design, Experiments, Data Analysis
• Hypothesis is ill-defined, lacking, faulty, diffuse
• Methodology is questionable, unsuited or flawed
• Inconsistency in level of detail from one experiment to the next
• Agents, clinical interventions, high tech procedures are not adequately
• Are there alternatives worth mentioning?
• Data collection procedures are not clear
• Power calculation consideration
• Data management plan is unclear or absent

   It is unclear that the analytic techniques will yield the
      anticipated outcomes.
Even more mistakes
Training Plan

     Lacks cohesiveness – can the reviewer easily summarize in
      what and how you will be trained?
     Is too brief; generic; not personalized – must mention you by
     Doesn’t include future research plans or career goals
 What if I don’t get funded?

1.   Reapply (you have 1 chance to reapply) if your training
     potential is still good (i.e., you are not too far along as a
     postdoc), or
2.   Work on your publication record and apply for another type of
     grant where you will be more competitive
What if I’m not eligible and/or competitive
for the NRSA

Seek other funding opportunities
     Many private foundations do not have citizenship restrictions
     Disease-specific organizations
        MDA, AHA, ACS, Crohn’s and Colitis Fdn America
     Department of Defense – ALS research, orthopedics basic
      science fellowship
     NSF
     How do I look for other funding
        Community of Science; IRIS

2.    Foundation Directory Online - Woodruff Library databases

3.    Science
        Searchable database GrantsNet
            What Should I Be Doing Now?
                 ...... 2 months to go
1.   Find copy of a successful proposal
2.   Contact the funder
3.   Start NRSA notebook - obtain all necessary forms and information;
     start on forms; Print out forms.
4.   Learn about Departmental and OSP procedures – YOU DO NOT HIT
5.   Proofread from paper not the computer screen
6.   Participate in REGULAR, ACTIVE discussions with mentor
7.   Formulate RESEARCH TRAINING PLAN - draft an outline with all
     required sections
8.   Identify individuals who can provide REFERENCES
9.   Take my 3 session NRSA Grants Tutorial
          What Should I Be Doing Now?
               ..... 1 month to go
1.   Write/revise full-length drafts of your proposal
2.   Complete information on form pages – work with departmental
     grants specialist
3.   Check on your Letters of Recommendation
     •   be clear on due date
     •   how to use eRA Commons to submit references
4.   Circulate your proposal for quality critique and review
5.   Review Sponsor section with your Sponsor (>1 time)
6.   Build pdf and review hard copies

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