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									Basics of Grant Writing



          Basics of Grant Writing
                       or
             How To Support Your Work

                          Aron Primack, MD
                              FIC/NIH
                           March 10, 2004
Basics of Grant Writing                      General Concepts


                                   Funding Agency

   The Players

                    Reviewers

                                Proposal Writers
Basics of Grant Writing                   General Concepts

                          The Process

                          Announcement
                           RFA or PA


                           Submission

                             Review

                           Notification
Basics of Grant Writing




                          Some agencies may want a

                          LETTER OF INTENT
     • Helps the agency to understand the proposed work
     • Helps the agency office to find reviewers with
       special expertise and understanding
     • Program Officer may ask questions and give advice
Basics of Grant Writing                        General Concepts



                          General Advice
          Search thoroughly to find the best
          match between what you want to do
          and a funding source.
          Otherwise all other efforts are wasted.
          e.g. NIH Guide
                  CRISP database
                  Websites
Basics of Grant Writing                           General Concepts



                          General Advice

          Find out everything you can about the
          funding source.
          Number of applications in a typical cycle,
          % of applications funded,
          % of requested budget funded,
          Reviewers’ interests and credentials.
Basics of Grant Writing                               General Concepts



                            General Advice

          Talk to or email (contact) people at the
          funding agency to review/clarify
          details of the announcement.


                          Details are important!!!!
Basics of Grant Writing                                  General Concepts



                              General Advice

          Talk to previous successful applicants
          to the funding agency especially in
          your country or region.


                          Review successful proposals.
Basics of Grant Writing                                    General Concepts



                               General Advice

          Study the announcement thoroughly
          and frequently. You will see new
          things each time you read it.


                          Get in the head of the agency.
                           Understand their mission.
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts

                          General Advice
     Review the literature to identify the gaps
     and needs in your area. Re-review the
     literature just before submitting the final
     application. New articles might have
     appeared. Remember, you started
     writing your application long before the
     application date.
      You must propose good science and/or fill an
                  important need.
Basics of Grant Writing                               General Concepts



                            General Advice

          Once you decide to apply, give it 100%
          of your effort. It takes many months
          to do a good application.


                          No one can do it for you.
                              Be enthusiastic!
Basics of Grant Writing                          General Concepts



                          General Advice

          Allow at least twice the time you think
          it will take to write the proposal.


            Especially time to refine the final version.
Basics of Grant Writing                               General Concepts



                              General Advice

     Choose more experienced (senior)
     collaborators as co-investigators, if
     possible. There is no shame in having
     collaborators and consultants. In fact,
     there is shame in thinking you can go it
     alone.
                          Seek mentoring. Get help.
                     Test your ideas on colleagues.
Basics of Grant Writing                        General Concepts



                          General Advice

          Multi-disciplinary and inter-
          institutional groups often have a better
          chance with many funding agencies.


           Especially related to Public Health and/or
                     international projects.
Basics of Grant Writing                             General Concepts



                            General Advice

                          Act like a salesperson.
           Convince the reviewers the proposed work
             is very valuable and you are the most
                      qualified one to do it.
             You know more than anyone about your
                      project. Tell them!
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts



                          General Advice

                          Write clearly.
     • Explain preliminary data.
     • Don’t assume the reviewers know your field.
     • Proofread and have someone else proofread.
     • NO MISTAKES are acceptable.
        Don’t be sloppy (figures in order; no
        discrepancies, e.g. references)
       (Have a native English speaker proofread.)
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts



                          General Advice

          DO A TIMELINE SOMEWHERE IN
          YOUR APPLICATION
              Carefully tell the reviewer the
          order of your work and how long you
          plan to spend on each part
Basics of Grant Writing                      General Concepts



                          General Advice

          As much as possible, use the exact
          words from the announcement in your
          proposal.


             You might use the announcement as the
                 initial draft of your proposal.
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts



                          General Advice



           Think like a reviewer
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts



                          General Advice

       Write the proposal as if
       someone else will have
         to do the research!
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts



                          General Advice

       Tell the reviewers what
        you will do with the
          resuslts: further
            research ideas
Basics of Grant Writing                         General Concepts

                          General Advice
     Be specific in your specific aims
       (often the first part of the application
           that is read by the reviewers)
    •Carefully explain your specific aims
    •Are they realistic with your facilities?
    •Do they follow appropriately? Put them in order
    •If specific aim #1 is found to be untrue, will all
    your future specific aims fail and therefore all
    future aims suffer?
    •What will you do if one is found to be untrue?
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts



                          General Advice

                           References:
     •Include all valuable references
          +New studies
          +Competing views
     •Be sure they match the body of the
     application
Basics of Grant Writing                      General Concepts



                          General Advice

          Don’t give reviewers a reason to
          eliminate your proposal.
            Overworked and underpaid reviewers
          (reviewers actually get NO pay) have very
          many other very good proposals to consider
                   in a short time period.
Basics of Grant Writing                        General Concepts



                          General Advice

          Help the reviewers write their review!


             Make their job as easy as possible. Feed
              them the right words. Take control.
Basics of Grant Writing                      General Concepts



                          General Advice

          If at all possible, get reactions from
          outside reviewers who will be critical.
          Don’t always ask friends or colleagues
          to be your reviewers.
          Ask them to be tougher than the reviewers
          will be. And mean it!
Basics of Grant Writing                        General Concepts



                          General Advice

             Be creative, but honest, about
             cost-sharing.


              All agencies like to see their money
             multiplied by in-kind (not just money
                but things and help) and other
                 contributions from applicant
                          institutions.
Basics of Grant Writing                    General Concepts



                          General Advice


            Keep focused on the end result!


         Important work requires good funding.
Basics of Grant Writing



             The NIH Intramural/Extramural
                        Program
       •   FY 2001 Actual Current Law     $20,469 mil
       •   FY 2002 Estimate Current Law   $23,536 mil
       •   FY 2003 President's Budget     $27,244 mil
       •   FY 2004 Proposed               $27,900 mil

            80% of NIH money = extramural program

                EVERY DOLLAR IS SPENT EACH YEAR
                       AND IS HARD TO GET
Basics of Grant Writing
Basics of Grant Writing




       Fogarty International Center
                          Science for Global Health

                  Mission:
          To promote and support
    research and training internationally
    to reduce disparities in global health
Basics of Grant Writing




         The Fogarty International Center
       Types of grants of
         interest
            – R series grants
                 • R(01) – RESEARCH
                 • R(03) - small research
            – D43 training
              programs
              (e.g. ITREOH)
Basics of Grant Writing


            Some Sources of Information
              on NIH Grant Writing
  http://www.niaid.nih.gov/ncn/grants/default.htm

  http://www.nigms.nih.gov/funding/tips.html

  http://www.niddk.nih.gov/fund/grants_process/grantwriting.htm

  http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/EXTRA/EXTDOCS/gntapp.htm

  http://www.drugabuse.gov/Funding/Grantapps.html

  http://www.nigms.nih.gov/funding/tips.html

  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not97-010.html
Basics of Grant Writing




                          NIH Grants System

       • RFA = Request for Application (one time)
       • PA = Program Announcement (recurring)
       • Cooperative Agreement (NIH staff has a
           prominent and on-going role in all aspects of the
           work throughout the life of the grant.)
Basics of Grant Writing




         Solicited vs. Unsolicited Grants
       • Solicited = 25% (in response to RFA or PA)
       • Unsolicited =75% (sent in by the applicant
         but not in response to an RFA or PA: 75%
Basics of Grant Writing


                               CRISP
     Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects
           - database of federally-funded biomedical research

               • National Institutes of Health (NIH),
               • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA),
               • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),
               • Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
               • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP),
               • Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ),
               • Office of Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH).
Basics of Grant Writing



          Use CRISP to:

       • Search for scientific concepts, emerging
         trends and techniques
       • Search for funded grant abstracts
       • Find NIH institutes interested in your area
       • Find the NIH study section that reviews
         applications in your research area
Basics of Grant Writing


      http//:www.nih.gov   N
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Basics of Grant Writing


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Basics of Grant Writing

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Basics of Grant Writing




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Basics of Grant Writing

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Basics of Grant Writing
        http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html
Basics of Grant Writing
                          NIH Review System
     • Review Panel determines Scientific Merit
     • There are 20 Initial Review Groups (IRG) of the
       Center for Scientific Review (CSR) at the NIH
     • Institute: Funding
Basics of Grant Writing

                          NIH Review System
        • What do the reviewers want to determine?
             – SCIENTIFIC CREDIBILITY
        • What does the IC want to determine?
             – WILL THE WORK HAVE IMPACT AND BE
               SUCCESSFUL IF FUNDED
        • Who reviews?
             – Center for Scientific Review
             – Institutes’ own review panels
             – Special Emphasis Panel
Basics of Grant Writing

          How Does the Application Flow
              Through the System?
    • Comes into CSR
            >65,000 applications per year
            >500,000,000 pieces of paper
Basics of Grant Writing



              Center for Scientific Review
                      (continued)
       • Initial Review Group (IRG) assignment
       • Assignment to an Institute or Center (IC)
Basics of Grant Writing

                          Panel Make-up
       •   Scientific Review Administrator (SRA)
       •   Chairperson
       •   Panel Members
       •   First, second and third reviewers
Basics of Grant Writing




                Sending in the Application
       • Write a cover letter: helps determine where
         the unsolicited application goes
            – Briefly explain the hypothesis and the aims
            – Any special expertise needed?
Basics of Grant Writing
Basics of Grant Writing


               What are the parts of an
                 NIH application?
                     •    Face Page
                     •    Abstract
                     •    Budgets
                     •    Biographical sketches
                     •    Preliminary data
                     •    Specific aims
                     •    Scientific presentation of methods and
                          expected work
Basics of Grant Writing



              Supplemental Information

                     • Appendices
                     • Bibliographies
                     • Do not have to be read:
                          – therefore all information that
                            MUST be read needs to be in
                            the body of the application
Basics of Grant Writing




                                Letters
                          • Reference
                          • Collaboration
                          • Support (institution)
Basics of Grant Writing


                     NIH Review Criteria
            -- Significance      -- Investigator
            -- Approach          -- Environment
            -- Innovation
Basics of Grant Writing




                          Significance
       • What is the importance of the work?
           Why should they give you money?
       • What is the relevance?
           If you are successful, so what?
       • What is the rationale?
           Why this work at this time?
       • What is the usefulness?
           How will this work fit into future work?
Basics of Grant Writing



            PROBLEMS WITH SIGNIFICANCE AND
                           INNOVATION


           •   Not significant, not exciting, not new
           •   Lack of compelling rationale
           •   Incremental and low impact research
           •   Lack of biomedical relevance
Basics of Grant Writing




                PROBLEMS WITH SPECIFIC AIMS

       • Too ambitious, too much work proposed
       • Unfocused aims, unclear goals
       • Limited aims and uncertain future directions
Basics of Grant Writing


                          Approach
          •   Is there a hypothesis?
          •   Is it too ambitious? Be realistic!
          •   Is it focused?
          •   Is it clear?
          •   Are there alternative approaches?
          •   Can the reader understand it?
          •   Are the statistical analyses appropriate?
Basics of Grant Writing



                          More on Approach
       • Detail needs to be right
       • Need clear and complete preliminary data
       • How does this build on the preliminary data?
       • Are there alternatives?
       • Are the pitfalls addressed?
       • What will you do if the first part fails? Does
         everything else depend on it?
       • What will you do if it all succeeds?
       • Are you challenging what is already known?
Basics of Grant Writing

               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
Basics of Grant Writing




                          Investigator
       • Is the investigator trained and able?
       • Investigator background and expertise, as
         indicated in publications
       • Collaborators and whose project is it
         anyway?
       • Letters from collaborators and consultants?
Basics of Grant Writing




                PROBLEMS WITH INVESTIGATOR


         • No demonstration of expertise (publications)
         • Low productivity, few recent papers
         • No collaborators or no letters from collaborators
Basics of Grant Writing




                          Environment
       • Institutional support: show the institution is
         behind you:
          – Laboratory space
          – Personnel
          – Start up funds, if relevant
       • Basis on which to build the work:
          – Adequate equipment and resources
          – Access to qualified personnel
Basics of Grant Writing




                PROBLEMS WITH ENVIRONMENT


       • Little demonstration of institutional support
       • Little or no start up package or necessary equipment
Basics of Grant Writing

               Human Subject Concerns
     • Belmont Report
        (http://ohsr.od.nih.gov/mpa/belmont.php3)
     • Helsinki Report
        (http://www.wma.net/e/policy/17-c_e.html)
     • US Policy (Common Rule) 45CFR46
     http://pw1.netcom.com/~alalli/BillSite_Documents/CommonRule.
        html#Subpart%20A
Basics of Grant Writing


               Human Subject Concerns
       • http://ohrp.osophs.dhhs.gov/index.html
       • Federal Wide Assurance (FWA)
       • The Federal Policy (Common Rule) for the protection of
         human subjects at Section 103(a) requires that each
         institution "engaged" in Federally-supported human
         subject research file an "Assurance" of protection for
         human subjects. The Assurance formalizes the institution’s
         commitment to protect human subjects. The requirement to
         file an Assurance includes both "awardee" and
         collaborating "performance site" institutions.
       • Institutional Review Board (IRB)
       • Independent Ethics Committee (IEC)
Basics of Grant Writing

           Vertebrate Animal Concerns
Basics of Grant Writing



           Vertebrate Animal Concerns

       • http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/olaw.htm
       • Institutional Animal Care and Use
         Committee (IACUC) http://www.iacuc.org
       • “just-in-time” like human subjects issues
Basics of Grant Writing


              Are There Specific Issues
             Related to Foreign Grants?
       • Why is the research being done in the
         foreign country?
       • What is the benefit to the US?
       • What special circumstances or opportunities
         are available?
Basics of Grant Writing


                   Typical NIH Time Line
       • RFA published --> letter of intent -->
         application received --> review occurs -->
         internal center decisions --> council meets
         --> award is made
       • State Department Clearances (Form 1820)
       • India and Brazil governments have their
         own clearance process and may take longer
Basics of Grant Writing


       What good is the Review to you
         if you do not get funded?
       • Most do not get funded the first time:
         most get funded at some time
       • Critique on your work
       • Basis of a revision and resubmission
       • Technical suggestions may be made
       • RESUBMIT
Basics of Grant Writing



              Others Sources of Funding

       • Wellcome Trust
           http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/1/gra.html
       • National Science Foundation
       • U.S. Civilian Research & Development
         Foundation (CRDF)
            – www.crdf.org
       • Listing of possible grant opportunities
            – http://www.proposalwriter.com/intprocure.html
Basics of Grant Writing




                               Aron Primack, M.D.
                                  Program Officer
                          E-mail: aron_primack@nih.gov

                           Fogarty International Center
                           National Institutes of Health
                               Bethesda, MD, USA

								
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