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ACADEMIC SKILLS WORKSHOP

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ACADEMIC SKILLS WORKSHOP Grant writing December, 2004 Manuscript Submission January, 2005 Establishing a Clinical Research Career February, 2005 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: ACADEMIC SKILLS WORKSHOP


1
ACADEMIC SKILLS WORKSHOP
  • Grant writing December, 2004
  • Manuscript Submission January, 2005
  • Establishing a Clinical Research
    Career February, 2005
  • Balancing career and family March, 2005
  • Research Collaborations, academic
    advancement April, 2005

2
GRANT WRITING
Nicholas O. Davidson, MD Professor of
Medicine, Director, Divison of Gastroenterology, W
ashington University School of Medicine
DECEMBER 17, 2004
3
General Principles of Grant Writing
  • Funding trends
  • Preparatory phase
  • The application (NIH format), Budget
  • Review process
  • Tips for a successful grant
  • My top ten lists

4
Find out which agencies are soliciting grant
applicationsand note due dates!!
http//grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/listserv.htm
5
NIH budget doubled since 1996

From http//grants2.nih.gov/grants/award/trends/bu
dg9202.htm
6
Funding Trends NIH
7
Success rate for new RO-1/R-29 applications by
New Investigators without prior grant support
http//grants2.nih.gov/grants/award/trends/newinvr
01r29succ9502.htm
8
Preparatory Phase of Grant Writing
  • 9-12 MONTHS IN ADVANCE RO-1 or KO-8 SUBMISSION
  • Timing is critical in relation to your intended
    publications.
  • Develop a hypothesis driven question.
  • Insure resources (Mentor and collaborators are
    key).
  • Determine which NIH institutes are requesting
    applications.
  • Review proposals that have been funded.
  • Review the application process in detail.

9
Anticipate what reviewers will ask
  • General questions
  • What is the central hypothesis? validity,
    clarity.
  • Is the question important and novel? potential
    impact
  • Are the specific aims logical and feasible?
    organization.

10
More questions reviewers will ask
Specific questions
  • Are the proposed experiments feasible?
  • Is there compelling preliminary data?
  • Is there a predictable flow to the proposal?
  • Are the investigators qualified ?
  • Are the facilities, environment and resources
    adequate?

11
The Hypothesis
  • Driving force for a strong application.
  • Emphasize in both abstract and specific aims.
  • Provide a strong rationale based on current
    information.
  • Should further the field (biology,
    pathophysiology, treatment).
  • Should be a recurring theme throughout the
    application

12
The Application
  • Components NIH Format
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Research Plan
  • - Specific Aims
  • - Background and Significance
  • - Preliminary Studies
  • - Research Design and Methods
  • - Human Subjects
  • - Vertebrate Animals
  • - Literature Cited
  • - Consortium/Contracts
  • - Consultants

13
The Application
  • Title
  • Specific and detailed if possible
  • Go for succinct rather than catchy
  • 56 characters
  • Dont change on a revision

14
The Application
ABSTRACT DO THIS LAST..after completing your
research plan. Succinct, accurate description of
the proposal (200 words). State hypothesis,
objectives and importance of goals. State plans
and general methods to achieve these goals.
15
The Application
  • Research Plan Specific Aims
  • Self contained description of your
    objectives,in 1 page.
  • Must provide an organizational framework.
  • Begin with a concise statement of the general
    purpose and hypothesis to be tested.
  • Summarize your key preliminary or recently
    published data.
  • Organize specific aims in sequential, numerical
    format.
  • Restate these aims exactly in your experimental
    proposal.

16
The Application
  • Research Plan Background and Significance
  • General Objectives
  • Show how your research will increase knowledge .
  • Demonstrate understanding of the field.
  • Demonstrate that the questions are important
    and novel.
  • Identify next logical steps for research.
  • Specific Objectives
  • Relate your preliminary findings to testable
    hypotheses
  • Make direct connections between your findings
    and your aims

17
The Application
  • Preliminary Studies/Progress report
  • Key component of the proposal
  • Objective is to convince reviewer that
  • (i) Hypotheses are reasonable
  • (ii) Proposed methods are feasible (establish
    competence)
  • (iii) Preliminary data are novel and related
    directly to proposal
  • (iv) All the aims have at least some preliminary
    support

18
The Application
  • Preliminary Studies/Progress report
  • Must support the hypothesis and feasibility of
    the project.
  • Must interpret results critically.
  • Must be your own work (published or not), not
    work of others.
  • Must describe new methods in detail.
  • Must have clear figures and diagrams supporting
    concepts.

19
The Application
  • Research Plan Experimental Design and Methods
  • Organize EXACTLY as worded in Specific Aims
    page.
  • For each Specific Aim,you should detail
  • Rationale
  • Experimental approach
  • Anticipated results, potential caveats
  • Advantages of proposed new methods (include
    consultants).
  • Possible pitfalls with alternative approaches.
  • Possible future directions.
  • Time line (year 01, 02, etc by aim)

20
The Application
Research Plan Experimental Design/Methods
Blend into description of the experimental
approach. Methods you have published, can be
referenced and described briefly. Describe
new methods in detail. Justify. Include
consultants or collaborators for new methods.
Dont make the methods section the focus of your
aims
21
The Application
  • Other components Research Plan (continued)
  • - Human Subjects
  • - Vertebrate Animals
  • - Literature Cited
  • - Consortium/Contracts
  • - Consultants

22
The Application
Formatting Page Length Adhere to
recommendations. Specific Aims 1
Page Background significance 2 - 3
pages Preliminary studies 6 - 8
pages Research design methods 10 - 13 pages
23
The Application
Formatting Do not overcrowd pages.
Observe type size limitations (6 lines/inch, 15
characters/inch). Observe margins (1/2
inch). Attractive layout. Do not squeeze
into the allotted space (avoid dense text).
Proposal should easily convey your ideas to a
hurried reviewer.
24
Reviewer Realities
Average time to review grant Range 6-10 hours
(read, critique, prepare written review)
Average number of grants per reviewer, per study
section 8-10
Range of total time commitment 50-100 hours
25
(No Transcript)
26
BETTER STILL.USE FIGURES TO ILLUSTRATE PATHWAYS
AND SPECIFIC AIMS
Aim 2 TRA-1, TRA-2 interaction
Aim 3 Nuclear-cytoplasmic trafficking NXF-1 and
TRA-2
Aim 1 Characterize nuclear protein complex
27
Application cover letter
  • OK to request or suggest
  • Specific Institute (even OK to suggest more than
    one)
  • Specific Study Section
  • Indicate specific areas of expertise needed for
    your application
  • Indicate any individual or group with a major
    conflict of interest

NEVER OK To name desired reviewers
28
The Budget
Modular Grants Modular grant application
initiated 6/99. Direct costs not to exceed
250,000/yr. Requested in 25,000
increments. Detailed budget not
required. Other support pages not required.
but be careful and do the math!! PI salary 2
FTE RAs Supplies First RO-1 awards generally
keep lt200K
29
Summary Statement
  • What is a summary statement?
  • Summary of study section review
  • Content
  • -SRG action priority score percentile
  • -recommended direct costs
  • -two critiques
  • -resume summary of discussion

30
Summary Statement
  • What is a critique?
  • Written evaluation by primary secondary
    reviewer with additional comments by reader
  • Three members of study section evaluate
    application in-depth
  • Basis of critique
  • -significance
  • -approach
  • -innovation
  • -investigator
  • -environment
  • -overall evaluation

31
Summary Statement
  • Resume Summary of Discussion
  • Additional comments by other study section
    members on grant application
  • -may or may not be important
  • Final summary of collective evaluation of grant
  • -reflects study sections general views
  • -may or may not need to respond to in
    re-application
  • - occasional minority report

32
Summary Review Criteria
Preliminary data Productivity CV, etc
Space/resources Collaborators
Will experiments work? And when they dont?
Impact on field?
Technique/Reagent Topic/Perspective
33
Summary Statement Revision
  • Approach to Revision of Application
  • do not respond in anger to misunderstood
    component(s) of grant
  • must respond on a point-by-point basis to
    substantive concerns
  • respond to each component of critique (e.g.,
    critique 1 2) separately
  • very likely same reviewers will re-review grant
    or at least read response to critique

34
Summary Statement Revision
  • Approach to Revision of Application (contd)
  • score/percentile of revised application is
    dependent on response to previous review
  • if additional experiments/preliminary data
    requested delay re-application until complete

35
Summary Statement Revision
  • Common Concerns on Critique
  • not enough preliminary data to justify
    hypothesis/specific aims
  • investigator doesnt have expertise to complete
    approach to specific aims
  • techniques proposed wont answer
    hypothesis/specific aims

36
Summary Statement Revision
  • Response to Critique
  • if necessary, delay re-application until
    convincing preliminary data generated
  • need to convince reviewers that environment
    sufficient to accomplish specific aims
  • - may need letter of collaboration/biosketch
    with new technique
  • -show new preliminary data
  • ask help of local expert to access accuracy of
    technique
  • -may need to revise approach

37
Summary Statement Revision
  • Response to Critique (contd)
  • modify re-application so reviewer can assess
    changes (underline, bold type)
  • provide update on status of submitted manuscripts
    to show progress
  • make sure that response to critique is easily
    identified in re-application

38
Summary Statement Revision
  • Response to Critique (contd)
  • If portion of grant is misinterpreted, consider
    revising to clarify in re-application
  • Communication is critical to convincing reviewer
    of merit of grant
  • Take enough time to revise so application is
    clear to reviewers

39
Successful Grant
  • 1. Hypothesis driven, solid foundation
  • 2. Mechanistic, insightful, feasible
  • Clearly illustrated
  • Logical flow
  • Thoughtful contingency plans
  • Centered on strong preliminary findings

40
Top Ten List
  • 10 things to do to increase your chances of
    getting funded
  • Plan ahead. Outline aims and sketch out what the
    ideal preliminary data set
  • for supporting studies would show. Do this 9
    months in advance. Tough to do.

9. Focus on completing key experiments that will
complement preliminary data sets.
8. At least 6 months prior to deadline, share
your outline with mentor or senior colleague/
collaborator. Rework as necessary. Very tough
to do.
7. Finish and submit manuscripts 3 months prior
to deadline. Get letters, animal care
approvals, radiation safety forms and agreements
into a file.
6. Refine specific aims in line with preliminary
and published data.
41
Top Ten List
  • 10 things to do to increase your chances of
    getting funded

5. Invest time in assembling figures and
diagrams. Use color. This pays dividends.
4. Focus on connecting preliminary findings to
current objectives. The goal is to fashion the
proposal into an extension of your current work.
3. Generate a series of paragraphs for background
and significance. Goal is to outline comprehensiv
e overview of field, placing your objectives in
context. The key is balance.
2. Challenge yourself to prioritize. What are
the five MOST important things you want to know
about your area of work? Eliminate 4 and 5.
Justify the top 3.
1. Stay on task. Details count. Leave time to
correct typos, paginate application.
42
Top Ten List
  • 10- things to avoid to increase your chances of
    getting funded
  • Starting writing less than two months prior to
    deadline. Poor
  • planning shows. It takes time to write a grant.

9. Citing mostly your own work. Background needs
balance.
  • Rambling background review. Its a grant, not a
    review article.
  • Dont try and educate the reviewer. Stay focused
    on your proposal.

7. Dangling anecdotes and oblique references to
interesting findings.
6. Too much text, not enough figures and
diagrams. But the figures have to be clear, well
illustrated and ideally stand alone.
43
Top Ten List
  • 10- things to avoid to increase your chances of
    getting funded

5. Experimental plan with different wording than
Specific Aims. KEEP THE AIMS AND THE PLAN
IDENTICAL.
4. Proposing aims for which there is no
preliminary data. Asking for trouble. Doesnt
need to be extensive, but something for all aims.
3. Trying to undertake too much in too many
areas. Particularly for new investigators.
Scope and focus are important disciplines.
2. Proposing experiments for which key reagents
have to be developed or are not yet in hand.
1. Aims built around microarray, proteomic or
other profiling methodology for which no a
priori hypothesis can be built. This leads
reviewers to use the F word.
44
GOOD LUCK !!
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