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Science Grant/Proposal: Development and Writing


Science Grant/Proposal: Development and Writing Michael Hadjiargyrou Department of Biomedical Engineering Fall 2011 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Science Grant/Proposal: Development and Writing

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

Grant Proposal a multistep process
  • 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
  • Evaluate potential alternative outcomes
  • Develop a realistic budget
  • Obtain feedback collaborators, consultants
  • Obtain all necessary permits, authorizations,
    meet all sponsor requirements (including

Friedland Folt, Writing Successful Science
Proposals, 2000
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
  • 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)

Grant Proposal the writing
  • 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 reviewers attention
  • Use figures, diagrams, and tables effectively
  • Funnel the reader from big ideas to specifics of
    your research
  • Highlight (bold, italics, underline) important
  • 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 (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

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 candidates
    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
  • Additional Review Criteria
  • Protections for human subjects
  • Vertebrate Animals
  • Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children
  • Biohazards
  • Responsible Conduct of Research

Grant Proposal common mistakes
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.
"The Top 10 Grant-Writing Mistakes," by Deborah
Ward. Principal, Volume 81, Number 5, May 2002
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.
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 of each aim not shown
  • Little or no expertise with approach
  • Lack of appropriate controls
  • Not directly testing hypothesis
  • Correlative or descriptive data
  • Problems with investigator
  • No demonstration of expertise or publications in
  • Low productivity, few recent papers
  • No collaborators recruited or no letters from
  • Problems with environment
  • Little demonstration of institutional support
  • Little or no start up package or necessary

NIH Fellowships National Research Service Award
NIH Fellowships (F31) Application, Awards,
Success Rates
Trends in major fields of study of NIH-supported
Ph.D. recipients
Budget / Awards
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
Grant Proposal Resources
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research
    Fellowship Program (GRFP)
  • http//
  • http//
  • National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein
    National Research Service Awards for Individual
    Predoctoral Fellows (Parent F31)
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • 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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