Grant Writing An Overview
What is a grant? • “A grant is a mechanism by which an agency awards money to fund a research study or other activity, such as an educational program, service program, demonstration, or research project.” Gitlin, Laura N., Kevin J. Lyons. Successful Grant Writing: Strategies for Health and Human Service Professionals. 2nd ed. (2004).p.xi
Why apply for a grant? • Advance scientific knowledge in your field AND advance your professional career • A grant means that experts in the field acknowledge your idea as important and worthy of public or private support. • A grant means an enhanced prestige of your institution. • A grant means a contribution to the financial health of your department, school or agency • A grant means new opportunities for your research assistants. • A grant means a new program that otherwise can be too expensive for your institution to support and implement (Gitlin & Lyons, 2004)
Why start now? Grant writing is an important part of your professional growth strategy. It should become a long-range plan for your professional growth and development: • Build individual credentials • Build a track record of funding • Work on teams with more experienced researchers • Develop a plan for long-range, personal development (Gitlin & Lyons, 2004)
Funding = your interest + the interests of a funding agency Photo by Anne Hornyak • “No matter how good your idea and how well-written your proposal, if the agency to which you are applying is not interested in your project, you will not be funded!” Rief-Lehrer, Liane. Grant Application Writer’s Handbook. 4th ed. (2005)
Federal Government • The majority of grants are received through the federal agencies. • The Public Health Service within the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S.Department of Education have a variety of programs of potential interest to the health professionals. • National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an agency of DHHS. photo by Shubert
Private Foundations • 700,000+ U.S. foundations offer grants to individuals, institutions, or other non-profit groups. • Generally only independent foundations and community foundations provide grants to independent investigators.
Corporations • Large corporations are interested in the testing or evaluation of their own products. The private sector is a potential source of funding. • Corporations provide grants for research projects that advance the interests of the company.
The Federal focal point for medical research in the United States. NIH is comprised of 27 separate components (Institutes and Centers) The majority of NIH funding is distributed in the form of grants. To fulfill its mission, NIH: Supports the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions in the United States and abroad (Reif-Lehrer, 211) National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Mission of NIH • Understanding what research NIH funds and why it does so can help you focus your application. • NIH's mission is to create fundamental knowledge about living systems and apply that knowledge to reduce human illness and disability.
NIH Agency’s Mission • Your project should meet the mission of the institute or agency likely to fund it. • For example: As one of NIH's 27 semi-autonomous institutes, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supports basic and applied research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.
NIH Institutes and Centers • http://www.nih.gov/icd/index.html
Glossary of NIH Terms • IC - Institutes and Centers • PI - Principle Investigator (an individual, a recipient of the grant) • PA - Program Announcement • RFA - Request for Applications • FOA - Funding Opportunity Announcement (PA or RFA) • CSR - Center for Scientific Review For a complete list of terms and abbreviations click here
Projects of High Scientific Caliber: NIH looks for grant proposals of high scientific caliber that are relevant to public health needs and are within NIH Institute and Center (IC) priorities. ICs highlight their research priorities on their Web sites. Investigator-Initiated Research NIH strongly encourages investigator-initiated research across the spectrum of their mission. They issue hundred of FOAs in the form of PAs and RFAs to stimulate research in particular areas of science. What are the types of projects that receive funding?
What are Parent Announcements? • Parent Announcements are requests for investigator-initiated, unsolicited research grant applications that do not fall within the scope of targeted announcements. • The majority of NIH applications are submitted in response to parent announcements. • Parent Announcements are also used for conference and scientific meetings grants
Uniqueness • By law, NIH cannot support a project already funded or pay for research that has already been done. Photo by Knokton
Types of NIH Grants • NIH grants are grouped into “Series”, all of which are grouped according to the type of research being conducted. • Research Grants (R series) • Career Development Awards (K series) • Research Training and Fellowships (T & F series) • Program Project/Center Grants (P series) • Resource Grants (various series) • Trans-NIH Programs
The lowest scores indicate the highest level of merit. 100-150: Outstanding 150-200: Excellent 200-250: Very Good 250-350: Good 350-500: Acceptable Priority Scores
Competition • The NIH receives thousands of applications for each application receipt round. Funding on the first attempt is difficult, but not impossible. Photo by Marc Soller
Planning • Develop your ideas for funding • An idea must fit with your long term career interests, as well as the interests of a funding source • Examine these seven sources: • Clinical or professional experience • Professional literature • Communications with colleagues and funded investigators • Social trends • Legislative initiatives • Public documents • Goals and priorities of funding agencies (Gitlin, 59)
“Even the best idea will not be funded unless it matches the interest of a funding agency. Competitive ideas must reflect both contemporary thought in a field and the interests of an agency” (Gitlin, 66)
More Planning • Learn about your institution • Knowing your institution’s policies early in the proposal development will help you expedite the process, prepare a budget, and complete the application. • If your research proposal involves human subjects, plan ahead for its approval by your Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to conducting any type of research. (Gitlin, 69)
Searching for Grants • Determine what type of grant you will be using and which IC is most appropriate to fund this type of research • Search for the proper FOA through grants.gov • Once you have identified the FOA, read the FOA in detail, read the instructions carefully and follow the instructions exactly Finding and Applying for NIH Grants. SJM Family Foundation, Inc., 2008. p.21
Search Exercise Click here Take 5 minutes to search for a grant on the www.grants.gov web site. Suggested topic: obesity and diabetes in children
Writing • Be prepared to write, rewrite, and rewrite. • Writing takes time; plan a working schedule. • A well-written proposal should be clear, focused and precise. • A poorly written proposal has the potential to limit the chances of having a competitive idea funded. (Gitlin, 149)
Follow an outline Prepare figures, tables, and images before you write your proposal Be accurate Be clear & consistent Use words correctly Use sentences of 17 to 23 words Start paragraphs with clear, informative topic sentences Think about style Know when to avoid highly technical language (Reif-Lehrer ,137-145) Tips for Grant Writing
Submitting an Application • Applications are submitted electronically. • NIH expects applications to be submitted on-time. • Electronic submission involves two separate systems working together: Grants.gov and eRA Commons. • Grants.gov requires a one-time registration by the applicant organization. The applicant organization and the Principle Investigator (PI) must also complete a one-time registration in the eRA Commons. (NIH Guide to Writing a Grant, 20.)
Strategies for Novice Grant Writers • Identify a research area • Start a comprehensive literature review • Develop a presentation at the professional meeting • Write an article and submit to a smaller, local or state journal. • Contact a publisher in your field and offer to review books • Get experience in conducting research • Seek out funding for a small project first • Collaborate with experienced researches (Gitlin, 17)
Understanding the NIH Review Process • Evaluative Criteria: • Significance • Approach • Innovation • Investigator • Environment Click here to view a video on Peer Review at NIH (39 minutes) This video is recommended but not required for a completion of the tutorial.
Recommended Resources • “Grants and Funding” BU Medical Library subject guide • Gitlin, Laura N., Kevin J. Lyons. Successful Grant Writing: Strategies for Health and Human Service Professionals. 2nd ed. (2004). • Rief-Lehrer, Liane. Grant Application Writer’s Handbook. 4th ed. (2005) • Finding and Applying for NIH Grants. SJM Family Foundation, Inc., 2008. • Grant Process Overview - from Office of Extramural Research, NIH
Questions? Please contact your section instructor http://courseinfo.bu.edu/courses/09sprggmsms640_a1/ Thank you!