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Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

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Funding Opportunities

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  1. Funding Opportunities & Grantsmanship! Epidemiology and Public Health4th October 2010Jacob SweirySchool Research Facilitator, SLMS

  2. Funding Opportunities • SLM Funding Opportunities & News • Specific Initiatives / Calls Multidisciplinary Facilitating •

  3. i) ResearchProfessional.COM

  4. ii) What makes a good grant proposal? Tips, myths, pitfalls & solutions General guidance (to submission stage) • Knowing the funder • Convincing the reader • Style • Components of the application • Common problems & solutions • Tips for fellowships • Pathways to Impact • Useful literature

  5. Good grantsmanship = a compelling research proposal + personal ability + good mentorship …. and experience!

  6. Who are you writing for? The funding committee, external reviewers and panel members. Homework – what do they fund? Who are they? Clarity! Reviewers are busy people and panel members have many applications – don’t overestimate your audience discuss with res admin - let them know when it will be coming their way

  7. a good research question – don’t try to address too much. There is no substitute for knowing the biology explain why it is a good idea / important work out what you need to do to answer the question (objectives) work out how you will know what the answer is (hypotheses) Convincing the reader (1/2)

  8. use a study design / methodology capable of answering the question (better to use the best method even if you don’t have experience than the wrong method with which you are familiar) Convincing the reader (2/2)

  9. Don’t try to squeeze too much text in the space provided Well presented, easy to follow / understand Keep it simple - figures help explain complex things (and show off nice data) Exceeding word/page limits Adding 50 pages of appendices Using jargon or too many acronyms Citing every reference on the topic Style

  10. Components of the application (1/3) • Title • Clear, accurate, telling. • Summary • First and last; plenty of time – with the aims, it’s the most important bit / sets impression! • Background & Aims: What & Why • Short list of key aims that match the summary and the study design • Relevance of past / current research • Rationale: novelty, excitement, importance, focussed, hypotheses-driven but testable

  11. Components of the application (2/3) Study Design & Methods: How • a study design capable of answering the question • detailed methods, strategy, explicit, power calculations • realistic time-frame • pilot data • how will data be collected? Analysed? • expected outcomes • relevance • Describe plan B 15

  12. Components of the application (3/3) Resources & Justification • Expertise • Research staff • Equipment • Consumables, other costs • Ethical approval • Timetable & milestones • Data sharing & management

  13. The common pitfalls… Over-ambitious proposals to do everything… DNA to ‘Jurassic Park’! Inadequate expertise in the team (collaborate) Importance of project lost in the detail of the text Making the question fit the data available No sample size estimates Unclear study designs Interdisciplinary tensions “The study has no ethical considerations…” Under-estimating the time involved in preparing a good application

  14. Design will not answer the question posed Internally valid but not generalisable to the wider world Ambition/experience mismatch Inability to control for biases / confounding factors …and the “fatal flaws”…

  15. Some solutions… read and review grants both good and bad – if you get the chance, join a grants panel brainstorm with collaborators at the start get your friends / mentors to read your proposal at draft stage (and at the end) give it to an expert in the field to comment if its getting complicated – stop and ask why if it’s too long – stop! Ask are you trying to do too much? read the latest reviews on the topic – are your ideas on target? If not, is this a good thing? get help!

  16. Some tips… (1/2) Make good reviewer selections / choose key words (which can be used by the funders to select reviewers) Think about timing – why is this the right time: new methods; great prelim data; new resource….. No substitute for knowing the biology! Always explain why you are doing the the expts you propose – what’s obvious to you is not always obvious to the reader

  17. Some tips… (2/2) Repeat key statements – your proposal will only be discussed for a few minutes and you want the key points to come through clearly Ensure the “logic” and structure of the proposal makes sense Work to your strengths Establish a good reputation in the field (and publish well) Offer to review grants for funding bodies

  18. You want to avoid this... “ involves techniques with which the applicant appears to have no prior experience and for which no preliminary data are proposed.” “...the work described in this application is over-ambitious, it could not be achieved in the life time of the investigator.” “…I had only one problem with this application, I had no idea what they were trying to do...”

  19. … and this... “...what makes it appear more clear-cut than is perhaps warranted is a literature review that exaggerates the lack of resolution in the previous work, a reviews that is quite selective.” “...the list [of objectives] reads like a set of keywords… which is fine, except that it is simply too long to develop anyone of them satisfactorily into an actual research project.” “…the current proposal is woefully under-specified here: it leaves all to the readers’ imagination...” 23

  20. Above all you want to avoid the • “so what?” response. • Set the tone • Address your readers • Feed them, guide them • Explain the significance • Identify pitfalls before the referees do • Keep workload realistic

  21. Ideally… Easily read and understood (read it out loud!) Clear and worthwhile research question “Do-able”: expertise, resources, time Convincing preliminary data Infrastructure for research in place Good collaborators Limitations of study design acknowledged and impact on robustness of findings discussed Makes you wish you had thought of it first! (Shah Ebrahim, LSHTM) 25

  22. A ‘good’ fellowship (1/2) Person- An excellent CV + publication record for your career stage Project- An achievable, high quality project addressing an important research question Place- A vibrant environment with excellent facilities and respected sponsors/mentors Abstract - all of the above

  23. A ‘good’ fellowship (2/2) Assessment / Questions you might expect... Qualifications Publications and achievements Record of research, collaborations, supervisions Contribution to the field Management Goals, maintaining momentum 27

  24. Impact! … Pathways to Impact! … Pathways to ...- think about impact from the start!RCUK – now mandatory Guidelines for Impact Plans: Research Excellence Framework (REF)assessing the quality of research in UK HEIsImpact = 25%?? Guidance expected 28

  25. Range of Impacts International Development Scientific Advancement Public Health Knowledge Equipment Policy Societal Issues Excellent People Excellent Science Skills Public Engagement Training Communication Schools Wealth Creation New Companies Inward Investment Knowledge Economy Products Jobs Processes

  26. Some useful links… (1/2) Art of Grantsmanship by Jacob Kraicer How Not to Kill a Grant Application Turning an idea into a grant Nature’s Guide to Mentors 30

  27. Some useful links… (2/2) NIH Videos on youtube 31

  28. ... and the final ingredient… Good luck!

  29. Fellowships

  30. Main Considerations for Fellowship Assessment Potential of the individual -to develop into a competitive researcher Quality of the environment Quality of the training proposed Relevance / value of any proposed period overseas / in industry / in a 2nd UK centre

  31. Wellcome Trust Biomedical Science Funding - Fellowships(

  32. NIHR Funding

  33. MRC Research Training & CareerDevelopment

  34. MRC Research Training & CareerDevelopment

  35. MRC Research Training & CareerDevelopment

  36. MRC Research Training & CareerDevelopment