Grant writing 101 The Art of Flawless Packaging Scott K. Powers Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology
Outline • What makes a good grant? • The art of flawless packaging-step-by-step
What makes a good grant? • Scientific need • Important question and good science to answer the question • Trendy science vs. good science • Vertical advancement • Flawless packaging
Flawless packaging • Well organized • Easy to read • Good use of illustrations • Clean presentation (spacing, etc.) • Follow technical rules (font, length, etc) • Bottom line-with one read-the reviewer has a clear understanding of your plan
Flawless packing-writing • Well organized (start with outline) • Clear, well conceived paragraphs • Logical order for progression of thinking • Avoid jargon-use active voice • Bold important statements for emphasis • Grants are a dialog between PI and reviewer-must be interesting!
Flawless packing-graphics • Picture is worth 1000 words! • Figure captions should be brief and clear • Figure size-all axis labels and numbers must be easy to read. • Page layout of text and figures should be appealing to reader (i.e., wrap text around figures) • Should figures use color? • Photographs?
Flawless packing-abstract • First section of grant read by reviewer • Must be clear and interesting • Last statement of abstract should stress the importance of work
Flawless packing-Specific Aims • Second section of grant read by reviewer • Must be clear and interesting • Most important segment of grant?
Flawless packing-Significance • MUST explain the importance of problem and the critical barrier to progress that the proposed project addresses • Explain how proposed project will improve scientific knowledge • Describe how the treatments or interventions that drive the field will be changed if aims are achieved
Flawless PackagingInnovation • Explain how your application challenges or changes current research or clinical practice • Describe novel theoretical concepts or experimental approaches to be used & their advantages • Explain refinements, improvements, or new theoretical concepts contained within your application
Flawless PackagingApproach (1) • Experiments must test the hypotheses proposed • Experiments MUST have appropriate control groups and control of confounding variables • Justify sample size (power analysis)
Flawless PackagingApproach (2) • Experimental design must be clear • Justify subject selection or animal model used • Statistical analysis must be appropriate (use consultant prior to submission)
Flawless PackagingApproach (3) • Should contain section on results interpretation • Discussion of potential pitfalls and alternative approaches • Future directions?
Flawless PackagingApproach (4) • Preliminary data must be compelling and demonstrate proof of concept and your ability to conduct the work • Provide adequate methodological detail and references for techniques
Flawless PackagingApproach (5) • In the new NIH grant format, where does the background fit? • Significance or Approach?
Flawless PackagingReferences • Cite classic papers • Cite recent literature and your contributions to the field • CITE YOUR REVIEWERS (if appropriate) • Know your reviewers!
Flawless Packaging requiresa little help from your friends • Excellent grants are often the work of several people • Ask for advice from experienced colleagues • Have many people read your application and provide feedback
Last word • The secret to flawless packaging of a grant is to start the process early and revise, revise, and revise some more!
Summary • Learning to craft fundable grants is a process • Gain experience by serving on a study section • Write and revise, revise…. • Never give up!