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Grant Writing 101

Grant Writing 101

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Grant Writing 101

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  1. Grant Writing 101 Companion Animal Health Fund Review Committee (Provost, Webster, Kudej, Barber, DeLaforcade, Wetmore)

  2. Picking a research idea • Define the problem • Critically analyze background information • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ • Generate a preliminary idea • Identify a gap in the literature • Assess your idea potential for success • Get constructive criticism

  3. Funding agencies • Familiarize yourself with mission statement of agency • ACVIM Foundation:is to advance animal health through discovery, education, and communication… funding animal health studies that lead to new diagnostic, treatment, and prevention techniques • Winn Feline Foundation: medical problems affecting cats • Morris Animal Foundation: funds humane animal research to advance veterinary medicine

  4. Funding Agencies (con’t) • AKC Canine Health Foundation:supports scientists and professionals in research that concerns the origins of canine illness, diagnosis of canine diseases, development of effective treatments, and identification of disease prevention strategies. • USDA :protects and improves the health, quality, and marketability of our nation's animals, animal products and veterinary biologics by preventing, controlling and/or eliminating animal diseases, and monitoring and promoting animal health and productivity • NIH: the control of disease, advancement of human health and advance understanding of biological systems

  5. Your commitment • The 3 P’s • Passionate • Persistence • Preparation • “It is not the will to win that important. Everybody • wants to win. It’s the will to prepare to win that • makes the difference” • Bobby Knight

  6. Hill’s 1988 Y ALF 1991 Y GRASP 1994 Y ALF 1995 N Hills 1996 Y ALF 1996 N DDF 1996 N R29 1996 N R29 1997 N Cul F 1997 N ALF 1998 N ALF 1999 N K08 1998 Y R01 2/2003 N R01 11/2003 N R01 7/04 Y Batting average: 0.375 Be persistent: Webster track record

  7. Attributes of a good researcher • Accepts delayed rewards • Can mentally deal with rejection • Exceptional time management • Likes to network/collaborate • Remains focused

  8. The review process • Know review criteria • CAHF: 7 criteria • Originality • Hypothesis • Scientific Merit • Methods • Statistical Analysis • Significance/Impact • Feasibility

  9. Master the application Read the directions! Read the directions! Follow the directions Write, edit and proof Short declarative sentences Make only one point in each paragraphs Avoid cliches and generalities “This work is expected to advance the field greatly” Avoid weak words Not “Try, hope, believe, might could, should” We expect… Make a good impression

  10. Make a good impression • Write to your audience • You MUST win over the primary reviewer • They will be your advocate!!!! • Sell your ideas • DO NOT assume expertise • Understand the mentality of your reviewer

  11. Make a good impression • Don’t propose too much or be too technical • Focus the proposal • Make sure the scope matches the time and resources you request • Balance the technical and nontechnical

  12. Most common problems • Lack of a good, original, important idea such that the study is unlikely to produce useful information • Problem more complex than investigator appears to realize • Methods unsuited to the objectives • Overambitious research plan with unrealistically large amount of work • Lack of focus in hypothesis, specific aims or research plan • Proposal driven by technology i.e. a method in search of a problem

  13. Most common problems • Relevant controls not included • Insufficient consideration of statistical needs • Too little detail in research plan to convince reviewers the investigator knows what he/she is doing, i.e no recognition of potential pitfalls and problems • Proposed project is a fishing expedition lacking solid scientific basis, i.e. no basic scientific question being addressed • Preliminary data (or primary literature) do not support projects feasibility

  14. Typical grant • Title page • Objective and hypothesis • Rationale/background and significance • Material and methods • Budget • References • Appendix • Institutional approvals

  15. Title Page • Title of study • Investigator names • Signature of investigators • Signature of department chair and hospital director

  16. Hypothesis and objectives • Frame the problem • Incorporate the mission of the agency • Highlight knowns and unknowns • What is the gap in knowledge? • May state the long range goal of research • Objective of study • Best hypothesis • Must be testable!

  17. Title: The role of endotoxin in intra-operative hypotension in cats with obstructive jaundice • Long range goal: To improve morbidity and mortality in cats with obstructive jaundice • Objective: To determine serum endotoxin levels in cats with obstructive jaundice • Hypothesis: Serum endotoxemia is more common in cats with obstructive jaundice that experience intraoperative hypotension • Specific aims: • Determine serum endotoxic levels in cats with obstructive jaundice prior to surgical intervention . • Determine if serum endotoxic levels correlate with the occurrence of hypotension in the peri-operative period • Significance • If serum endotoxemia contributes to the development of intraoperative hypotension, the pre-surgical administration of anti-endotoxin agents may be prevent morbidity

  18. Webster R01 • Long range goal: To identify strategies to slow the pathologic progression of cholestatic liver disease • Objective of study: To characterize how and at what point in the apoptotic cascade cAMP inhibits bile acid induced apoptosis • Central hypothesis: cAMP protects heptocytes by activating a cAMP-GEF/PI3K/Akt/GSK3 beta pathway that intercepts mitochondrially mediated bile acid induced apoptosis • Specific Aims: • 1: Bile acid induced apoptosis in hepatocytes is controlled by activation of a PI3Kg/Rac/apoptosis signaling-regulating kinase 1(ASK1)/JNK pathway that is inhibited by cAMP-GEF/Akt activation at the level of ASK1. • 2: cAMP-GEF mediated protection from bile acid induced apoptosis involves GSK3b inhibition of JNK mediated mitochondrial dysfunction through regulation of the mitochondrial membrane permeability transition (MMPT) . • 3: cAMP-GEF activation followed by GSK3b inhibition protects the liver from cholestatic injury/fibrosis in an in vivo model of cholestasis.

  19. Title: Short-term effects of atorvastin in dogs with congestive heart failure Objective: To evaluate the effect of atorvastin on echocardiographic and electrocardiographic measurements, measures of systemic inflam- mation and biochemical parameters in dogs with congestive heart failure Hypothesis: Statin administration will lead to improved contractive function and reduction in serum concentrations of TNF-a, C-reactive protein, and cholesterol in dogs with congestive heart failure. Significance: If statin therapy improves cardiac function and clinical signs this would provide a novel treatment for this common disease in dogs

  20. Background/rationale and significance • Significance should be right up front • CRITICAL review of the literature • Be sure to identify the gaps in knowledge • Establish relevance to the mission of the funding agency • Cite your reviewers

  21. Preliminary results • In CAHF these should be included just within the background section or can make a separate section (not in an appendix) • Present data in organized fashion • Put figures and tables close to narrative • Walk the reviewer through the results • Preliminary results show feasibility

  22. Material and methods (Research plan, Research Strategy) • Arrange around hypothesis • Introduction • Experimental design • Expected results • Anticipated problems • Alternative strategies • Very important!! • Future directions

  23. Budget • Justify ALL items • Lump in logical categories • Be within limits of agency • ? Equipment • Know the definition of equipment • ? Travel • ? Salary support • (faculty/residents/technicians/students

  24. Institutional approvals • IACUC or CSRC • Ann Holm (IACUC) • Mike Kowaleski (CSRS) • Financial officers • Infectious agents • Radioactive use • Recombinant technology • Biohazards

  25. Seek input from others!! • Have peers read and critique • Requires planning to have grant ready before the deadline

  26. “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” Sir Winston Churchill

  27. Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. Calvin Coolidge