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Grant writing

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  1. Grant writing Alison Drake, MPH, PhC Department of Epidemiology University of Washington

  2. Outline • Developing proposal and finding collaborators • Finding grants • Nuts and bolts of grant writing • Budgetary considerations • Additional resources

  3. Developing your proposal • Brainstorm ideas with classmates, colleagues, mentors • Review literature to identify research gap • Find collaborators • Ask students • Seek advice from researchers in the field of interest (potential collaborators) • Review funded research • CRISP: http://crisp.cit.nih.gov/

  4. Preparation Timeline Months before deadline: 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Receipt date Brainstorm; research and discuss your idea; call/email NIH program staff Outline application; analyze preliminary studies Write the proposal Complete application; solicit feedback and edit Institutional deadlines; give draft to reviewers Slide courtesy of Carey Farquhar

  5. Before you start writing • Discuss your proposal and study design with others • Agree on general design/aims with collaborators • Individually or in group • Review a successful proposal • Structure • Detail • Writing style • Will vary according to grant

  6. Types of Grants • Federal: Solicited (RFA) and non-solicited throughout year • NIH • CDC • Private • Gates Foundation • FHCRC • Institutions • University of Washington

  7. Finding the right grants • Check eligibility criteria closely • Contact program officer • How much money can you apply for? Is it enough? • Can you adapt project to meet budget? • Geographic location • Review projects successfully funded by that organization

  8. Funding for student/fellow or project • Include funding your salary/tuition/travel on project grant • Additional grants can help fund YOU! • Training grants • STD/AIDS Training Grant • TL1 Clinical Research Training Grant • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterDual Mentor (Interdisciplinary) Fellowships • Many others! http://depts.washington.edu/epidem/fellowsh.html • Travel grants • Global Partnerships Travel Grant (UW) • Thomas Francis Jr. Global Health Fellowship (UW) • Departmental supplementary grants

  9. Searching for Grants • NIH http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm • Fogarty International Center http://www.fic.nih.gov/ • University of Washington http://www.washington.edu/research/guide/fund.html • Research funding service (RFS) • Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) • Emails from your department • Ask your advisor, colleagues, peers, or researchers in your field

  10. Other International Agencies • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/) • The Canadian International Development Agency (http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/) • The Department for International Development (http://www.dfid.gov.uk/) • The Global Fund (http://www.theglobalfund.org/) • The International Development Research Centre (http://www.idrc.ca/) • The Pan American Health Organization (http://www.paho.org/) • The Rockefeller Foundation (http://www.rockfound.org/) • The Wellcome Trust (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/) • The World Bank (http://www.worldbank.org/) • United States Agency for International Development (http://www.usaid.gov/) • World Health Organization's Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (http://www.who.int/tdr/) Slide courtesy of Carey Farquhar

  11. Letter of intent (LOI) • Purpose is to allow the granting institution to prepare for the review process • How many applicants • What kinds of projects • Keep it short and simple • Include all requested information • other investigators, subject, proposed title • The LOI is not binding

  12. How to write a grant

  13. Grant components • Abstract • Background and Significance • Specific Aims/Hypotheses • Preliminary Studies • Research Methods • Literature Cited • Human Subjects • Budget

  14. Length of Grant

  15. Specific Aims & Hypotheses • Solidify your Aims • Generally 3 to 4 per proposal • How you will test your hypotheses • Discuss and revise with your mentor/ other members of your research group • May take several revisions • Clear and concise (1/2 to 1 page)

  16. Constructing detailed Specific Aims • Consider: Who, What, When, Where, How • Example: • To determine the timing and proportion of infants acquiring HIV-1 during 12 months of follow-up among HIV-1-infected pregnant women randomized to valacyclovir suppressive therapy versus placebo using infant HIV-1 DNA filter paper and plasma HIV-1 RNA assays to test specimens collected at 2 days; 6, 10, 14 weeks; and 6, 9, and 12 months of age.

  17. Background and Significance • Convey • What is the health problem? • Refer to all important studies in the field • Demonstrate breath and depth of knowledge • What gaps in research are you aiming to fill? • Why is this research important? • How is your idea innovative? • Why are you uniquely qualified to conduct this research? • How will the results of your research be used?

  18. Background Tips • Include information only relevant to your proposed project (must be cited in Literature Cited section) • Incorporate pertinent references to key collaborators’ work • Keep it focused • Be persuasive and succinct, but provide enough detail • This is your chance to sell your idea to the review committee!

  19. Preliminary Studies • Your opportunity to demonstrate your prior work has prepared you to carry out this research successfully • Experience • Publications/Presentations • Include research with key collaborators • Include unpublished work and abstracts • Use figures and tables • Relate results from prior project to current proposal

  20. Methods • Explain in detail how you will carry out research • Demonstrate well thought-out research plan • Anticipate questions reviewers may have about research • Convey feasibility • Describe all study procedures • Provide diagrams/flowcharts for visual assistance

  21. Methods • Convince reviewers the proposal is reasonable with allotted time • Highlight competence and expertise of yourself/collaborators to carry out research • How will they contribute? • Acknowledge potential setbacks and how you will overcome them

  22. Diagrams for study procedures Screening ≤ 32 weeks gestation Enrollment and Randomization 34 weeks gestation Antenatal Follow-up Bimonthly; Specimens at 38 weeks Delivery Postpartum Follow-up ≤ 2 days; 2, 6, 10 and 14 weeks; 6, 9, 12 months Women receiving antenatal care at Mathare North City Council Clinic Specimens obtained Maternal blood Maternal blood, cervical/ genital swabs Maternal blood, cervical/ genital swabs Maternal blood and breast milk (2, 6, and 14 weeks; 6, 9, and 12 months) Infant blood (≤ 2 days; 2, 6, 10 and 14 weeks; 6 , 9 and 12 months)

  23. Methods • Generally most importance section to reviewers • Longest and most detailed section • Don’t forget • Laboratory methods • Study timeline

  24. Lab methods

  25. Statistical Methods • Involve a biostatistician early • Ensure statistical analysis plan is sound • Double check power/sample size • Ask biostatistician to review description of statistical methods

  26. Power/Sample Size Example *Required sample size to address study aims

  27. Abstract • Write LAST • Cover all key elements of your project, in chronological order • Specific Aims • Brief summary of methods • Study design • Significance • Clear and succinct • 1 page or less

  28. Human Subjects • Ethical Review Committees • Informed consent • Equitable subject representation • Gender, race/ethnicity, age • Risks/Benefits • Confidentiality • Incentives and minimizing coercion • Linkage of indentifying information • Protection of biological materials

  29. Literature Cited • Include all relevant and important research • Even if it does not support your hypotheses • Use reference managing program • EndNote, RefMan • Cite as many references as needed • Doesn’t count in page limit

  30. Developing a Budget • How much will you need to carry out project? • Allowable costs • Supplies, travel, equipment, salaries • Unallowable costs • U.S. federal grants typically prohibit food/beverages, renovation, furniture

  31. Sample Budget - PSPGH

  32. Budget Justification • Concise statements about need for key equipment, personnel, supplies, and travel • Describe any donations • Space, supplies, drugs, • Staff salaries covered by other fellowships, etc • Level of detail depends on grant

  33. Direct and Indirect Costs • Direct: Costs for project • Indirect (overhead, Facilities and Administration-F&A): Costs not specifically related to project; common costs • Percentage of direct costs based on level set by institution • May be limited by grant

  34. Example: Indirect Costs

  35. Budget Tips • Avoid future headaches • Make budget as accurate as possible • Include all expenses – be thorough • Photocopying, office supplies, travel, transportation, shipment of samples, lab supplies/kits, participant reimbursement, treatment of study participants • Ask someone in collaborative group to review • Hidden costs • Actual costs of items locally

  36. Common problems with applications • Topic not important enough • Not likely to produce useful information • Based on shaky hypothesis or data • Method unsuited to the objective • Too little detail in research plan • Over-ambitious/unrealistic • Lack of focus • Lack of original or new ideas • Investigator too inexperienced with techniques • Lack of preliminary data • Insufficient consideration of statistical needs *Slide courtesy of Carey Farquhar

  37. Acknowledgments and More information • Slides/information from Dr. Carey Farquhar • For additional information on Grant Writing: • Epi 586: Responsible Conduct in International Research • NIH website www.nih.gov • NIH Office of Extramural Research:http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm