Grant Writing Tips

May 25 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

NIH has made sections for a reason. There in fact may be many reasons. One of them is to make it easier for you, young Padwan, to convey your ideas to the reviewers and to the people Making Decisions about funding. In fact the sections labeled "Innovation" and "Significance" in the proposal correspond to sections that are criteria for assessing a proposal. (Remember, five sections: Significance, Investigators, Innovation, Approach, Environment). Remember the instructions NIH gives me, the reviewer are available to you the writer. Read them.

Pro Tip: in your section titled "INNOVATION" have a single, summary sentence that starts "This proposal [or the project proposed here] is innovative because_________.

Corollary to said tip: In your "SIGNIFICANCE" section have a sentence that starts "The significance of this project lies in ___________. "

If you make me look for it, I may not find it. Possibly one of the most damning things in a review: It is difficult to determine the innovation in this proposal, because X (intervention proposed) is not novel, nor is the use of Y (method for assessing intervention) for disease QQ. Except of course, you had something else in mind as the innovation, and I could not find it. Some reviewers will look, and others will not. Tell them what you want them to know about what you are doing.


3 responses so far

  • Microscientist says:

    Just this month, I attended the NIH Spring Seminar on grant writing. The grand take-away message was to READ AND FOLLOW the directions. Also to READ and directly address the funding announcement or RFA.
    There was actually very little in the seminar that was new information for me, because I have been reading both you and DrugMonkey. But you two would have been much more fun to hear from than the folks at NIH.

  • Dr Becca says:

    I will also note after sitting on study section recently that the Rigor & Transparency initiative is big, and reviewers are paying attention. I have started adding a sub-section in Approach that lays this stuff out explicitly (Power analyses, unbiased data collection, etc).

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