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Grant Writing

Grant Writing Courses

Writing Your First R01 (9 Sessions)

This course provides participants – who are new/junior faculty -- who are actively working on an R01, with the opportunity to learn how to write a competitive R01 grant application in a small group, interactive setting. Participants attend weekly 2-hour sessions, during which they learn how to develop the content of each of the following components of an NIH R01: Specific Aims; Significance; Innovation; Approach; Project Summary; Environment; Biosketch and Budget

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Pre-K Club: Writing a Career Development(“K”) Award (9 session course)

The Pre K Club is a small interactive course for early stage faculty who are preparing to develop an NIH “K” award. In order to participate, faculty should be actively working on a draft of their K award, with the goal of submitting their grant application for the upcoming deadline. All participants must have the approval of their Chairperson to participate. The course consists of a combination of didactic information and class discussion of participants’ drafts.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows

Grant Writing Workshops

How to Write an NIH Grant Application: An Introduction & Overview

This half day workshop is designed as an introduction to grant writing for investigators with little or no experience writing an NIH or other peer-reviewed grant application. The workshop material is based on the NIH grant application, as it is the basis for the majority of peer-reviewed grant applications; however, most of the information covered is relevant to the majority of other grant funding agencies. This workshop will cover the following subjects: how to determine the most appropriate funding mechanism; developing a fundable research question; how to write the research plan for an NIH grant application, including the new requirements re: Rigor & Reproducibility; and the NIH System of Peer Review.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty, senior postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows

Developing a Fundable Research Question

The crux of every funded grant is a significant research question; however, a problem often encountered by new investigators is how to determine whether a question which they consider significant will be viewed as such by reviewers. The purpose of this session is to help junior faculty understand the criteria which reviewers use to assess whether a research question is significant and potentially worth funding. In addition, this session identifies common errors in developing research questions, particularly among new investigators.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Developing a Compelling Specific Aims Seminar and Working Session

This session focuses on how to write a compelling Specific Aims page. The specific aims page is considered the most important section of the application. Therefore, it’s essential to use this section to convey the significance of the project to your reviewers. This session consists of two parts: a presentation on how to craft this section, followed by an interactive discussion of participants’ drafts of their own specific aims. While it is not a requirement that participants participate in the interactive discussion following the seminar, they are strongly encouraged to do so, regardless of whether they have a draft prepared of their own aims.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows

Tips on Writing an NIH R03/R21 Grant Application

The NIH offers two grant mechanisms to support the early stages of project development: the R03 (Small Research Grant) and the R21 (Exploratory Development Research Grant). These two mechanisms, both of which support up to 2 years of research, are often useful as a stepping stone to an R01. While the R03 supports small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources, the R21 supports exploratory, novel studies that are high risk, but which have the potential for high reward. This workshop focuses on strategies for determining when to use one of these mechanisms, the differences between them, as well as tips for writing a successful R03/R21.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Tips for Writing a Competitive Career Development ("K”) Award

This session provides tips for writing the major sections of an NIH career development (“K”) award, including both the Candidate Sections (Candidate Statement, Goals & Objectives and Career Development Plan) as well as the Research Plan (Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation and Approach). A major focus of this workshop is on the criteria reviewers use in assessing NIH K applications, with tips for addressing these. In addition, this session addresses the recent NIH changes to the Approach section, called “Rigor and Reproducibility”.

This session also addresses additional components of an NIH K application, including the mentor letters, letter of institutional support, mandatory training in Responsible Conduct of Research, etc. This session is intended for faculty (or senior postdocs) who intend to submit an NIH (or other peer-reviewed) career development award. It is not an introductory session, but rather is targeted to faculty who have a good sense of the K application and are seeking tips/pointers for polishing their applications prior to submission

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Are you Ready to Write an R01?

Faculty often have questions about whether they are competitive or “ready” to write an R01, especially if it is their first R01. The purpose of this session is to identify and discuss some essential considerations in determining “readiness” to submit an R01. Some of these considerations include the following: 1) planning aspects of an R01, including how to determine where your proposed research fits at the NIH; 2) determining the amount of preliminary data needed to compete for an R01; 3) assessment of the PI’s “Contributions to Science” in the biosketch ; 4) understanding the new NIH requirements for “Rigor & Reproducibility” and where to place these, etc.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Revising Your Grant Application

This session is intended for investigators who are planning to revise a grant application and have not yet had experience writing a revision. This session focuses on two subjects: how to determine whether to revise a grant application or submit a new application; and strategies for revising the application, focusing on writing the Introduction.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

How to Write the New NIH Biosketch

This seminar addresses the changes including page length as well as content/style. There are three new aspects of the biosketch, all of which are discussed in this session: 1) description of up to 5 of the P.I.’s most significant contributions to science; description of P.I.’s specific role in important discoveries, documented by publications; inclusion of link to your publications in new SciENcv or My Bibliography. Use of the SciENcv tool for creating a Biosketch online are also discussed. In addition, there are several changes to the personal statement. All of these changes are discussed in this session. Please note: this session focuses on strategies for early stage/new investigators, as the changes may pose particular challenges for scientists who are at earlier stages of their careers.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

NIH Grant Writing: Things I wish I’d known when I was a junior faculty member

This seminar combines the perspectives of an NIH R01 award recipient and an NIH R01 grant reviewer to give junior faculty insights into how to write a competitive grant application. In the current funding climate, when rates are low, it is crucial to develop an application that does more than present the facts. The ability to get reviewers interested in your scientific story is the key to a fundable grant.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Defining your Project on Paper: Developing your Research Question, Hypothesis, and Specific Aims

Explaining the fundamental idea of your research project on paper is essential for writing grants. The purpose of this workshop is to help faculty in composing and clearly describing their underlying research question, hypothesis, and specific aims. The first hour of the session is a lecture including tips for developing your research question and how to progress to defining your hypothesis and specific aims. During the second hour of the session participants have the opportunity to discuss drafts of their research question or specific aims.

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Research Skills Workshops/Seminars

Working Effectively with a Biostatistician

The role of a statistician in quantitative biomedical research is fundamental. This seminar is intended to help investigators understand this role and establish an effective working relationship with a biostatistician. This session discusses how the statistician can help with the design and conduct of research, from refining the initial concept all the way to the analysis and interpretation of study outcomes.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions: When to enlist the help of a statistician? Which aspects of developing a research proposal/grant/manuscript can a statistician help with? How to find a statistician? And how to pay for his/her services?

Target audience: UMB Junior faculty

Conflict Management for Scientists: Tips for Dealing with Conflicts Successfully

The role of team science is increasing, leading to new opportunities, but also requiring different interpersonal skills than the traditional “single P.I.” research. Whenever there is more than one person involved, conflict is likely to occur; this is especially true in team science, where there are many opportunities for conflict over differing perspectives, need for resources, personalities, work load and time pressures. Understanding how to manage conflict is an essential skill for both team leaders and members of research teams.

One important skill needed for Team Scientists is how to manage conflict positively. Failure to manage conflict can derail your team morale and productivity. Conversely, the ability to deal with conflict positively can help your team bond and move forward collaboratively with their science. Many scientists are unsure about how to manage conflicts, and try to avoid them altogether – a strategy which rarely works.This workshop is designed to help attendees understand their current conflict style and explore other options to expand their conflict management toolbox. The workshop combines didactic information with participant exercises.

Research Impact Workshop

Are you seeking promotion or tenure? Applying for grant funding? In this workshop, participants learn to use tools like Web of Science and Scopus to measure and evaluate the impact of their research to present to funding agencies and promotion and tenure committees. Topics include journal impact factor, h-index, alternative metrics, and methods for maximizing the impact of their research.

Team Science: An Introduction

“Team Science” is a term that is rapidly gaining currency, in part driven by the NIH which stated its intent to “stimulate new ways of combining skills and disciplines in the physical, biological and social sciences to realize the great promise of 21st century medical research.” The goal of integrating multiple scientific disciplines to solve a research problem is promising, but more complicated than the traditional model consisting of a single investigator. Consequently, investigators with an interest in participating in team science often have questions, such as how to identify appropriate opportunities; how to participate successfully as a member of a multidisciplinary team; and how to get credit for individual contributions as a member of a team.

The purpose of this panel is to stimulate discussion of these questions, as well as to help participants succeed in this new approach to scientific research. Subjects of discussion include: the concepts that guide team science; the skill sets that are needed to work in teams; and tips for coping with challenges of team science, such as effective communications in a multi-team group.

Getting Your Protocol through the IRB

This seminar covers the basics of conducting human subjects research at UMB including an introduction to the Human Research Protections Program (HRPP), the basics of conducting research at UMB, including principal investigators' responsibilities, as well as a discussion of the Comprehensive Institutional Collaborative Evaluation of Research On-line (CICERO) program for submitting and reviewing human subjects research protocols.

Giving a Good Research Talk

This seminar addresses the information covered in a research talk, including how to use graphics appropriately. This seminar is intended to help participants understand how to communicate their research effectively and addresses some of the common mistakes speakers make when presenting their research.

Hiring the Right Team for Your Lab

The ability to carry out successful research requires identifying and hiring the right scientists. Often early stage scientists don’t have experience or knowledge of how to staff their research project or lab. The purpose of this session is to provide information about the following key aspects of successful staffing for researchers: 1) How to identify the right people for your lab, including graduate students, postdocs, and staff 2) How to recruit and screen applicants 3) How to structure interviews to determine the best candidates.

More to come...