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Research Skills Seminars

The Research Skills Seminar Series include the following 1-hour sessions and are scheduled throughout the year.

Please note: faculty, fellows and postdocs are welcome to attend every session in the series or single sessions of interest.

  • Defining your Project on Paper: Developing your Research Question, Hypothesis, and Specific Aims
  • Planning and Revising Your Grant Application
  • Developing a Compelling Specific Aims Seminar and Working Session
  • Grant Writing Workshop for New Investigators
  • Tips for Writing an R03/R21 NIH Grant Application
  • Overview of Career Development (K) Awards
  • Giving a Research Talk
  • Research Impact Workshop
  • Tips for Developing Your Budget and Budget Justification for an NIH Grant Application
  • Working Effectively with a Biostatistician
  • Getting Your Protocol Through the IRB
  • Maximizing Translational Research with ICTR


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 will be 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 will have the opportunity to discuss drafts of their research question or specific aims.


Planning and 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.


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.


Grant Writing Workshop for New Investigators

This workshop is targeted to new/junior faculty members who have not yet applied to the NIH or who are not familiar with the new requirements focusing on rigor and reproducibility. This half day, examples-driven workshop is designed to help faculty understand how to plan, organize and write a competitive grant application, with a focus on the R01. The workshop is designed to help investigators understand how to write the components of an NIH grant application (Specific Aims; Significance; Innovation; Approach). In addition, participants will learn how to write their grants to address the new NIH review criteria, as well as learn about the NIH System of Peer Review.


Tips for Writing an R03/R21 NIH 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.


Overview of Career Development (K) Awards

This workshop is intended for new/junior faculty who are considering applying for an NIH career development (K) award and will help determine if it is an appropriate mechanism for their research and further training. This workshop is intended as an introduction to NIH K awards (K01, K08, K23) and covers subjects such as the types of available K awards; eligibility requirements; the role of a K in your research career; and central components of a K award, as well as identifies the NIH review criteria. This workshop is an introduction to the NIH K awards and does not focus on how to write an NIH K award


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 address some of the common mistakes speakers make when presenting their research.


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.


Tips for Developing Your Budget and Budget Justification for an NIH Grant Application

This seminar is targeted to faculty and postdoctoral fellows who plan on submitting an NIH grant application, and want to understand the basics of developing a budget. This seminar will address both the strategic questions involved in budgeting, as well as the basic components of a budget. Topics include the following: personnel issues, including differences between collaborators and consultants, as well as how to determine percent effort; direct vs indirect costs; budget categories, and what items to include, etc.


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?


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.


Maximizing Translational Research with ICTR

The UMB’s Institute of Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) is a campuswide clinical translational research initiative which provides high-quality, cost-effective informatics, biostatistics, clinical resources, mentorship, and other core services that will support clinical research, community engagement, ethics and regulatory science, pilot projects, and the development of novel technologies. This session will highlight ICTR-supported resources available to invigorate, facilitate, and accelerate clinical translational research to improve patient and community health.

Register Now!


To register for the sessions that are currently accepting registration, please register online.  

Registration for sessions not currently available on our registration site will be announced in our monthly newsletters.

For more information on this seminar series, please contact Stacie Mendoza, Program Director, at