Grantsmanship: Strategies for Success– Dr. Willo Pequegnat National Institute of Mental Health National Institutes of Health email@example.com 443-1187 (o); 301 443-6000 (fax)
Take Home MessageDevelop your specific aims firstContact your potential Project OfficerWhen seeking TA, listen more than you talk.Keep your proposal on two pages until you have worked out the logic for your study.Be patient and persistent.Do not rush back in with a revision.
How to Write a Successful Research Grant Application: A Guide for Social and Behavioral Scientists Second Edition Willo Pequegnat, Ellen Stover, Cheryl Anne Boyce, Editors Springer, 2010
Overview of Talk Finding a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (Handout 2) Table of Contents of Grant (Handout 3) Outline for Specific Research Plan Role of Principal Investigator Specific Aims (Handouts
Overview of Talk (Cont’d) Work Out Logic Before Writing (Handout 4) Securing Appropriate Technical Assistance (TA) Investigator Initiated Research
Overview of Talk (Cont’d) Approach Statistician Early Visit Institutional Grants Office Before You Need Them Research Team (Handout 5) Reviewers and Review System (Handout 9)
Overview of Talk (Cont’d)Theoretical Model Driving Your Research(Handouts 6 and 7)Preliminary ResearchLiterature ResearchVisual Impression of Your ResearchApplicationGraphics Communicate (Handout 8)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Look in the NIH guide: It is key-word searchable (topic, mechanism, Institute) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index Critical components (participating Institutes, research objectives, dates, mechanisms of support, eligibility, review information, program officers) Handout 2
Investigator-Initiated Research Applications Some prospective applicants call and ask “What are you funding now?” “What RFAs do you have now?” If you have an innovative, significant idea, that is what Institutes are looking for to advance science. Project Officers can provide you with guidance about priorities and whether your idea would find favor.
Securing Appropriate. Technical Assistance (TA) Every Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) has a list of Project Officers at the end. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index. These people wrote FOA; have vested interest in receiving good applications. Be judicious in asking people to read it or be consultants, need people to review your application.
Role of Principal InvestigatorYour name will appear on the applicationYou are the conductor orchestrating yourteam.Listen to advice but make what you thinkis the best scientific decision.You are responsible to conduct the study asdesigned, reviewed, and funded.
Approach Statistician Early Statisticians are scarce and so you want to engage one early. Find a statistician when you have specific aims, hypotheses, theoretical model, measures to assess constructs. You want to be sure that you are using measures that are collecting the data that can be used in the latest, appropriate data analytic methods. Do not take your statistician for granted.
Visit Institutional Grants Office Before You Need Them The grant is awarded to the institution not you. Another person you should meet early is the Authorized Official Representative/Signing Official (AOR/SO). The AOR/SO counter signs the face page of the application. The AOR/SO submits your application and co- signs all your requests for changes in the NGA.
Work Out Logic Before Writing Keep your proposal to two pages with bullets. Do not begin writing until you have worked out the logic. Possible to get lost in the words and end up with inconsistencies. Writing is the easiest part, designing the components is the difficult part.
Table of Contents The Proposal is approximately 100 pages covering: performance sites, Bios of key personnel, budget, PHS checklist) PHS 398 Specific Research Plan is only 12 pages (depending on mechanism) Handout 3 (front of page)
Outline for Specific Research Plan A. Specific Aims B. Background and Significance C. Preliminary Studies/Progress Report D. Research Design and Methods E. Human Subjects Research Handout 3 (back)
Specific Aims Important because they provide the reviewer with an idea of what to expect in your proposal. Organize the structure of the proposal. Establish order in which issues will be addressed in each section of proposal. More clear if they are in bullet form.
Specific Aims (continued) Be cautious about having too many specific aims, because reviewers will feel that it is a “fishing expedition.” One way to handle this is to triage into primary and secondary specific aims. Be sure you have a product for each aim not a method.
Specific Aims (continued)Specific aims must be specific not global: - End HIV in adolescents at risk for HIV (global) - Test whether HIV-related risk behaviors of adolescents in families that are trained as AIDS educators have a later sexual debut when compared with control group (specific)
Developing a Successful Research Team Develop grid of the expertise needed to conduct study: On side put areas (AIDDS, developing interventions, lab procedures, statistician, data manager, etc.). Along top put names of potential team. Put checks to indicate who is expert in areas.
Developing a Successful Research Team (cont’d) Offer role on research team to those persons. Inverse relationship between status of position offered and need for that expertise. Multiple PI, co-PI, co-investigator, project member. Role of consultants (specific expertise needed at specific time). Specifying key personnel.
Developing a Successful Research Team (cont’d) Allocation correct amount of effort is important. PI often criticized for not committing enough time. Allocation of effort is expressed as percentage of effort associated with project, multiplied by the number of months of appointment: Example: 25% of a 9-month academic year appointment equals 2.25 person months (9 x 0.25 = 2.25)
Reviewers on Scientific Review Group (SRG) Center for Scientific Review (CSR) website has study section rosters: http://era.nih.gov/roster/ Decide which members likely to review your application; review their work. Ask people with whom you are already in conflict to review pre-submission review of your application or be a consultant, if possible.
Theoretical Model Driving Your Research All empirical research is based on assumptions about what is happening and why. Even if your assumptions are not discussed, they are implicit in what constructs you choose to assess. Your assumptions about what is happening form your theoretical framework.
Theoretical Framework (cont’d) Your hypotheses are your predictions of what will happen. A theory of the problem is a way of explaining why your intervention changes behavior.
Theoretical Framework (cont’d) Adolescents have high level of STDs Social cognitive - assume that high risk behavior based on subjective norms Psychosocial - assume it is based on poor communication skills and feelings of self worth Biological - assume based on understimulation and sensation seeking
Theoretical Framework (cont’d) Theoretical framework drives both your intervention and your assessment plan. There should be a measure for every construct in your theoretical framework. – Skills – Intentions – Environment Restraints – Behavior change
Preliminary Research This is the research that you have conducted. Do not list everything that you have done only the research that has provided you with skills to conduct the proposed research. Briefly describe the study, what you found, and how you have used these findings to develop this proposal.
Literature Review This demonstrates the breadth of knowledge about the field. If you leave out something, the reviewers will assume you do not know about it. Cite only publications that build the case for your study. The literature review should convince the review group that your study is the next logical step.
Visual Impression of Your Research Remember that only 5 people in the review will have read your application in advance. Most reviewers will be sitting in a room with poor lighting trying to review the parts of the grant on their computer screens that matter the most to them while the 3 reviewers are giving their verbal evaluations of your proposal. Use good headings and white space to help them.
Graphics Communicate Using graphics is an excellent strategy to help the reviewers quickly grasp what you are proposing and how long it will take. A table of research subjects can present information on the patient flow at research sites. Then, you can base your recruitment plan on that flow.
Graphics Communicate (cont’d) A timeline for research activities can help you plan. Looking horizontally lets you demonstrate that you can accomplish the tasks in the time allotted. Looking vertically lets you demonstrate why you have asked for the effort of different staff at different times.