Strategies to Get Funded

Begin working on your grant application approximately 6 months before the deadline. Create a schedule so that you have plenty of time to carefully write and revise your application. Formulate your hypotheses and experimental approaches at least 5-6 months before the grant deadline. Talk with your mentor and colleagues to get their input and feedback. Begin writing your Specific Aims page (https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/draft-specific-aims) at least 4-5 months before the grant deadline. Begin writing your Biosketch (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm) and Career Development Plan (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/critiques/k.htm) at least 3-4 months before the deadline. Rewrite and improve your Specific Aims page at least once or twice, and then send it to SES for at least one edit.

Carefully read the grant instructions and understand the priorities of the funding NIH institute. Incorporate the language used in the FOA (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/search_results.htm? year=active&scope=pa) or IC mission statement (https://www.nih.gov/institutes-nih/list-nih-institutes-centers-offices) into your proposal. Ensure that your application adheres to the correct formatting requirements specified in the call (e.g., font size and page limits), and that it includes all required sections.

Contact your Program Officer and review the Study Section roster. Send an email to your Program Officer (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/staff_list_grants_admin.htm) to ask if they would read your Specific Aims page and give you feedback. The Program Officer can provide guidance on how to improve your application for their mechanism, or whether a different mechanism would be more appropriate for your application. Study Section rosters (https://www.csr.nih.gov/Committees/rosterindex.asp) list the standing members of a Study Section, and can give you a good idea of who will be reviewing your grant. Include diplomatic citations to their work, if appropriate.

Revise your Specific Aims page based on the Program Officer’s feedback. Rewrite and improve your Specific Aims page based on the Program Officer’s advice. Incorporate any continuing feedback from your mentor and colleagues.

Expand your Specific Aims page into the Research Strategy. A well-written Specific Aims page serves as the outline for your Research Strategy (https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/write-research-plan). Each Aim should be based on a sub-hypothesis of your long-term goal.

Participate in a Research Forum or NIH Mock Study Section. The Research Forum (http://icts.wustl.edu/icts-researchers/icts-cores/rf-home) and NIH Mock Study Section (https://crtc.wustl.edu/otg/nih-mock-study-section/) provide valuable mechanisms for getting expert critical feedback on your grant proposal, which allows you to address identifiable issues before submission. Be advised that the Research Forum meets once per month and the NIH Mock Study Section currently meets twice per year.

Send your grant application to SES for editing. Early engagement ensures that SES can perform comprehensive editing for your grant application.

 

Contact the ICTS Scientific Editing Service

Dr. Sara Steenrod: sarasteenrod@wustl.edu                                      Dr. Laura Zonia: laura.zonia@wustl.edu