Get Funded: Learn to Write a Competitive NIH Grant


In an effort to assess the effectiveness of the workshops in enhancing the competitiveness of our participants, we have been regularly tracking our faculty cohorts. What we are most proud of is that a number of our participants have recently been successful in securing grants. The type of grants funded include R15s, R21s, K awards, Score grants, MBRS and other small local awards. In addition, some have received good scores and are awaiting funding decisions. The success rate of our past participants is even more significant when you consider the current funding level of the various NIH institutes. We have been very gratified in the correspondence received asserting the positive role the grant-writing workshop and mentoring played in their success. The following are some of their quotes:

"This was an outstanding workshop. The knowledge gained about the entire course of a "grant" will undoubtedly enhance my ability to secure funding."

"Too many workshops and grant-writing books provide very broad comprehensive overviews of the grant-writing. As a new P.I., this approach is most helpful. A perfect example of what made this course different was when we covered the Specific Aims section. I very much enjoyed how we walked through each paragraph of the Specific Aims and what function it serves. This was a very formative approach. ...This Team is amazing."

"I really enjoyed the workshop and it gave me a better insight of the proposal pre-award, submission and evaluation process. I would strongly recommend this workshop to someone else."

"It is difficult for me to express how much this workshop enabled me to get right to writing a grant. It is among the finest training I've attended..."

"I love the organization of workshops, wish to see even more writing advice."

"The exercise with Specific Aims & Biosketches was great!"

"I didn't know what I didn't know! This workshop opened my eyes to the possibilities present with NIH — but also provided clear steps & suggestions to support the entire process. Great workshop."

"This experience was transformative. I know that if I had this earlier in my career — it would have affected the arc of my career. It will still enable me to do more in the last third."

"This workshop has been the most transformative experience in my academic life in grant writing. I finally feel "informed" about the ins-and-outs of proposal writing. THANKS!"

"This workshop helped me improve my grantsmanship ability to the next level. The resubmission session for which I needed help, was very helpful to me. I think I can do better now for May 25th. I have new confidence so serve as a mentor to junior faculty in our College and our University in their grant-submissions. Thanks for doing this."

"The hands-on" exercises were invaluable — it is one thing to tell you how to do and another to show you how to apply the info. It has given me a better understanding of all that should go into the grant writing process so I feel more prepared for my next submission effort."

"You made me feel welcome right away. The fact that support does not end today won me over totally. You can tell staff is knowledgeable and that they interact with each other to make the material to be learned flow nicely. Great experience."

Hey guys,

Sorry I did not respond to the last request for updates, I did not have the good news until today.

I did want to send it out as soon as I got it so I could recognize the people who helped me and hopefully help you guys continue the good work. The particulars are attached and forwarded so you can see the results of your training. (SC2)

Thank you,

Rudi (Dr. Rudolf Bohm) September 11, 2014

Dear Margaret,

I just wanted to let you know that I found for sure that I got my MARC program renewed! Even better is that they gave me everything I asked for!!! I now have a $3.8M program for the next five years.

Please forward this to the other KY mentors who helped in the program last year to thank each and every one of you for your help in my renewal. At the risk of sounding maudlin, I am certain that I would not have been as successful as I was it not for the training I received in 2011. You all showed me so many potential proposal potholes--gotta love alliteration--that I would have fallen into otherwise. My only "regret" is that I didn't send it to you first as I think the remaining bumps would have been smoothed out but, thankfully, it didn't matter this time!

Michael Johnson
New Mexico State University

Dear Margaret,

I hope this email finds you well and happy! Just wanted to touch bases...after too long of a let you know that I also received NSF funding for my research and I used the writing skills your program taught me. I have applied for NSF funding several times over the years--but only after taking your course did I receive it. I'm going to attribute my success to my good idea and your excellent coaching!

Michael Johnson
New Mexico State University

Dear Margaret,

Since you are going up for renewal, I wanted to let you know positive outcomes for three more people who attended your workshop for RO1. They are all from Chemistry & Biochemsitry at NMSU.

Dr. Amudhu Gopalan received his SC3 renewal last year.
Dr. Shelley Lusetti received an RO1 last year.
Dr. Aaron Rowland received an SC2 last year.

So, I believe you are batting 1000 with NMSU people!!

Very fondly,
Michael Johnson
New Mexico State University

"I am happy to inform you that I have submitted my proposal to NIH on Monday for an SC2 grant. I met with my mentor to discuss the proposal prior to submission. I am very excited about the possibility of approval and thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Grant Writing Program at UK. I will keep you informed of the outcomes"

"I have been quite busy writing grants, doing experiments, teaching, setting up my lab, etc. After attending the workshop, I refocused a grant I had been writing (with a colleague) for NSF's CCLI Program. We submitted in early May (I think). We just received notice that we have been recommended for funding. I also submitted a NSF CAREER Proposal this past July. In short, the workshop has been very helpful and informative. But, so far, I feel more confident, and learned a few tricks, that seem to be working. I'll keep you posted as things continue to develop."

"Thank you so much for hosting the grant writing program. The instructions that I received in the workshop were indeed quite helpful, and I learned a lot from it with regard to successful grant writing. I have submitted an R15 (AREA) application to NIH/NIDA . It received a quite favorable score of 127 from the initial scientific review, and I am cautiously optimistic that mine will likely be funded by the end of 2007."

"Yes, again, your workshop (we attended two years ago) was very fruitful and we have already submitted two R01's."

"I received MBRS/SCORE funding for a proposal in May of 2007. It is funded for 4 years (thru April 2011). I hope to submit an R01 proposal and/or another SCORE proposal probably in 2009 or 2010 and will be seeking your help in getting outside evaluations and overall writing critiques at that time. All of the help that your program has provided is greatly appreciated."

"It has been a long time since we talked. I only want to tell you that I got a 140 score in my SC1 application (I resubmitted, the first time got a 209). I hope this is of some help for your workshop."

"Grant Writing Workshop at Kentucky was very helpful and gave me a lot of support on my grant writing both technically as well as spiritually. Please give my best regard to everyone as the Workshop who helped us in succeeding grant writing. My R15 got funded for 3 years and my SCORE (SC1) received a score of 139."


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