Grant Writing Tips
How to make the grant submission process flow smoothly in 2010.
- Details of Application Changes for Research Grants and Cooperative Agreements
- Overall Impact versus Significance
- NIH 424 Cheat Sheet
- Enhancing peer review: Guide for review of restructured grant applications
- Enhanced Peer Review Criteria
- Specific Aims / Review Criteria Worksheet
- Always address your audience needs (http://www.marketingyourscience.com/)
- Grant template for the specific Aims page (http://www.marketingyourscience.com/)
Version 2: 6/9/2010.
The Grant editor/writers are still available to help you move from a 15-25 page grant to a 6-12 page grant. I have been very impressed by their careful editing and have benefitted from their help as well. However, you need to plan ahead and get on their schedule. The Dean’s office will now pay 75% of the fee (we pay 25%) instead of 60%. If you are a new PI (or have a new Co-PI on the grant), the Dean’s office will pay for 100% of the editing/writing fee.
Preparation of the Parent PDF file.
I would suggest you start by looking for RFA’s from your institute and downloading the instructions that are specific to that RFA. This will give you vital information about dollar amounts and start dates, along with other bits of key information needed to make your grant relevant. If there are no RFA’s then, download the Parent PDF for your particular grant (R03, R21, R01). If you do not have ADOBE Professional on your computer, we will pay for it to be installed.
We have support staff trained to load files into the appropriate ADOBE Parent PDF file. To update from the 5/3/2007 version of this guideline: Linda will work with COBRE PI’s. Kim will work with PI’s on the 5th floor of Shorey. Rosemary and Felicia will work with the group in Ed 3. The remaining faculty can work with Sharon, Tamara or Melanie Reeves who will learn the protocol this summer. The staff have been known to tag team, when one has to be out.
Here is what the staff can do:
1) Download the Parent PDF for your grant, or if you give them the PA number, they can download the RFA PDF form.
2) Collect already prepared biosketches
3) Upload all files into the Parent PDF forms
4) Fill out the Parent PDF forms
5) Get letters from local collaborators as needed.
Here is what they can’t do, because of the nature of the new format or because of privacy issues
1) Create or convert a biosketch (only the biosketch owner can write the personal statement and choose the appropriate publications, honors, etc)
2) Create justifications or facilities statements, which have to be tailored to the project and science.
3) Upload to ARIA (we won’t want everyone’s salary information on that many desks).
Some additional considerations:
Budget: The Parent PDF will have a Modular Budget form, which is standard. You have to provide the support staff with the number of modules you are requesting and they can fill out the form on the PDF file. For most grants, no detailed budget is needed in the Parent PDF>
During this past year, they have wanted us to name all files with an underscore (no spaces), so be sure and give each file a name like “Specific_aims_Childs.pdf” or Childs_biosketch.pdf……something like that.
Be sure you look at the instructions for the Budget justification (now only Personnel justification) ….there are paragraphs that must include important information about how the personnel will support the project.
You no longer include justification for supplies in Budget justification.
Also, the biosketch is quite different, so be prepared to redo your biosketch. Because of the new requirements, each biosketch is unique to that grant.
The facilities statement must now include a sentence about how the facilities are uniquely equipped to support the project (read the instructions). In other words, like the biosketch, the facilities statement is unique to the project.
This summer, we are going to retrain the staff to look for these things in your documents and this may save time as they guide you to revise your old boilerplate documents. They can’t write them, but they can check for the presence of the required statements.
You may submit the grant to ARIA yourself. It can be frustrating and time-consuming for you, however. Also, you will need to get correct salary information so we don’t have to go back and correct everything.
Alternatively, Laurie, Linda or Kim (and soon, Melanie) can submit for you during normal business hours. Also, I can submit and help with submission any time (night or day). You need to provide them/us with:
1) The full 01-year budget and the percent effort for each of the key personnel. They can take it from there and set up the ARIA file early. Please Let Laurie, Linda or Kim find the official salary. We must have the salary accurately presented in ARIA or the Dean’s office will not sign off.
2) Animal or Human Subjects use
3) Other information about grant that is filled out in ARIA (they can print out a sheet for you to fill out, which will guide them online).
The support staff can provide them/us with:
4) The title of the grant
5) Start and stop dates
6) The agency
7) Draft or final of Parent PDF file
The ARIA file can be filled out early, so I would suggest alerting them and getting it started. Don’t expect all of us to be able to sign off on ARIA on the SAME DAY the grant is due. We need at least 2 days to process the grant through ARIA. This is why I push for an early submission.
The ARIA files must be signed by Laurie, me, the Dean, and then the Grants’ office. This is why there must be time allowed for us to look at the files, even if you submit to ARIA yourself. Laurie is the final step in the budget approval and even has her own little BOX (DBO) to use to approve it. She makes certain it will fly through the Dean’s office.
We will have Melanie Reeves (who replaced Sophia and Sarah) trained to do ARIA and by this Fall, she will also be a good contact for an ARIA submission as well.
Finally, the ORSP will no longer accept last minute submissions, so you have to have the final grant completed by their 48 h window so they can submit it. Also this deadline is not the same as the ARIA deadline. The ARIA deadline is at least 48 hours earlier than the ORSP deadline.
Also, we no longer have a 5-day grace period at Grants.gov, so plan accordingly. Final means final and not the availability of revisions after the due date.
Post submission materials/Progress reports:
Effective for all submissions after September 21 2010, there will be limits on the types of material one can put in a progress report that updates the study section.
These are the things that are allowed:
• Revised budget page(s) (e.g., change in budget request due to new funding or institutional acquisition)
• Biographical sketches (e.g., change in senior/key personnel due to the loss of an investigator)
• Letters of support or collaboration resulting from a change in senior/key personnel due to the loss of an investigator
• Adjustments resulting from natural disasters (e.g., loss of an animal colony)
• Adjustments resulting from change of institution (e.g., PI moved to another university)
• News of an article accepted for publication
These are the things that are not allowed:
• Updated Specific Aims or Research Strategy pages
• Late-breaking research findings
• Supplemental pages – information not contained in the existing application
• New letters of support or collaboration that do not result from a change in senior/key personnel due to the loss of an investigator
Exceptions may exist for certain RFA’s and funding opportunities, so it pays to ask if your RFA carries that exception.
This means you will not be working to provide updated data before the study section meets. So, with those grants submitted after September 21, what they see in the first submission is all they get, unless you get a paper out. This means that more time needs to be spent on publications, once the grant is submitted. That will be your only mechanisms for updating, besides the revision.
In August, there will be a Town Meeting, which will launch a series of workshops that will help you with the new grant format. Stay tuned for times and dates. We want to be proactive and help everyone with the new formats and shorter presentations. We are waiting until the first crop of study section members has had their experience. If you are a study section member who is willing to serve on a panel for this, or provide some expertise, please let us know.
Webmaster: Abdallah Hayar