Tips for great grant writing
From Extramural Nexus, NIH Office of
Part 2: Get to Know the Projects and Activities of NIH-funded PIs
Learning more about projects already funded by NIH can be a great help when you are preparing your grant proposal. Using the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT), you can craft a comprehensive search of all NIH funding activities according to your specific interests. This search will result in a list of funded projects, for each of which you will be able to view an abstract and statement of public health relevance, as well as contact information for the project's PI.
Connection to NIH funding activities is just a few clicks away. Head to the RePORT homepage and click on NIH CRISP. Here you can filter your search according to key words, general topics, sponsoring Institutes or Centers, geographical locations, and fiscal years. As you read through project descriptions, keep in mind that one of NIH's primary goals is to develop, maintain, and renew biomedical resources that will improve our nation's health. Think about how your work might build upon projects that NIH has already funded, and highlight in your proposal how your scientific work will be relevant to public health. You might also consider using CRISP to locate potential collaborators or mentors.
Part 3: Organize Your Research Plan
Help reviewers find exactly what they are looking for in your research plan by breaking your proposal down according to the primary review criteria: significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and environment. Begin each section with clear, descriptive headers that effectively frame your research plan.
A succinct introduction should address the significance of your project, weighing its impact on your field and related fields, as well its impact in the greater context of public health. Consider the following questions from the Enhanced Review Criteria chart:
Next, address how PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers are suited to the project. Outline appropriate experience and training, and highlight any accomplishments that have encouraged advancements in the field(s). If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, show that investigators have complementary and integrated experience.
Now reflect on the innovation that project offers. Keep in mind that even if a project not, by nature, innovative, it may nonetheless be essential to advancing a field. Discuss how your work will challenge or improve current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches, or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions or by refining the use of these concepts, approaches, methodologies, or instrumentation.
A thorough description of the approach you will take is critical. Show how well-reasoned and appropriate your overall strategy, methodology, and analyses are to accomplishing the specific aims of your project.
Following the details of your approach, include a profile of the environment in which the work will be done. Consider the adequacy of resources such as institutional support and equipment. Also take into account how the project will benefit form any unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements.
Finally, add a section that addresses items of ethical concern applicable to your project-for example the use of vertebrate animals or human subjects (including gender and minority representation or the inclusion of children).