“I was successful at obtaining junior researcher grants. However after transitioning to an Assistant Professor position, it was clear that my postdoc skills would not win grants at this level. After attending the first session of Meg’s live training (via Zoom), it was already clear to me where I went wrong with my first R01 application, and how to improve it.”

Packed with information, but very well presented with useful how to do tips.

“The consistent demonstration of principles through funded examples is super, super effective. Really great stuff.”

“I really enjoyed your presentations and how candid you were about the process.”

Old as I am, I am embarrassed at how much I did not know. I am very grateful for having had this opportunity. maybe things will get better re: submissions. one can always hope.”

“It is particularly helpful for junior faculty, but there is plenty to take away even after close to 30 years of submitting (and getting sometimes) R01 applications.”

“I got a lot of great ideas from this training, even though I got my first R01 back in the day (in the early 2000’s when the payline for my institute was 22%!). I have never adapted well to the removal of the background section, but now understand better the options of where to put that information. I LOVE the idea of having an overall introduction to the Approach section to let the reviewers know what is coming. I usually jump right into Aim 1. I will try the new idea next time. Also appreciated many other tips and information on NIH tools like Matchmaker, tools to find a study section, etc. Thanks so much for this training!”

Every R01 applicant needs to hear how important relationship with a PO is, and ways to go about finding the right match and building that relationship. This was not mentioned in other grant writing courses I attended. I’m going to try it, and hope it works… The writing tips were useful too. Great session overall. Thank you.”

Designed for those preparing to write an R01 or similar submission for an upcoming grant deadline, and the people who advise them.
Thursday December 2, 12—4:30 ET
At the end of 4 1/2 hours of training, you will:

  1. Identify and employ crucial steps to take to prepare to write
  2. Acquire key information about effective NIH writing strategies
  3. Apply those strategies as you write and revise a draft of your submission
  4. Utilize your skills to critique the work of others, which will lead to sharpening of your own skills
  5. Develop better grantwriting skills that will carry forward on all submissions, whether to NIH or other funding agencies

(Description formatted for CME application. We will provide a certificate of attendance upon request.)


1. Preparation
You have a cool idea for a research project, now what? Great science is necessary, but not sufficient, to funding success. Here, I discuss preparatory strategies that distinguish my grantees who are consistently more successful at NIH from those who are not. Tips include finding your niche in the funding portfolio, shopping around draft Aim(s) to multiple ICs to find the best possible fit, and discussing with an enthusiastic program officer your study design and optimal study section and FOA. Emphasis is placed on the importance of building a long-term relationship with the program officer.

2. Specific Aims
The one-page Aims document is arguably the most important narrative section of an NIH submission. Reviewers begin to form their funding decision based on this single page. Attendees will be given examples of recently funded Aims documents in their entirety, including one funded in 2019. You will be given numerous examples of narrative overviews, “we propose” paragraphs, impact statements, and numbered aims from recently funded grant applications, as well as formats and templates to help with your writing. The training manual contains instructions, tips, samples, and a writing exercise that consists of a funded Aims page into which I have inserted mistakes I typically see from grantees, in order for attendees to practice editing. By the end of the training, you should feel skilled and confident to construct a highly polished Aims page for your own submissions.

3. Significance and Innovation
Grantees often struggle to write the Significance and Innovation sections (which have no corresponding section in journal articles) and to distinguish between the two. I walk grantees through the writing of a strong Significance section, which includes disease burden, the new Rigor of Prior Research scoring criteria, and how your project will address the strengths and weaknesses of the prior research and reduce disease burden. I will demonstrate how the Innovation section must drive home the competitive advantage over previous and current approaches. Because reviewers tend to skim text, I provide examples from numerous recently funded grant applications on which I have worked of newspaper-style headers that help reviewers skim and grasp key concepts. Emphasis of this course is on ensuring that reviewers both in and outside your field are persuaded of the significance, innovation, and impact of your project. The training manual is packed with instructions, tips, templates, recently funded samples, and exercises to help you edit and write more competitively.

4. Approach
Human subjects project? Clinical trial? Neither? What does this have to do with writing the Approach section? Everything, from which type of funding opportunity announcement (and therefore instructions & scoring criteria), to how much (if any) of your content gets stripped out of the Approach and placed in the PHS Human Subjects & Clinical Trial Information Form – because as of January 2019, no “double listing” is allowed. I will help you determine what kind of project you are doing, what kind of FOA/instructions/scoring criteria you therefore follow, and which parts of the Human Subjects & Clinical Trial Form (if any) you fill out. Based on what goes in your Approach section as a result, I will help you understand how to write a winning Approach section – the section that typically receives the worst score, and the one that statistically correlates most closely with your Overall score. Emphasis will be placed on concrete ways to address reviewer comments of scoring criteria for Scientific Rigor and Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable, including examples from recently funded grant applications on which I have worked.