The mentored NIH K-series is often a grantee’s first contact with the NIH grant process. It can be a steep and intimidating learning curve. Dr. Bouvier will help you think carefully about whether the K is right for you, as its pursuit will use most of your precious ESI time. She will discuss how to prepare for the submission, then walk you through writing each section of the draft. Importantly, as a successful, full-time grantwriter, she is able to show you examples of sections from recently funded K submissions.
This training program may be of particular interest to medical centers interested in creating a robust physician-scientist training pipeline. The K08 and K23 are crucial for helping retain physician-scientists in the research arena. Dr. Bouvier is particularly skilled at working with this group of grantees. At $800, this course is a dramatic savings over the thousands of dollars that one-on-one grant consultations cost.
- Prepare for and write a strong draft of an NIH K submission
- Employ best grantwriting practices, based on recently funded NIH K submissions
- Revise and critique your own and others’ draft K submissions
SUMMARY OF COURSE SECTIONS
1. Preparation, Candidate Section, Letters of Support
Should you apply for a K, and if so, which one? To which institute? Is the project idea sound? Is your mentoring team a good one? Dr. Bouvier feels strongly that her most successful clients spend a lot of time preparing to write a grant submission. She will discuss strategies for optimizing success on your NIH submission, including familiarizing yourself with NIH’s funding priorities, finding your niche in the funding portfolio via the Reporter website, discussing your mentoring team, project, and options with program officers, and shopping around your draft Aims to find the best possible IC and FOA fit. She will then discuss the writing of the Candidate Section, providing an array of recently funded samples from across the spectrum of K submissions. Finally, she will discuss how to draft the Letters of Support, which unbeknownst to most K grantees, are actually written in large part by the grantee.
2. Specific Aims, Mistakes Commonly Made
The one-page Aims document is arguably the most important narrative section of an NIH submission. It is the first section Dr. Bouvier writes, and the one that undergoes the most revisions. It must quickly convey what you are doing, why you are doing it, and the impact your results will have on clinical care. If you learn to write a well-honed Aims document, it will open the door to success in writing other sections, and in writing persuasively about your work in general. Attendees will be given examples of funded Aims documents as well as a version into which Dr. Bouvier has inserted mistakes she typically sees from grantees, in order for you to practice editing. Dr. Bouvier will then discuss mistakes she typically sees made not just on K submissions, but also by junior faculty and by NIH grantees in general.
3. Significance and Innovation
The Significance and Innovation sections are all about persuading your reviewers about the merits of your project. You must concisely describe the disease burden, scientific premise, knowledge gap, and how your project will fill the knowledge gap and reduce the disease burden. You must also clearly articulate your competitive advantages over previous and current approaches. Dr. Bouvier describes a writing strategy to help reviewers quickly grasp the key points of these important sections, which are part of your scored Research Plan. She provides funded examples and exercises to help you edit and write more competitively. Grantees often struggle to write these “sales-y” sections; Dr. Bouvier will help ensure that reviewers both in and outside your field come away persuaded of the significance, innovation, and impact of the work you propose.
This section is based on the classic IMRAD writing style (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion), which most researchers have used since their high school lab reports and continue to use in their publications. That said, it is not easy to write this section well, and K grantees must be careful that a poor score on the Research Plan does not drag down their Mentoring Plan score as well, given that a poorly designed project is often blamed on a lack of mentoring. Dr. Bouvier will discuss strategies for structuring this important section and describe the reviewer comments she typically sees.