TIERS June2019 2There is no perfect formula for writing a successful grant. Lisa Jackson, MD, Inaugural Bourge Endowed Professor in Cardiovascular Disease at UAB, and Mary Townsley, PhD, Senior Associate Dean, Department of Physiology & Cell Biology at University of South Alabama, walked early stage investigators through writing a career development (K) grant at the recent Training Interdisciplinary & Emerging Research Scholars (TIERS).

They provided the following tips and more based on their own experience submitting K grants as well as being a grant reviewer, plus show real-world examples of what helps make a grant successful.

  • Develop a timeline to complete your grant on time.
  • Ask reviewers how they review grants. Structure your own grant based on their feedback.
  • Read other people’s grants and see what you like and dislike about how they are structured. The CCTS Grant Library is a great resource!
  • Ask for feedback on your Specific Aims early and often
  • Don’t overwhelm the reader.
    • Make your content digestible: use bullet points and tables to organize your information, allow whitespace between each paragraph
    • Limit how much you use bold, italicize and underline
    • Be concise. The more words on a page do not make you smarter.
  • Allow the reviewer to get to know you. Explain who you are and why you are interested in this specific research.
  • Be specific.
    • Document short and long term goals. Help the reviewer see you in 5-10 years.
    • List what exact classes, seminars, and meeting you will attend.
  • Pick mentors that compliment your training and experience.
  • Mentorship letters should answer:
    • What is your mentor's experience in mentoring others?
    • Are they successful at mentoring?
    • What is their NIH funding experience?
    • Does your primary mentor have the time to commit to you?

To hear the full discussion and see examples of funded grants, watch the recorded presentation on the CCTS YouTube channel and download the slide deck on the CCTS TIERS page.

Mark your calendar for the next TIERS on Friday, July 19. Paula Gregory, PhD, Assistant Dean of Medical Student Research, Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy at LSU Health Sciences Center, will lead the discussion on writing the career development section of your grant.