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NIH Grant Writing Workshop

Workshop Overview

On Friday, November 30, the FSU Office of Proposal Development is coordinating a special on-campus workshop for faculty who are interested in submitting an NIH grant proposal.  There was an attendance cap for this really excellent workshop and ALL of the slots have already been taken. A list of workshop attendees has been provided below. 

The workshop will be conducted by Dr. Meg Bouvier, a Biomedical Science writer who specializes in assisting faculty from around the country with NIH Grant writing.  In the past two years, some of her clients have included Arizona State University, Michigan State University, Penn State University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and Vanderbilt School of Medicine—most are repeat customers.

Workshop Details

When: Friday, November 30, 2018
WhereHonors, Scholars, Fellows (HSF) House- Nancy H. Marcus Great Hall (4003)

The workshop will consist of two sessions: a morning session geared to more junior faculty members and an afternoon session focused on those interested in submitting R01 proposals

SESSION ONE (Morning) 8:00-11:00 am

Building Your NIH Research Funding Portfolio  

So you are ready to begin applying for external funding and are going to start with an NIH R01, right? Probably not, if you want to succeed. I will describe types of funding sources that will allow you to stair-step up to an R01, including other mechanisms at NIH and funding sources outside NIH. For more experienced grantees many of these sources, such as private foundation funding, can be used to keep your research program afloat between NIH grants as you resubmit, given the challenging funding climate. I will also talk about considering other federal agencies that fund biomedical research. The current funding climate is very challenging; the most successful grantees consider diversifying their funding portfolio to include many types of funding sources.

Mistakes Commonly Made on NIH Grant Applications  

Perhaps the greatest benefit of working with an experienced, successful grantwriter is that the grantwriter reads dozens of Summary Statements each year across topic areas and study sections. This allows us to identify recurring themes in the Summary Statements. My perspective can be invaluable even to a grantee who serves on a specific study section, as it helps the grantee understand current trends across numerous study sections.



LUNCH PROVIDED (11:15-12:00)


SESSION TWO (Afternoon) 12:15-4:45pm

4-part talk on writing an NIH R01   

Preparation: Key steps to take before you write a successful NIH submission. You have a cool idea for a research project, now what? I feel strongly that my most successful clients spend a lot of time on legwork before they write a submission. I will discuss strategies for optimizing success on your NIH submission, including finding your niche in the funding portfolio via the Reporter website, 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.

Specific Aims: How to write the most important page of an NIH submission. The one-page Aims document is arguably the most important narrative section of an NIH submission. It is the first section I write, 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 I have inserted mistakes I typically see from grantees, in order for you to practice editing.

Significance and Innovation: How to “sell” your project to NIH reviewers. 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 will walk grantees through the writing of a strong Significance section, which includes disease burden, scientific premise, strengths & weaknesses of prior research, knowledge gap, and how your project will fill the knowledge gap 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 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. A discussion of the Scientific Premise (part of 2016 Rigor & Reproducibility scoring criteria) is discussed, in light of lessons learned from dozens of 2017 Summary Statements I have read. I provide funded examples and exercises to help you edit and write more competitively.

Approach: How to write the section that correlates most closely with your overall score. 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: The Approach section typically receives the worst score, and it is the score that correlates most closely with the overall impact score. I will discuss strategies for structuring this important section. Emphasis will be placed on concrete ways to address reviewer comments of scoring criteria for Rigor and Transparency seen in 2017, including examples from recently funded grant applications on which I have worked. These scoring criteria within Approach include rigor, reproducibility, transparency, and sex & other biological variables. There is also an overview of the myriad clinical trial changes introduced in January 2018.


List of Attendees:

Attending Morning Session Only:

Laurie Abbott 
Jessica Bahorski
James Du
Sara Ivy
Veronica Fleury
So Hyun Park 


Attending Afternoon Session Only:

Geraldine Martorella 
Lucinda Graven 
Lyndsay Jenkins
Betsy Becker


Attending Entire Day/Workshop:

Akash Gunjan
Adrienne Stephenson
Amy Ai 
Amy Burdette – Sociology
Bahram Arjmandi 
Bob Reiser
Brad Gordon
Carl Schmertmann – Economics
Cesar Rodriguez 
Chong Wu
Chris Constantino 
Claire Berryman 
David Braithwaite
David Folch - Geography
Dawn Carr – Sociology
Doctoral Student
Doctoral Student
Emily Lemmon
Fanxiu Zhu
Gloria Salazar
Graham J McDougall Jr
Greg Turner
Heidi Gazelle
Henry Carretta
Hong-Guo Yu
Hongyuan Cao
Hyun Seok Hwang
Jeffrey Lacasse 
Jennifer Steiner
Jerome Irianto
Jessica DeLeon
Jessica Wendorf Muhamad
Jian Feng
Joanna Wu
Joel Smith
Julia Sheffler
Justin Kennemur
Kaity Lansford
Katherine Yaun
Katrinell Davis – Sociology
Kelly Farquharson
Kelly Whalon
Keon-Hyung Lee
Laura Kitchens - COSSPP
Lifeng Lin
Liz Madden
Mae Roth 
Mark Horner - Geography
Mary Gerend
Melissa Radey
Michael Killian 
Michael McFarland - Sociology
Michele Parker
Michelle Arbeitman
Michelle Parvatiyar
Mike Blaber
Mike Ormsbee
Naomi Brownstein
Nick Cogan
Panagiotis Koutakis
Pascal Jean-Pierre
Peter Fraser
Prashant Singh
Qian Yin
Robb Tomko
Robert Silvers
Roberto Vincis
Seyram Butame 
Shengli Dong
Stephen Hennigar
Stephen Tripodi 
Tanya Renn 
Terra Bradley
Thomas Ledermann
Toby Macrae
Tom Houpt
Yan-Yan Hu
Yuan Wang
Zhe He

Please Fill Out the Workshop Feedback Form.


Please contact Rachel Goff-Albritton ( with any questions.