Writing a Grant During the First Research Year
Once you decide on a lab and PI, you should quickly start the process of writing your first grant prior to your start in the lab to acquire funds to support salary, to provide funding for research activities, or both. It is not required that you are awarded a grant but expected that you apply.
There are many different potential sources for research funding. Some of the common ones are listed below. Fellows should discuss potential grant sources and optimal timing of grant applications with their mentors. Remember most grants take approximately nine months from the time of submission until the award period. It is not uncommon for grants to require resubmission before they are funded. Your plans for a grant application should be clearly communicated with your PI.
When you do decide to write a grant, be aware that in addition to the deadline for the grant, you need to leave time for administrative review and approvals.
All extramural grants must be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs Administrative Network (OSPAN). This deadline will be three to four weeks before the grant deadline at the funding agency.
- Draft of grant needs to be completed two to three months prior to final deadline to ensure it has time to get reviewed by:
- Your mentor(s)
- Potential experts in the field
- Other members of your advisory committee
- Letters of Support – Ask potential writers in advance if they are comfortable writing a letter of recommendation. Be prepared to write a draft of the recommendation for your letter writer.
- Updated biosketch – draft of the grant (or at least the title and specific aims), and any other required forms, which vary slightly by grant.
- Additional forms besides research strategy- equipment, facility forms, budget justification
Numerous intramural grants are available from UAMS COM, UAMS WPRI, UAMS TRI, and ACRI. You should work with your PI to access these opportunities and determine which to apply. Your ability to get one of these grants may be impacted by the grants your PI has already received so communicate with your PI to discuss options for intramural funding.
Numerous foundation grants are available that provide salary and supply support for your fellowship. Most foundation grants have deadlines the summer or fall prior to your start in the lab. Awards will be announced and administered the spring before your start. Therefore, once you confirm your lab and PI, quickly start the process of identifying which grant to apply and writing the grant. You should work closely with your PI to develop this grant.
- American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
- The Thoracic Surgery Fellowship
- Association for Academic Surgery
It is highly recommended you become familiar with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH funding represents the major source of funding for both clinical and basic research scientists. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide.html
NIH Career Development (K Awards)
These awards provide protected time needed to develop an independent research career (typically 75% time).
K08: (Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award)
K23: (Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award).
KO8 and K23 are similar awards that support the development of the independent research scientist. The K23 is designed to support individuals who are committed to patient-oriented research. For the purposes of this award, patient-oriented research is defined as research conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens, and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator directly interacts with human subjects. This area of research includes: 1) Mechanisms of human disease; 2) therapeutic interventions; 3) Clinical trials, and; 4) the development of new technologies.
Fellowships (F series):
This award provides up to three years of support (this includes support from institutional training grants) for full-time research training in areas that reflect the national need for biomedical and behavioral research and is offered by all the NIH institutes and centers. Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant must identify a sponsoring institution and an individual who will serve as a sponsor (also called mentor or supervisor) and will supervise the training and research experience.
Research Grants (R series):
R01: These are individual, often investigator-initiated projects (i.e., no RFA or PA necessary)
R21: These exploratory/development grants are institute-specific. An RFA states if the R21 mechanism is used and will include instructions.
Program Announcement (PA): Announces increased priority and/or emphasizes particular funding mechanisms for a specific area of science; applications accepted on standard receipt dates on an on-going basis. (A PAR is a PA for which special referral guidelines apply, described in the PAR.)
Request for Applications (RFA): Identifies a more narrowly defined area for which one or more NIH institutes have set aside funds for awarding grants; one receipt date, specified in RFA.
Request for Proposals (RFP): Solicits proposals for a contract; one receipt date, specified in RFP.
Each NIH institute has its own training site detailing training and career awards. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/index.htm
NCI training site also links to non-NIH training/funding opportunities: http://www.nci.nih.gov/research_funding/organizations/