MTP: NIH Grant Writing Strategies

Write grants you can use more than once!

Learning to hear 'No' is part of grant writing...

A successful grant portfolio is essential for all mentees. Mentors can assist their mentees with grant writing and acquiring grants. The intent of the mentored K award is to help new investigators achieve independence, for instance to compete successfully for R01-level funding. Therefore, preparing for the R01 grant application that the candidate will submit at the end of the K award should be the organizing principle of the K grant application, which includes both a training plan and a research plan.

Mentors can support their mentees in helping them to develop a career development training plan that is uniquely suited to the mentee. Mentors can provide compelling arguments why the mentee needs a K award. It is helpful to identify critical gaps or deficiencies in the mentee's knowledge or skills. Mentors should explain using specific examples of how additional training or mentored research experience in these areas will enable the mentee to compete successfully for R01 funding. Given their previous training and research experience, mentees should propose a mix of didactic training and hands-on research experience that address the gaps or deficiencies in their knowledge or skills—fully exploit the training opportunities available.

When designing a research plan for a K award it is helpful to remember that the research plan is a training vehicle and means to achieve independence. The research plan should be well integrated with the candidate's training plan and provide an opportunity to acquire new skills. See the Successful K Proposal Library for examples.

Mentored K awards provide limited funding. The scope of the research plan needs to be appropriate and feasible, given the modest funding provided by a mentored K award, which ranges from $25K to $50K per year. A "modular" approach is possible, which might include several small projects, such as secondary analyses of existing data, leveraging ongoing studies, or conducting a small pilot studies. All aims should be relevant and integral to the subsequent R01 grant application.

CTSI K Grant Resources (Word 140KB)

Presentation: NIH RO1 Grant Writing Strategies and New Policies for Review—view as PowerPoint or view as PDF

Presentation: Helping Your Mentees Develop a Competitive K Award Application—view as PowerPoint or view as PDF