A Great Resource for Biomedical Research Grant Proposal Writers

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the utility of using field-specific models of effective communication when expanding into a new area, I thought I would offer more examples. Yesterday’s example was specific to patient-centered engagement and research, but today I thought I would share the resource I suggest to the biomedical research proposal writers in my training sessions. For these writers, many of whom are research faculty and fellows, the sample applications offered by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provide a wonderful resource.

Often it can be difficult for new proposal writers to get their hands on samples of grants, mostly because of the proprietary nature of the content. As a result, it can also be difficult to judge the effectiveness of a proposal that is offered as an example—what was the outcome?—which calls into question its usefulness as a model for the development of a new proposal. This is why the examples offered by the NIAID (part of the National Institutes of Health) are such a great resource for biomedical researchers developing a proposal for the NIH.

The NIAID site provides samples of R01, R21, and R21/R33 applications. These are applications the NIAID finds to be “sound examples of good grantsmanship,” and these applications have been annotated in order to call the reader’s attention to examples of this good grantsmanship. Additionally, the applications’ summary statements have been posted with the applications. Summary statements include a summary of the project and budget, the reviewer comments and scoring, and resume sections prepared by the Scientific Review Officer. Summary statements highlight the strengths and weaknesses of applications and can give the proposal writer great insight into appropriate communication strategies. 

It can be challenging to find examples of competitive research proposals, and the annotation and inclusion of summary statements make this resource especially valuable. I would encourage grant writers who are new to the biomedical research field and do not have access to quality examples of successful proposals to explore this resource and the accompanying grantsmanship materials at NIAID Grants

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