Write Winning Grant Proposals

Des Moines, IA US
January 31, 2013

The DMU Office of Research is pleased to launch our program on grantsmanship with the following research grant writing workshop. Write Winning Grant Proposals is designed to help both basic scientists and clinical investigators convey their ideas convincingly so proposals will be favorably reviewed and funded. This workshop addresses both practical and conceptual aspects that are important to the proposal-writing process. It is designed for faculty members and administrative staff who have had some exposure to writing grant applications, either through training/mentoring or personal experience.

The program has been designed to meet the needs of DMU, i.e., to emphasize the granting agencies that are of greatest interest to its members, including federal, private, and/or industrial sources. Emphasis has been given to such things as idea development, identification of the most appropriate granting agency, how to write for reviewers, and tips and strategies that are of proven value in presenting an applicant's case to reviewers.

Participants will be taught to organize their presentations into a linear progression of logic, which leads reviewers through their applications. It is stressed that applicants are writing for two different audiences – the assigned reviewers, who have read the application in its entirety, and those who have read little, if anything, before the review meeting. Strategies designed to develop advocacy and a fundable priority score from both audiences will be presented. Discussion periods, practical exercises, and an extensive handout ensure that there is maximal gain from the program.


  • Formulate a focused research plan that incorporates well-formulated hypotheses, rationale, specific objectives and long-range research goals and justify a budget for the proposed research activities
  • Maximize the use of existing resources in the development of a sound research plan
  • Identify potential funding sources to provide support for planned research activities
  • Organize and present a sound research plan that accurately reflects the ideas and directions of the proposed research activities
  • Describe how grant applications are reviewed, including who is involved in the review, so researchers present their ideas to the granting agency in a reviewer-friendly, maximally effective way
  • Comprehend the peer-review process in proposal evaluation and how to formulate a grant application that is maximally compatible with that process
  • List the reasons grant applications fail
  • Identify the basics of research grant applications: funding sources, grant construction, and successful submission to funding agencies
  • Describe ways to write a clear and logical grant proposal
  • Assess the NIH peer review process
  • Analyze reviewers' comments and critiques


8:30 amGeneral Grant Writing Concepts
  • Introduction to the Program
  • The concept of a grant/funding agency missions
  • Funding trends and success rates
  • Development of ideas for possible grant applications
  • Evaluation of Ideas: Program Officers/Programmatic relevance
  • Commitment to the process
  • The importance of good “grantspersonship”
  • Identifying possible funding agencies
  • Similarities among funding agencies
10:15 amBreak
10:30 amThe Reviewers and the Review Process
  • Peer review and the peer review process
  • Common assumptions about peer review
  • Mechanisms of review
  • Identifying your reviewers (if possible)
  • Including and excluding reviewers
  • Who exactly are your reviewers
  • Intrinsic review criteria (unwritten rules)
  • Making applications maximally “reviewer friendly”
  • Funding agency review criteria (funding agency specific)
12 pmLunch
1 pmDevelopment of a Competitive Application
  • The critical importance of first impressions
  • Development of a one-page overview/executive summary of your application
  • Things that need to be in place before writing the rest of the application
2:40 pmBreak
2:55 pmSignificance/Rationale/Broader Impacts/Innovation
  • Background/Work done by others
  • Past productivity related to the proposed work/Pilot data/Preliminary findings
  • Plan of work/Activities proposed/Research Plan
  • Applicant/Biographical Sketches/Letters of collaboration
  • Environment/Resources
  • Concepts behind budget preparation
  • How to create a compelling title
  • Abstracts/Summary
  • Critical review from colleagues
4:45 pmWrap-Up and General Discussion
5 pm Adjourn


John D. Robertson, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics, Kansas City, Associate Member, University of Kansas Medical Center, University of Kansas Cancer Center, Kansas City

Dr. Robertson has been the recipient of competitive extramural funding from both the NIH and non-federal sources. Author of 27 peer-reviewed journal articles and three book chapters. Has been a member of grant review panels, a reviewer for a number of biomedical journals, and served on editorial boards. Has also served as a mentor for grant applicants at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he has also been routinely recognized for excellence in teaching.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 7.00 CE Contact Hour(s)
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
01/31/2013 - 8:30am CST
Event ends: 
01/31/2013 - 5:00pm CST
Des Moines University
Olsen Center
3200 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States

Available Credit

  • 7.00 CE Contact Hour(s)


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