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Tips on how to win NIH research grants

Deanna Pogorelc

For biotech researchers, the National Institutes of Health can be a huge resource for funding. Through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, the NIH has more than $8 billion in grants to support scientific research. But there’s also a lot of competition for that money, and submitting an application by no means guarantees grant funding.

Grant applicants and reviewers and NIH staff members dish out tips on how to win an NIH grant in this video from the institute’s YouTube channel.

The best grant applications interestingly and efficiently communicate what the investigators want to do, why they want to do it, how they’re going to do it, and how it’s going to advance science, says Martin Philbert, a University of Michigan School of Public Health professor and the senior associate dean for research.

The worst applications are over-ambitious and try to cover too much territory, according to Keith Yamamoto, executive vice dean of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

And the hook that can make or break an application is how well the ideas flow together and how the innovation is described in terms of how it will advance humanity’s knowledge of something we need to know more about.

Others recommend having peers and mentors review the application before it’s submitted and participating in the review process of other applications if you’re invited. This approach allows you to learn and improve your application at the same time.

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