COVID-19 Adjustments and 2022 Versions of the NIH, NSF, and USDA-NIFA Workbooks

To say the least, the last two years have been incredibly challenging for everyone. Although it has recently felt like the worst of the pandemic may be behind us, the rapid emergence of the Omicron variant has cast some doubt on that. Between March 10, 2020, and February 26, 2021, every one of our seminar and workshop programs was held virtually. Since then, a number of research institutions and universities have returned to sponsoring our programs in person, while others have continued to opt for the virtual format. Given current circumstances, we are providing an update for 2022 on our operations so that we may be able to assist you with your grant proposal-writing needs. We are also providing information on the availability of newly updated 2022 NIH, NSF, and USDA-NIFA versions of The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook…

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Salami Slicing Science

When I was a graduate student, one particular research group caught my attention because they seemed to publish a manuscript at least monthly. It didn’t take long, however, for me to appreciate that all of their publications were very similar; it was only the Results Section that changed substantively from one publication to the next.

At a time when writing research manuscripts intimidated me, I realized how easy preparing new manuscripts…

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Guidance on authorship

At virtually every Biomedical Publication Seminar I present, attendees line up during breaks to seek my input on conflicts they are currently facing regarding authorship. Thus, if you find yourself struggling to decide who should or shouldn’t be included as an author of a manuscript, you’re not alone.

Vera-Badillo et al. (Eur J Cancer, 2016) recently investigated the issue of Honorary and Ghost Authors of manuscripts…

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The MOST IMPORTANT reason grant applications fail

Approximately two months ago, we posted a commentary in which we listed thirty reasons why applications for grant support were likely to fail. That post attracted significant interest among our readers as well as several comments. One of the more frequent questions concerned the issue as to whether the list of thirty reasons was presented in order of relative importance…

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MUST READING: Rigorous Science: a how-to guide

As readers of this blog know well, and indeed, as most informed grant applicants interested in NIH funding know, the NIH has recently (May, 2016) instituted a number of policy changes. Foremost among these are changes regarding the critical importance of the underlying Scientific Premise for any proposed research project, as well as the requirement that all proposals must adhere to principles of Scientific Rigor…

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Hints: Writing Your Objectives

One of the fundamental points that is relevant to almost all grant proposals is the fact that the proposal is (or at least should be), designed to address a problem or need (that the target funding agency also recognizes as important). Thus, the primary (but certainly not only) purpose of the proposal should then be to explain to the funding agency (and/or the reviewers) what the applicant’s idea(s) would be as to how to address that need or fix the problem. To achieve these goals…

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Ask the Experts – NEVER let this happen to you!

We recently received the following correspondence from an NSF grant applicant:

“Dear GWSW,

I was very recently unable to complete the submission of my CRII proposal, which was due to the NSF last Wednesday. I, unfortunately, made one of the worst mistakes I could make in my life. I delayed all the document uploading until the last minute without considering the delays that may occur during web document conversion. The deadline was passed by a minute or less when the proposal package was finally ready for submission, but it was unfortunately too late…

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Part 2: Dangerous words to avoid in grant applications

Probably among the most commonly used words in grant proposals is the verb/noun “(to) understand”. Applicants very frequently plan grant applications that have been designed to “understand” something, whether an explanation for a certain social phenomenon, a biochemical pathway, clarification of an as yet to be identified series of observations, or even a way to explain the underlying reasons for a given historical event. Thus, how common it is to read: “The objective in this proposal is to understand the underlying reasons for…”. Alternatively, there are those applicants who feel it important to be…

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Part 1: Dangerous words that should be avoided in grant proposals

Two words that should usually be avoided by applicants in preparing their grant applications are “IF” and “WHETHER”. These words represent distinct manifestations of the same concept, since “If” implies “It might or it might not”, and “Whether” always provides for the option “Whether or not”. The primary problem with their use is that they both provide opportunities for a negative outcome to occur. While it is certainly possible that either a positive or an alternative…

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