Jameson-Fellowship Writing/Reviewers Perspective

Writing a Fellowship Part 1
My Fellowship History
In my third year as a
post-doc fellow I
received a Leukemia
and Lymphoma
fellowship for senior
fellows meant to
transition to faculty
For two years I
reviewed for the
Immunology (NRSA)
fellowships F32, F31
Why write a fellowship?
To practice and learn
to write a grant
For better job security
To climb the academic ladder
For a higher salary
($40,548 NRSA for 1st yr)
Start Early
Begin a folder of ideas
 Take notes at seminars
 Take time to read journal articles
Overview of the common sections
Research Strategy
 Sponsor and Institution
 Mentoring Plan
 Career Goals
 Letters of reference
According to the NIH
Promote Your Research Plan
 Your Research Plan may be the most important part of
your fellowship application. Your plan must communicate:
Clarity, completeness, and coherence.
Originality, significance, and practicality of goals.
A clear description of the research skills and knowledge
you want to acquire, and your plan's potential for meeting
these objectives.
Potential of training to serve as a foundation for your
health sciences career (for predoctoral investigators) or to
advance your career as an independent researcher (for
postdoctoral investigators).
Plans to include a diverse human subjects population
including women and minorities.
Plans to include animals as test subjects, if applicable.
Plans to obtain training in ethical research conduct.
Research Strategy- Specific Aims
Start with generating your
specific aims.
If this section works well, it will
set up your application and let
the proposal fall into place.
It must be logical and the aims
must grow out of your central
Avoid “look and see” aims
Eliminate extraneous detail
(WHAT is being done) and
supplement with why.
Do not over propose, be
realistic on your timeline
Try not to let each aim be
absolutely dependent on the
previous one
Example to start with:
Aim #1 (use bold or italics)
 Working hypothesis
Aim #2 (use bold or italics)
 Working hypothesis
Possible to keep the aim general and the working
hypothesis more specific.
The Grant Application Writer’s workbook- NIH
Research Strategy- Background
Introductory paragraph/page needs to
emphasize the relevance of the proposal to the
interest of the institute (i.e. leukemia and
lymphoma). What is the significance?
Open with a sentence that makes clear how
important this topic and your research on it
would be.
Then construct the “knowns” in the area
followed by the “gaps” that need to be filled. Be
direct and logical. Use transitions.
If possible figure out who is reviewing the
applications in order to determine the
knowledge base of your reviewers.
Research StrategyPreliminary data
Important to show that you are already
invested in this research and that you are
able to perform some of the techniques you
 If proposing a technique that is not done in
the lab regularly then get a collaborator to
write a letter.
 You can put the preliminary data in its own
section or next to the section where you
describe it in the research strategy section.
Research StrategyResearch Plan
Start with an outline and flow chart of the
experiments that will be performed test your
specific aim.
For each Aim address:
What will be done?
What are the means used to accomplish the aim?
What may go wrong?
Alternative strategies to be used.
Expected results (and why they are important)
End each Aims section on a positive note (i.e.
attaining the goal in this aim will allow…)
Example outline for research
Specific Aim #1: title
 Introduction
 Experimental design
○ Study #1 (heading)
○ Study #2 (heading)
 Expected outcomes
 Anticipated problems/Alternative strategies
 The significance of completion of this aim
Specific Aim #2: title
 Etc.
The Grant Application Writer’s workbook- NIH
Research Plan-Timetable
future directions
After the aims clearly state your timetable to
show you can perform the studies in the time
allocated. Be clear if you are doing certain
experiments simultaneously or using mice for
multiple aspects of the proposal. (Use chart or
graph if complicated).
Sum up where the project would be if
completed as described. What would be the
next steps in the study?
If your sponsor is a junior faculty member, get
a co-mentor that can help out.
Highlight the track record of your mentor/comentor in training and career development
Be clear about what you will be learning from
the mentor(s)
Make sure the sponsor lays out a well detailed
training plan! You can help them generate one
specifically for YOU.
Mentoring Plan Specifics:
Site specific classes (with dates and
title). Use SOF classes if at TSRI
(like this one!)
Identify specific meetings that you
will be sent to and present at.
Describe all of the lab meetings and
journal clubs you will be participating
Set primary goals (i.e. teach
knowledge/techniques, strengthen
experimental analysis, presenting
skills, writing skills, teaching and
managing skills, career
Career Goals
Be clear about your future plans and use
the space to convince the reviewer that
you will be a great new investigator in
their field. They are looking for bright
young scientists that want to work on
their interests.
Letters of reference
Very important
Use PIs that know you very well
and understand your potential.
Better to have a very descriptive
and telling personal letter from a
PI that knows you well, than a
vague one from a famous
Get to know several PIs at the
institute. Take your data to show
them, get their opinion of your
career plan. Collaborate to show
your skills in the lab.
Breathe a sigh of relief…
and then get to work to get
preliminary data for trying again
next year!!

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