How to get an F32 NIH Grant by Brian Harfe

Report
How to get a F32 NIH grant
Brian Harfe, Ph.D.
9/18/2013
Outline
(the dreaded “learning objectives”)
1. Learn who I am
2. Understand what a F32 grant is
3. Figure out how to get one
4. See the funding rates
Who I am
Brian Harfe, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, College of Medicine (10 years)
Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (4 months)
Director of the Program in Developmental Genetics (5 years)
Email: [email protected]
Web (Liberal Arts): http://www.clas.ufl.edu/dean/assocdeans/harfe.html
Web (Medicine): http://mgm.ufl.edu/faculty/faculty-home-pages/harfebrian/
Brief history in time:
BSc Glasgow University, Scotland
Ph.D. The Johns Hopkins University (Carnegie Inst. – C. elegans)
Postdoc #1 Emory University (2.5 years - yeast)
Postdoc #2 Harvard Medical School (3 years, F32 NRSA grant –
mice and chicks)
Why am I here?
I review F32 NIH grants for NIH (Cell Biology and
Development Fellowship study section)
3/2012, 6/2012, 11/2012, 3/2013, 7/2013 (11/2013)
-
I have reviewed ~80 applications in the last year and a half
Also looked over a couple of colleagues applications at UF
Takes me ~2-3 hours/application to review
Yes, you get paid (approximately $400, which equals around
$13.00/hour)
What they are and why they are good
1. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards
(NRSA/F32) for Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships provides
up to three years of support for promising postdoctorals
who have the potential to become productive, independent
investigators within the broad scope of biomedical,
behavioral, or clinical research.
2. Postdoctoral fellowship awards provide a stipend (based on
the level of experience), tuition and fees if specific courses
are required, and an institutional allowance.
3. Shows you can get a grant (very important for next job).
Allows you to work in a lab.
Rules
1. Applicant must identify a sponsoring institution and an
individual who will serve as a sponsor (mentor or
supervisor) and who will supervise the training and
research experience
2. Individual must have received the Ph.D. (or equivalent
research degree), or a professional degree such as the
M.D., D.V.M., etc
3. Must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United
States, or must have been lawfully admitted to the
United States for Permanent Residence.
How to get one funded (i.e. how are they scored)
1. All reviewers use the same NIH scoring sheet
2. NOT ALL CRITERIA ARE WIGHTED EQUALLY!
3. 1-9 scale is used with 1 being the best (only whole numbers
can be given)
4. Each area of application is scored separately.
5. One “Overall Score” provided for each application. Score DOES
NOT represent an average of all the criteria scores.
The Scoring Sheet
Application #:
Applicant:
OVERALL IMPACT
Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood
that the fellowship will enhance the candidate’s potential for, and commitment to, a
productive independent scientific research career in a health-related field, in consideration
of the following scored and additional review criteria. An application does not need to be
strong in all categories to be judged likely to have a major impact.
Overall Impact/Merit Write a paragraph summarizing the factors that informed your
Overall Impact score.
- PUBLICATIONS!
- Where applicant has trained previously. Grades, letters of support.
Real life examples:
BAD:
- Letters are very brief. Although they are strong it seems like the people writing the letters
do not know the applicant very well (4).
- Single first author publication (in G3) and one middle author paper (in Protein Science).
Addition of at least one more publication would greatly strengthen the application (5).
- One of the letters addresses the issue of a single publication but also states that another
excellent paper is forthcoming. Publication of this paper would strengthen the proposal (6)
GOOD:
- Seven papers published (another three are in various stages of revision). These include
three first author papers (2).
- Strong letters of support (2).
- Outstanding grades from XXXX (undergrad) and XXXX(Grad school) (2).
- Two first author publications (Biochemistry and Nature Chemical Biology) along with five
middle-author papers and two reviews. Excellent publication record (1).
- The Applicant has a nice blend of academic and industry experience (1).
- Funding MUST be in place to run lab during proposed project.
- Proven track record of mentoring
Real life examples:
BAD:
- Has NSF grant through 2015 for 2 million and is PI on the proposal but there are four co-PIs.
Unclear how much money is available to support the applicant (5).
GOOD:
- If funding falls through, the Department Chair states that the department will provide funds
to complete “his” research (however, the applicant is female) (3).
- Outstanding mentoring plan (2).
- Sponsor has an outstanding track record of mentoring students. Has won the XXX
Postdoctoral Mentoring Award as well the “Dean’s Award in Mentoring of Graduate
Students” (1)
- HHMI Investigator with extensive funding through HHMI and a new R01 (1).
- not as important as you would think. Training Potential in Applicant sections can
overcome weak Research Plan.
- Something that can be done in three years. Something that is different than what
applicant has done before. Will advance the field (i.e. exciting). NO Preliminary data
needed.
Real life examples:
BAD:
- The proposal appears to be an analysis of this channel family in the presence/absence of
different inhibitors and/or when the linker region is removed. It is not innovative (6).
- The order of the applicant is weird. It is a bit confusing to have the Preliminary Studies
come last (4).
- A number of controls have been left out including RNAi controls (4).
GOOD:
- The proposal is outstanding. It contains a new and exciting Aim 2, which complements
Aim 1. The overall project is very focused on the role of Wnts in producing/inhibiting iPS
(2).
- The proposal is well written and flows very nicely from Aim 1 to Aim 2 (2).
- Experiments appear to have a good chance of working but at the same time are
innovative (3).
- Excellent description of alternative plans is included.
- Will you learn something NEW that will help you get a job?
Real life examples:
BAD:
- The application will have worked on the organism as an undergraduate, Ph.D. (same lab as undergrad
work) and postdoc (7).
- After the three year funding period the applicant would have spent 9-plus years working on the same
gene in the same organism. She will have obtained a very limited set of skills and knowledge base (8).
- Training potential is extremely limited since the goal is to learn a single technique during the three
year funding period (8).
- Additional details on exactly what courses/workshops the applicant will be taking would strengthen
the application (4).
GOOD:
- Applicant’s background is in protein folding and yeast transcription. The Applicant states that she
would like to run a lab investigating metazoan signaling networks. The environment she has chosen is
an excellent place to achieve this goal (2)
- A detailed plan is in place to ensure that the Applicant meets her goals and is trained to become an
independent investigator and thinker (2).
- Weakness that the Applicant currently has will be addressed. These include designed long-term
experimental goals and writing proposals (1).
- Applicant will learn a number of new techniques including live cell imaging that will greatly broaden
her training (1)
- Least important
- Every place is great
Real life examples:
BAD:
GOOD:
- The research environment at XXX University is outstanding.
- The facilities for the proposed project are outstanding.
How does this all work?
1. Each Application reviewed by three people (Assigned as Reviewer 1, 2 or 3)
2. Submit your review with all scores a few weeks before meeting
3. “Overall” score is averaged (three numbers)
4. Applications are then ranked
5. Top ~50% are “discussed” at study section (generates a “Summary of Discussion”
paragraph).
6. Primary Reviewer gives summary of application. Comments are then added by
Reviewers 2 and 3 and then open to panned discussion.
7. EVERYONE then votes an “Overall” score.
8. Score from all people on study section (not just people who reviewed application) are
averaged to arrive at final score used to rank the application (usually ~15 people for F
grant reviews).
Funding rates differ depending on the NIH Institution
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
2012
F32
NCCAM
9
4
44.4%
$249,747
F32
NCI
232
42
18.1%
$2,087,900
F32
NEI
73
24
32.9%
$1,252,192
F32
NHGRI
7
3
42.9%
$145,326
F32
NHLBI
198
42
21.2%
$2,200,948
F32
NIA
69
14
20.3%
$723,041
F32
NIAAA
29
15
51.7%
$760,198
F32
NIAID
240
47
19.6%
$2,432,503
F32
NIAMS
86
19
22.1%
$1,001,308
F32
NIBIB
34
10
29.4%
$459,001
F32
NICHD
119
25
21.0%
$1,287,638
F32
NIDA
59
16
27.1%
$806,036
F32
NIDCD
52
13
25.0%
$673,683
F32
NIDCR
20
7
35.0%
$397,702
F32
NIDDK
165
60
36.4%
$3,190,158
F32
NIEHS
34
9
26.5%
$496,146
F32
NIGMS
504
153
30.4%
$7,642,911
F32
NIMH
125
27
21.6%
$1,339,307
F32
NINDS
219
58
26.5%
$2,980,964
F32
NINR
10
2
20.0%
$102,928
F32
Total
2,284
590
25.8%
$30,229,637
25.8% funding rate across NIH
F32 Success Rate by Degree
2012
MD
112
20
17.9%
2012
PhD
1,489
421
28.3%
2012
MD-PhD
23
9
39.1%
2012
Other
660
140
21.2%
2012
TOTAL
2,284
590
25.8%
*can resubmit application one time

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