Coaching Groups for Grant Proposal Writing & Professional Development
The National Institutes of Health-funded National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) was created to address the unmet need for greater diversity in the biomedical and bio-behavioral research workforce.
One core activity within NRMN is focused on creating – and disseminating nationally – transformative, high impact, professional development programs that foster the persistence and advancement of research trainees and early-career investigators from diverse backgrounds who are pursuing biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social science research careers.
To begin, NRMN is offering a series of four intensive coaching programs to support investigators from diverse backgrounds who are at a later training stage, specifically postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. These programs are designed to enhance trainees’ career development, preparing them to meet each program’s ultimate goal: the submission of strong research and research career development proposals for funding in the biomedical or bio-behavioral sciences. Each program differs somewhat in its training approach, duration, and intended audience, but all recognize the following:
- Research proposals are a genre of writing whose mastery is essential for the success of independent researchers. Some research trainees and junior faculty have the good fortune of being mentored by established scientists who engage them in the iterative development of proposals and expose them to the criteria by which proposals are judged, with ample opportunities for practice and feedback; others do not have access to such mentors. In reality, there is huge variability in such mentorship. Thus, many scientists are forced to hone their proposal writing skills by trial and error during their first years on the faculty.
- Proposal writing is a complex skill but one that can be consciously taught and mastered. Researchers must not only identify research questions that peer reviewers and funders think are worth studying, but also craft an appropriate study design; obtain preliminary data to establish feasibility; and flawlessly present their ideas by using a writing style and document design that reviewers expect to see and that compels them to view the proposal favorably.
- Brief exposure to proposal writing (e.g. workshops) is insufficient for developing the skills needed for funding success. Although workshops and short trainings in proposal writing abound (and many present valuable information), our experience shows that a more sustained coaching process is needed for weeks to months as research ideas evolve and writing is refined.
- Supplemental professional development is beneficial for many investigators. During the proposal development process, many postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty desire opportunities to increase their skills in pre-requisite areas. These areas might include designing a research project, writing in the sciences, identifying suitable funding agencies, and planning a longer-term research agenda (beyond the immediate project) to advance their careers.
All NRMN programs are available to individuals regardless of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status.
To meet these needs and create more
training capacity on a national scale,
NRMN invites applications from two audiences:
Postdoctoral Fellows & Junior Faculty
Apply to become an NRMN trainee in one of four national programs that provide intensive coaching to early-stage investigators from diverse backgrounds who are seeking to develop a competitive grant proposal for a research project and/or research career development award in any biomedical or bio-behavioral discipline.
Experienced Faculty Investigators
Apply to become an NRMN “Coach-in-Training” for one of the network’s four intensive coaching programs for grant proposal writing and professional development. This opportunity is for more senior researchers who are committed to the career advancement of investigators from diverse backgrounds and desire to implement NRMN coaching models in the near future.
Please contact Kristin Eide, MPH at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about NRMN’s professional development programming and opportunities.