Sunday, July 8, 2007

NIH Summer Institute on CBPR

It's Sunday and 27 researchers have arrived from around the country to get the latest training on how to create a successful National Institutes of Health Proposal on Community Based Participatory Research. Community Based Participatory Research, or CBPR as it's fondly known, is a pretty cool concept -- it's a process where fancy pantsy greek-talking researchers partner with the people they are interested in studying to design, implement and then promote the study. Sounds pretty obvious right, but face it, this is not the way research is often done. But now, luckily, it's getting pretty well accepted as a smart method for research.

Much of this blog will be pretty involved, because they are trying to teach us researchers how to ace CBPR --and-- the NIH funding stream. Now I've done a lot of grantwriting but NIH research proposal writing is a bit different than the average bear, it's long, commonly has you toss in over 100 citations, can have you resubmitting supercomplex revised versions of the grant over years, and after all that, they only fund 20% of the proposals submitted. But it's also the path to get bigger research dollars, and if you can jump through all these hoops and get funded, you're valuable to any university (because they make lots of money from your grant), and you're one step closer to getting NIH's famed R01 grant -- which the main way they fund researchers careers, once you have an R01, NIH has invested in you and they are hoping you keep submitting good R01s for .... uh, forever. So -- I'll try to label which sections are about acing NIH so you can read past it.

With that said, they spent about 5 minutes on introductions then started shooting info at us... so I gotta stop yaking and start taking it down! So, let me take you the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago, to a small nondescript room on the 2nd floor, where we've launched into the first session.

First Presentation - Outlining and Writing an NIH proposal

Dr. Bill Elwood – Scientific Review Administrator NIH Center for Scientific Review & Jerry Flanzer – Senior Advisory NIH Office of Behavior and Social Science Research (OBSSR) & Peggy Murray, NIAA

Wow, they flew thru these presentations so some info is partial. I've got handouts that supplement these notes.

  • Watch for a couple new NIH CBPR announcements coming out before end of year. Special reports
What do NIH Insitutes really want to see proposals on?
  • PAs and RFAs (Now called FOAs). RFAs are really interesting because they have money set aside, and often special review sections.
Pitch your idea to the Institute Program manager first through a concept paper
  • Usually 1 page
  • follow standard format: aims, significance, hypothesis, methods
  • Get feedback from them, also get feedback on your proposal draft
  • These program officers are really there to help you
What are some common boffos in NIH grantwriting?
  • Most common reason for nonreview = overly ambitious design
  • messing up your citations
  • not having a data safety plan (not the same as IRB!)
  • not understanding that all interventions with people are clinical trials
  • presenting why the problem is important, not why our study is important.
  • presenting miscroscopic graphics to save space
  • omitting the conceptual or theory model
A good application (their word for proposal) has...
  • why the study is important
  • presents and exciting story
  • harmonizes money with resources with methods with researcher capabilities (with theory, with existing literature, with instruments, with statistical analysis plan)
Don't forget some of your power!
  • You can request a specific study review section (<50%>
  • Request assignment to a specific institute
  • Request types of reviewer expertise
  • Name reviewers with conflict of interest. (you cannot request a reviewer, if you do, they will put them on the conflict list).
Big mechanism types we're talking about this week
R03 - smallest pilot grant, 2 yrs, <$100k
R21 - small exploratory or developmental grant, a bit more $
R01 - the big kahuna, no $ limit.

OK, there's more from these, but we're breaking for dinner, so I'm gonna post and eat!

No comments: