Writing the NIH Research (R01) grant: Strategies for Success


With highly competitive NIH budgets and ever-increasing restrictions on federal spending, getting noticed and winning an NIH R grant is far more difficult and highly competitive than it has ever been. To be competitive today, new and inexperienced grant writers must learn the essentials of strong grantsmanship that is rarely taught today in academia. 




In 2018, the overall success rate for NIH R01 grants was just 20%, with some Institutes approving only 10% of submitted applications. This means that NIH-wide, nearly 8 out of 10 R01 application submissions are rejected. If you want to be one of the PIs that receives research grant funding, you must be able to write your grant so that it prevails over the five review criteria which generates your overall impact score. 

Many investigators, especially new investigators, don’t know how to write a winning grant or understand what pitfalls to avoid. Writing a winning grant proposal that gets noticed by reviewers requires that investigators produce a highly polished, cohesive grant that really knocks it out of the park for its significance, innovation, and approach while showing that it will have a major impact on their field. In this webinar, Dr. Dant will provide you with details of what reviewers want and don’t want to see in your R01 grant proposal. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to write your next R01 grant in a way that will get reviewer’s attention and influence them to approve and fund your research proposal.

We present a systematic approach to writing a winning grant by showing some common mistakes investigators often make in writing their grant that causes it to immediately fail. We will discuss the optimum grant organization, aesthetics, and aspects of writing that are also vital to a competitive presentation. We present advice on grant writing that is taken from the NIH as well as from faculty who have written successful grants and served as peer reviewers.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the fundamentals of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research (R) grants that fund most of the biomedical research in the United States.
  • Learn a strategy for writing a successfully funded NIH R01 grant proposal proven by leading PIs and NIH peer reviewers.

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Christopher C. Dant, PhD

Consultant, Medcom Consulting

Dr. Christopher Dant is a PhD-trained investigator and consultant in the biomedical field. Early in his career, he was an investigator at high-performance laboratories at Indiana University, University of Michigan, and Stanford Medical School. Early in his postgraduate career, he apprenticed with a Senior Editor at JAMA and became as a Principal Scientist at NASA's Life Sciences Division and Department of Energy, where he worked with investigators to obtain federal grants and to write successful manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals. Until this past year, Dr. Dant served on the faculty at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine and Norris Cotton Cancer Center as a lecturer and investigator for PIs, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Students to successfully expand NIH grant portfolios. Before coming to Dartmouth, Dant was the Director of Medical Publications at Genentech and earlier served as a faculty instructor at the Stanford Medical School and as a grant editor/writer at a large Stanford Medical laboratory. He lectures and consults widely in academia and Industry on manuscript writing, NIH and NSF career and research grants, and basic scientific writing skills for scientists. His business, MEDCOM Consulting, serves academic clients to review and write NIH Grants, as well as peer-reviewed manuscripts (medcomconsul@gmail.com).

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