Meg Bouvier Medical Writing is now Bouvier Grant Group!

Master the R Series


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Read What Grantees Are Saying

“I think you & your training are wonderful and I look forward to working with you one day soon.”
– Karen Jiggins Colorafi, College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University“Thank you for the fantastic webinar series! I will definitely recommend it to other researchers.”
– Kimberly A. Miller MPH, Kaiser Permanente“Thanks for a great webinar series. I revised the specific aims for my upcoming submission based on some of the great pointers I picked up in the aims webinar. I have already tweeted about the webinars and will also pass it along via word of mouth.”
– David E. Conroy, Ph.D., Professor, Preventive Medicine, Deputy Director, Division of Behavioral Medicine & Center for Behavior and Health, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

I thoroughly enjoyed your webinar [PREPARATION: Key Steps to take Before You Write a Successful NIH Submission]. It was one of the most substantive and thoughtfully organized webinars I have ever experienced. I will certainly recommend your offerings to colleagues.”
– Mary Elizabeth Strunk, Assistant Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, Amherst College

Course Details

Designed for those preparing to write an R-series submission for an upcoming grant deadline, and the people who advise them.
Four webinars — available on demand
CME Learning Objectives:

At the end of 2 hours 30 minutes of coursework, you will:

  1. Identify and employ crucial steps to take to prepare to write an NIH grant application
  2. Acquire key information about effective NIH writing strategies
  3. Apply NIH effective strategies to writing and revising a draft submission
  4. Utilize learned skills to critique peer drafts to hone their own skills
  5. Develop better grantwriting skills that will carry forward on all submissions, whether to NIH or other funding agencies
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Massachusetts Medical Society and Meg Bouvier Medical Writing, LLC. The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this internet enduring material for a maximum of 2.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


1. Preparation
You have a cool idea for a research project, now what? Great science is necessary, but not sufficient, to funding success. Here, I discuss preparatory strategies that distinguish my grantees who are consistently more successful at NIH. Actionable tips include how to search the Reporter website for similar projects and possible sponsoring IC, PO, and study section; ways to identify the optimal FOA for this stage of your career and project; templates for reaching out to the PO(s) to discuss your project; then utilizing this information to make the best possible selection for study design, sponsoring IC, FOA, and study section. Emphasis is placed on the importance of building a long-term relationship with the program officer. A checklist helps you track your progress through these important steps.

2. Specific Aims
The one-page Aims document is arguably the most important narrative section of an NIH A0. Learn to grab the reviewers attention right from the start. Packed with templates and samples, course participants will be walked through the writing of an effective narrative overview, a well-constructed “we propose” paragraph, effective aims, and punchy impact statements. The training manual contains instructions, tips, numerous samples from recent successful applications, and a writing exercise that consists of a funded Aims page into which I have inserted mistakes I typically see. A checklist helps you strengthen your draft.

3. Significance and Innovation
Grantees often struggle to write the Significance and Innovation sections and to distinguish between the two. I walk grantees through the writing of a strong Significance section, which includes disease burden, the important Rigor of Prior Research subheader, and how your project will address the strengths and weaknesses of the prior research and reduce disease burden. I will demonstrate how the Innovation section must drive home the competitive advantage over previous and current approaches. Because reviewers tend to skim text at the meeting, I provide examples from numerous recently funded grant applications of newspaper-style headers that facilitate grasping key concepts. The training manual offers loads of actionable tips, templates, recently funded samples, and exercises to help you edit and write more competitively. An at-a-glance table and checklist assist in developing a strong draft.

4. Approach
The approach section is perhaps the most intuitive yet daunting of the subheaders to tackle. Statistically, it receives the worst subscore and correlates most closely with the overall score. I will offer strategies for developing an effective outline and formatting techniques. One by one, we will review templates and samples for each of the sections typically included in the all-important approach section. We will discuss what kind of project you are doing, which determines what content goes in the approach versus the Human Subjects Form. Emphasis will be placed on concrete ways to write effective Scientific Rigor and Consideration of Relevant Biological Variables sections, including many examples from recently funded grant applications. An actionable checklist will help you write a sophisticated draft.

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