Q. How can SCSB Research Development actually help me get funded?
A. We can read your proposal, or part of your proposal, and tell you what reviewers are likely to think, where the weaknesses are and how to address them. We won't try to change your science, but we can help you present it in the strongest, most effective way possible. For example:
- Are your aims effective or ineffective (e.g, dependent)?
- Do you have enough publications and/or preliminary data?
- Do you have the necessary collaborations?
- Is the proposal organized/presented in the most effective way?
We also edit for grammar, English and general writing, and we have the scientific expertise needed to revise the science writing to be significantly clearer and more concise. Our team members are excellent scientific writers with significant grantsmanship expertise and can make a profound difference in the effectiveness of your proposal.
We also know tricks and tips for making your proposal easier on a reviewer's eyes, which always helps when someone has to read dozens of proposals in a day.
Q. What if I miss the suggested timeline? Will you still work with me if I don't provide anything until say, 1 or 2 weeks before the deadline?
A. Yes, we can still work with you. We are more than happy to help no matter when you get us your drafts. However, the time we will have available to help you will be dictated by how many grants are already ahead of you on our board. We will do as much as we can, but it is possible if you wait until 2 weeks before the deadline that we will only have time to do basic editing for grammar and formatting. If you wait until 1 week before the deadline, then we will do what we can, but we only will be able to guarantee editing to ensure compliance with the solicitation, rather than grantsmanship.
Q. Does my draft need to be "near final" when I give it to you?
A. NO! In fact, we actually like rough drafts.
Q. What if I don't like the changes you made, or you simply don't understand my science?
A. We do everything with track changes so you can see what we've done and accept/reject the changes as you like. We save all our drafts by date/team member, so your original will never disappear. We work in close contact with you to make your proposal more effective and highly competitive. If we are struggling to understand the science, then a reviewer likely will too. We will meet with you so that you can help us understand your science better and to figure out how best to edit the proposal for improved clarity.
Q. Is my proposed research too ambitious? Not ambitious enough?
A. The Chalk Talks and Research Concepts meetings are the best place for you to get this kind of feedback. As a general rule of thumb, one Specific Aim for an R01 should be close to what one graduate student can complete in 4 years (or a post-doc in 2).
Q. Can you help with the budget or budget justification: PI effort? Amount allocated for travel, supplies, etc?
A. Yes!! This is one of the areas in which our significant experience can really benefit you. We can help work with you and your Pre-Award staff to develop a budget and justification that will not only help your proposal get funded but also significantly reduce the risk of getting your budget slashed once it is funded.
Q. Can you help me find funding opportunities suited to my research?
A. Absolutely! We have experience with many funding agencies besides NIH and can help you find new funding opportunities.