Once you have your NIH score (or non-score), it’s only the beginning of the process that will determine whether, when, and how much of your grant will be funded!

The next steps that you take are very important, so let’s explore how to navigate them.

Specifically, there are four categories of scoring result that you might have. I’ll walk you through each one below. The rest of this post assumes a basic familiarity with the NIH scoring and reviewing system. If you’re ...(read more)



Once upon a time, the NIH had you lead the body of your grant proposal with a section titled “Background and Significance.” Then they messed everything up by taking out the “Background” part, quite confusing many a grant writer as to the meaning of a “significance” without a “background.”

Let’s get that sorted out here.

One perspective on this comes from my book Four Steps to Funding. The four steps are The Why, The Who, The What, and The ...(read more)



Recently the NIH completely redefined the format requirements for research grants. There were many changes, but one that seems to create a big mess of confusion is the redefinition of the sections of the proposal.

The old NIH proposal format had these sections:

Specific Aims

Background & Significance

Preliminary Studies & Progress Report

Research Design and Methodology

The new NIH format has these sections:

Specific Aims




In this blog series, I’m going to take you on a tour of the sections of the new NIH format, to explain ...(read more)