NIH grants


One of the great things about working with some top scientists to hone their grant-getting skills is that I get to hear really good questions that they struggle with.

One question from a client was this:

“I am a bit confused about what goes in the Significance and the Innovation sections of my proposal, and how those are different from the Approach.”

In my grant writing classes like the Grant Dynamo, I teach the concept posing “problem-solution” pairs. These pairs always come together, ...(read more)



There is a huge misconception that most grant writers have.  You may think you’re talking to another rational adult in your grant, but you’re not. You’re actually talking to the “lizard brain.”  Misunderstanding this leads to rejections, miscommunications, and frustrations.   Check out the video to see why that is and what to do.

If you want more help understanding the layers of the brain, and how to communicate to each one in your grant, register for the Grant Dynamo 2.0 course, ...(read more)



Grants are now officially “hyper-competitive(TM).”

I’ve seen more than one great grant not quite make the cut, because there were even better grants in the pool for that round.

Dealing with this requires a shift in thinking. In the past I’ve focused exclusively on “quality” of proposal, but the reality is changing. You now need quality and quantity.

Don’t mistake me. Quantity and quality in grants are often opposed. If you go after too much quantity, your quality will suffer, ...(read more)



For years I’ve been teaching that grants aren’t a lottery. I’ve been teaching that if you write a sufficiently good grant, you can skew the odds enough in your favor to have a good chance of success. I’ve taught that because I’ve seen some people use the “grants as a lottery” attitude as a motivator to write a whole bunch of not-well-planned grants, submitting them almost willy nilly to “improve the odds.” This clogs the system, and rarely ...(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)