Within a few seconds of opening up your proposal to read, your reviewer forms a quick opinion – and the first thing they see is your specific aims page. Even if you present great science, it is not enough in a highly competitive environment. You’re unlikely to be the only one with great science who is being reviewed, and it can get lost in facts and details. Experienced, successful grant writers strive for developing both a great research plan, and making sure it shines through clearly, without obfuscation or confusion. In order for that to happen, it requires the ability to write a compelling “story” about that research plan.
Crafting a great story on the page to engage your reader with interest and desire to learn more about what you’re proposing, requires unique skills. Those include how to “frame” each fact, knowing which facts to include and which to leave out, and how to develop contrasts that keep readers engaged. Often research training programs provide some limited training on this, yet trying to develop these skills through a single course is like trying to teach someone to be a master pianist in a few classes. To that end, we’ve been developing ongoing post graduate trainings for the past decade, helping researchers strengthen and deepen their skills in powerful storytelling for grant proposals, manuscripts, and other communications. Our long-term objective is to substantially increase research career enjoyment and sustainability, by reducing the time wasted on rejected grant proposals.
However, a major impediment to that goal is people finding time to engage with training and learning opportunities on a consistent basis. To address that, we’ve developed a new training, “The Summer of Specific Aims,” which is designed to help people engage with consistent practice over the Summer of 2021, while aiming for a Fall grant submission to NIH, NSF, or other similar funders. The focus of the course is to provide accountability and feedback that keeps you on track developing these critical skills, while having enough time free for other summer pursuits. Leveraging our strengths that come from helping over 2,200 researchers write compelling proposals, we have the following specific aims for this program:
1. To provide you foundational training in writing a compelling and engaging story about your research for your readers. We will follow the Grant Dynamo 3 course, giving you a step-by-step framework of the “Grant Story Funnel,” using worksheets and exercises that will yield substantive progress in your skills and understanding when you engage with them.
2. To provide you with regular feedback on your progress, we will review your work and let you know where corrections or adjustments are needed. You’ll get access to a 1:1 consultation with our trained coaching team as a final checkpoint for feedback on your specific aims progress during the month of August. We will also have weekly group check-in and coaching calls. We’ll help you stay on track by showing examples of what works and what doesn’t work – drilling down into the mechanics to show you why. We’ll answer your questions to make sure you overcome any obstacles to your progress.
3. To provide you with a group of peers who are on the same journey – that you can get feedback from, share experiences with, and gain support on the journey of writing substantively better proposals – we will have a 24/7 online private member’s group for connection and discussion.
By combining these different methods, we provide you with a framework to guide you towards cultivating clarity and mastery in your own writing and research career, so that you can more repeatedly have success in your funding efforts. This reduces the “lottery” aspect of obtaining funding for your research, and can substantially improve career enjoyment and progress, without requiring a major time investment.
Registration for the Summer of Specific Aims is now closed!