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Office of Research Development

Proposal Development Workshops

The Office of Research Development in conjunction with the College of Graduate Studies and the College of Medicine Center for ARROWS (Advancement, Recruitment & Retention of Women in Science) program invite you to attend three Grantsmanship Workshops led by Dr. Robert Porter.

  • Writing for Successful Grants on March 28, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – Noon
  • Building the NIH Proposal on March 28, 2017 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Career Development Grants for Pre-and-Post Docs on March 29, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – Noon

These workshops are scheduled for March 28-29, 2017 in the Bioengineering Auditorium Room 110.  To register, please complete the REDcap form.



Robert Porter, Ph.D., has presented grant writing workshops at leading universities and medical schools internationally. Formerly Director of Research Development at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Porter has received the Distinguished Faculty Award by the Society of Research Administrators International.  With thirty years' experience as a tenured professor, private consultant and research administrator, his proposals have won more than $8 million in awards from government agencies and private foundations. A national leader in the growing field of research development, he has presented papers and workshops on grant writing at national conferences and has published prize-winning articles in the Journal of Research Administration and Research Management Review.



For those who are new to the grant game, this introductory workshop covers basic principles of good grant writing, starting with the phrasing of a compelling research theme to the actual construction of the proposal itself. Major differences between traditional "academic prose" and persuasive grant writing are highlighted. Common pitfalls that can lead to early rejection of good ideas are reviewed, matched with practical strategies for better writing. Special attention will be paid to the perspectives of grant reviewers and how to write in ways that will meet their expectations. 
  • Killer mistakes in grant writing and how to avoid them
  • Two critical steps that will double your chances for success
  • How to win over the grant reviewer
  • Simple keys to a more powerful writing style
  • Visualization: Using illustrations to "sell" your project
The complex requirements of an NIH grant proposal place extreme demands on the grant writer. From the tight logic of the Hypothesis/Specific Aims section to the minute details of the Research Design, the exacting format requires precise adherence to guidelines. This workshop will focus on key principles for effective writing in each major component of the proposal. Samples from successful proposals will be cited, with special attention to a model R01 proposal, annotated by NIH staff.
  • Overview of NIH Mission, Structure and Budget
  • Characteristics of Successful Proposals                                 
  • The Abstract: Last written, First Read               
  • Constructing the Hypothesis/Specific Aims page                           
  • Tips for Writing the Research Strategy Section
  • New “Rigor and Reproducibility” Policy                      
  • The Revised NIH Peer Review Process
This session will focus on NSF and NIH grants that support doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows as they transition through critical career stages, from early graduate study to the doctoral dissertation, the initial postdoctoral fellowship, and on to becoming an independent investigator. We will examine the purpose and structure of NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship programs and its Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants. NIH funding mechanisms such as F awards, K awards, and the new Pathway to Independence program will be described. Requirements unique to career development proposals will be specified, and successful proposals will be used to illustrate principles of effective writing. Topics to be discussed include:                       
  • Choosing the appropriate award track for your career stage
  • Anatomy of a typical career award proposal
  • Understanding the grant review process
  • Contacting grant program officers

For more information and to suggest a future workshop topic, please contact Wanda Hutto at


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