Academic Grants and Career Development

PROBLEM: I see many grant proposals that are potentially fundable but fall short of being competitive.  So many are frustrated and at a loss for why they are not funded.  Even experienced and successful grant writers often tell me they dread grant writing, the excessive time it takes, or the low percentage of submissions that are awarded.

Odds are, you have taken workshops on grant writing, but writing grant proposals still takes excessive amounts of time and is pure torture.  Thing is, these workshops and even the vast majority of grant writers for hire do not provide a structure and process that enables you to 1)  systematically ensure that your proposal has all the elements to stand out from the crowd and 2) quickly write extraordinary proposals.  Most workshops also have minimal follow-up, which is critical to success.  And to be frank (and at the risk of sounding arrogant), most grant writers do not have the research background and knowledge base to thoroughly interrogate proposals – to ensure that proposals are competitive.

SOLUTION: Many of my clients now look forward to writing their next grant proposal.  Through a process that I call “layering”, I provide a step-by-step process for building your proposal and ensuring it has all the elements to gain enthusiasm and credibility for the project and team. 

Through the process, you will discover problems with your proposal and arrive at solutions.  You will no longer dread grant writing, you will write proposals in easily half the time, and you will attain awards essential to your career. 

There are multiple ways to organize and write a proposal and this is NOT a strict formula.  Rather, it is a process to ensure your story is clear and well supported to maximize the impact and credibility for your proposal.  I urge you to contact us to see how I can assist you.

From a client: I think all the reviewers liked how my training plan was built upon my background and research plan was a vehicle for training - all your ideas. I would have never figured out myself.”  

From a reviewer:  This is an outstanding application from a talented and accomplished early-career neuroscientist. The candidate, xxxxxxx, has already made significant contributions in several areas and is currently pursuing the timely and relevant topic of the role of xxxxxxxxxx. Based on her background, training plan, and creative research, she will be poised to be a real leader in this area. A masterfully put-together application, which hits all the major goals of an early career training award, is further testament to her future successes. There are many strengths and few (and relative) weaknesses.” “The research plan is excellent and tackles an emerging and critical piece of the xx puzzle.” 

CONSULTING SERVICES:  I have literally spent years dissecting grantsmanship to arrive at a systematic process for ensuring your grant proposal is competitive.  Specifically, I employed the same scientific rigor used for my research (see my profile page) to understand why some researchers struggle and are unsuccessful with grant proposals and why others are successful.  I incorporate all this knowledge and experience into my consultations.  The process I developed is unique, refreshing, and effective. You can and will be successful if you commit to embracing grantsmanship with my guidance. 

  • 1-Hour Grant Consultation: Here, I ask that you provide me with a copy of a proposal you are preparing to submit – or at least a summary page.  I will review it and provide feedback in a one-hour consultation.  I mostly focus on significance, innovation, and your team.  I will ask tough questions - to probe for opportunities to further the strengths of your proposal and to identify and solve potential weaknesses. 

  • Full Grant Development Assistance:  Here, we will work on your grant proposal together over the course of several months.  I have been told the experience is an eye-opener.  We will explore alternative strategies / frames in some detail, and we will have time to utilize “layering” to its fullest extent – to be sure no stone is left unturned.  You will be guided, step-by-step, through a logical progression that makes grant writing more systematic, while retaining and emphasizing creativity.  This is a great first step in becoming proficient in grantsmanship.  With this plan, you have assistance for the initial submission AND a resubmission, should that be required.

  • 1-Year Grant Master’s Program:  This is an elite program that I started in response to client requests.  It is designed for those that want to fully master grantsmanship with the goal of becoming more efficient and effective.  Here, I provide my services over the course of the year.  It allows us to work together on multiple proposals or to simply explore ideas you have for future grants.  By working with me over the course of a year, you will find that you become more prepared for writing proposals and more proficient at grantsmanship.  You will produce higher quality proposals in far less time.  I have clients that sign up for this every year.  They have learned to be quite proficient themselves, but consider me an essential part of their team, as I bring an outside perspective that has proven to be critical for funding. 

  • 1-Year Career Master’s Program:  This is a new program and I will assist a limited number of clients.  I almost hesitated to promote it here, as it is HIGHLY elite.  I inadvertently started this program, as some of my clients absolutely needed it.  Attaining grant awards is not simply a matter of writing a fabulous proposal (although that certainly is a requirement).  Here, we will explore your career.  Specifically, we will explore what you wish to achieve in your career, and we will establish a plan for how you will get there.  We will consider your laboratory as a business, which by all practical considerations it is.  Using practices used in the business world, we will develop YOU as a product.  Specifically, we will develop you into a specialty, not a commodity, giving you far more control of your destiny.  Of course, grantsmanship is a part of this program, which is why you automatically attain all the services of the 1-year Grant Master’s Program.  If you are a new investigator and want to ensure your career success, this program is for you.  If you are an established researcher that wants to step up to the plate to advance your career, this is the program for you.  Or if you are an established researcher struggling in your career, this program is for you. Businesses have advisory boards for just this purpose.  They provide their expertise and help in so many ways to assist in success of the company.  Why?  Because it works.  Note:  I do not plan to take many clients into this program (only 3 to date as a test of the program).  Having said this, each participant has become highly successful.  It may take time.  For two clients, it took about 2 years.  One of these clients now has over $12M in funding.  The other attained his first award in years at over $1.5M.  A third client now has grant funds in hand and a new position at a new University. They are all going to be highly successful.  This could be you!

COST - FOR INDIVIDUAL CLIENTS: I never want cost of my services to be a barrier for my clients.  Contact us.  We will find a way to make it happen for you.  I can work with you individually, or through your institution.  I admit that I am not inexpensive.  You can find less expensive consultants.  Question is, can you find one worth the time and expense? But then, what is a funded grant proposal worth? 

I have hired consultants in the past.  I was always disappointed when I paid full price and the consultation did not attain the desired goal.  I always felt I would be happier if I could pay based on attaining the desired goal: indeed, I would even be happy to pay a little more to compensate for the added risk the consultant was taking.  With this in mind, I now offer contingency payment options for the full grant development and the Grant Master's program: there is an upfront fee with an additional payment upon attaining an award.  Of course, the option to pay upfront is still available.  

COST - FOR DEPARTMENTS OR INSTITUTIONS:  Please contact us.  I realize you have budget constraints, and I will work with you to make this happen.  I cannot think of a better return on investment for your researchers and for your department/institution.