FAQ

How do the services at Innovative Research Grants, LLC differ from those of other Grant Writers?

The services provided by Innovative Research Grants, LLC go far beyond those of other grant writers - and our success rate has been outstanding.  Yes, we are grant writers, but we are also scientists (PhDs) and experts in strategic planning and strategic writing.  With these skills, we are uniquely able to assist you to fully develop your ideas and your competitive advantage.  

There are many elements of grants that combine to provide a compelling and "fundable" grant proposal.  Our experience has found that most, if not all, of our clients are approaching their grant proposals in exactly the wrong fashion.  Other grant writers typically only edit what you give them or assist marginally with a few elements of the proposal. Their services can incrementally help the proposal, but it will not likely have a major impact on the outcome of the grant.  At Innovative Research Grants, LLC, we will help you to identify your competitive advantage - which you must exploit to attain grant awards.  To get careers on track - with grant funding - we make our full resources available to clients.  For most of our clients, working with us is the first time they truly understand what is necessary for attaining a grant.  The process takes considerable amounts of time and effort on our part (and on our client's part) to accomplish - and the results show it.  It is not a turn-key process.  Each client presents different needs.  It is why we can only accept a limited number of clients.  

I’ve gotten grant advice from my department chairman, but it hasn’t helped me get grants.  He is an experienced grant writer and has gotten many grants.  

With an NIH budget of $27.1 billion in 2003, the success rate for research grants was ~30%.  In 2014, funding cuts have reduced grant success rates to 17% or less.  The prognosis for young investigators is even worse: only 3% of all awarded NIH grants go to recipients under the age of 37 (Nature Methods 2014. No money, no research. Vol. 11, No11, p1077).  The reality is this: it is more difficult for everyone to attain grants than it was 10 years ago, and especially difficult for young researchers.  There is some logic to this.  Part of framing of grants is focused on attaining credibility.  A well-established lab with a proven track record and a proven team of researchers supported by a grant will have higher credibility (and less risk) than a younger scientist.  The bar is set lower for that laboratory.  Having said this, it is clear that even established laboratories are losing grant awards in today's hyper-competitive environment.  The bottome line is that what used to work for grant writing still works for a few individuals - those that are well-established and highly prestigious.  However, for the vast majority of scientists, the "old ways" are totally ineffective.  You must become more strategic in today's grant environment.   

I do great science.  So why should I need grant assistance?  Grants are just a crap shoot anyway.  

Yes, you very likely are well-trained and do great science.  Yes, there is some element of luck to grants, but much, much less than you think: the system is quite good, although I once thought otherwise.  Getting grants is NOT a crap shoot and if you do great science and are innovative, you can and will get grants - if you know how.  So why should you seek grant assistance?  The main reason is that you are currently not getting many, if any, grants, your career is on hold, and you are no longer having fun with your career.  Instead, you spend excessive amounts of time seeking funds.  Our egos often get in the way of facing the obvious (mine certainly did for a long time).  What's obvious is that if you are NOT getting many grants and are spending excessive amounts of time preparing them and you are concerned about the consequences of NOT getting grants, then you need assistance.  Why would you think that doing the same thing over and over again will result in different outcomes?  With grants at historically low funding, don't let pride or egos take you down.  You are not alone and when you attain multiple grants you will soon realize your choice was one of the best you've ever made.

Why don’t you charge by the hour?

When we accept you as our client, we commit our time and resources to help you - and by so doing we have to decline services to others. With this role, it does not make sense to charge by the hour.  Our role is to assist you with producing a great grant for submission AND to assist you to change your approach to preparing for and writing grant proposals - so that you become a more effective and efficient grant writer.  What we provide has far reaching implications for not only attaining grants, but for building (and saving) scientific careers.  As a result, the return on investment for our clients is well worth our fees.  And to be upfront (as we always are), our services are not inexpensive.  We highly value our services, as do our clients.  Yet, we do offer many payment options to make our services work within the budgets of our clients.  

Can my department pay for the assistance?

Many departments will pay for grant assistance:  it is to their benefit to do so.  With overhead fees at 45% for most institutions, your institution has much to gain in terms of prestige and revenues from your success.  Having said this, it is surprising how many departments believe that "the science speaks for itself" in grant proposals.  Perhaps once upon a time (a long, long time ago) there was some merit to this statement. For very well-established laboratories, this may still work on occasions.  Yet even well-established laboratories are now feeling the grant crunch. In today's hyper-competitive grant environment, science does NOT speak for itself.  Just as making a better mouse trap does not lead to attaining a share of the mouse trap market, doing great science does not automatically lead to attaining grants (although it certainly helps).  It takes an understanding of your competitive advantage, strategic planning and writing of your proposals, and the knowledge and skills to do so. 

Can I pay contingent upon attaining a grant?

With the exception of SBIR grants, we usually do not accept payment contingent upon attaining a grant.  For academic (nonprofit) grants, there are several reasons.  Foremost, most if not all nonprofit grants (such as NIH grants) do not have provisions to pay for grant writing assistance that was done to attain the award.  Second, it is deemed unethical by various grant writers’ associations to charge contingent upon attaining a grant.  Third, although we will provide the knowledge and one-on-one assistance, you ultimately decide how to use this information and may not choose to follow it.  Fourth, we can only accommodate a limited number of clients due to the amount of time committed to each client.  Fifth, although the knowledge and skills you attain from us will enable you to get far more grants with fewer submissions, NO ONE ever gets every grant they submit.  Basically, you get what you pay for.  We do offer flexible payment plans - to make our services affordable to everyone.  

We will consider partial payment contingent upon attaining a grant for SBIR grants.  Unlike academic (nonprofit) grants, SBIR grants have provisions for making a small profit when awarded a grant.  That profit can be used for any purpose - related to or even unrelated to the objectives of the grant.  Hence, there are provisions that can be used to pay for our grant consulting services.  However, because there is more risk for us (see above paragraph for details), we do charge more if payment is contingent upon attaining a grant.  This is only fair.  We also do require some payment up front, as this provides some incentive for our clients to do their part in making the grant proposal successful.  Please contact us for details of our contingency plan.