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CRCHD Hosts Virtual Skills-Building Workshop

, by CRCHD Staff

Tips, Tools and One-on-One Guidance to Craft Competitive Applications

As part of its commitment to the development of a diverse biomedical workforce, on July 15 the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) held an interactive virtual Technical Assistance Workshop (TAW) for more than 50 postdoctoral fellows, early stage investigators and new investigators from the Center's Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) program.

The objective of the Technical Assistance Workshop (TAW) was to provide an interactive, skills-building, virtual workshop for the participants, all of who are preparing grant applications for Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) or other NCI/NIH K, R21, R01 or other R-type funding opportunities. CRCHD and other NCI Program Directors (PDs) reviewed each of the sections of a grant application and provided tips and suggestions as to how to write a competitive grant application.

Unique to the TAW were opportunities for participants to meet one on one with the appropriate PD—either the CURE PD who manages the relevant CURE funding opportunity, or another NCI PD who manages the NCI grants portfolio in their area of research.

Dr. Ukamaka Diké Smith

Dr. Ukamaka Diké Smith

In this Dialogue on Disparities blog post, participants share feedback about the PACHE TAW:

What were your impressions of the 2020 PACHE Interactive Virtual Technical Assistance Workshop?

This was an excellent workshop. It was awesome to hear feedback from the experts on how to gain funding and the opportunities that are available. This is a training session I would recommend to all ESIs.
    –Ukamaka Diké Smith, Pharm.D., MBA
     Florida A&M University (FAMU)

The workshop was comprehensive, well organized and useful. I think it was a tremendous experience and helped me improve my coming applications.
    –Josué Pérez-Santiago, PhD
     University of Puerto Rico

I found it to be a useful workshop in terms of providing tools and strategies on how to effectively respond to program announcements and navigate the grant application process, including getting feedback on grant proposals, talking to others who have been successfully funded, and what reviewers are looking for in a K proposal versus an R proposal.
    –Jen Sanchez-Flack, PhD, MPH
     University of Illinois at Chicago

What did you find most helpful about the Workshop?

As an ESI, understanding the different funding mechanisms, application process, and how to develop your biosketch and aims were very helpful. Speaking with the Program Director was most helpful to me as well.
    –Dr. Diké Smith

Dr. Josué Pérez Santiago

Dr. Josué Pérez Santiago

Discussing detail by detail each section of the grant proposal, i.e., what should be addressed, how long should it be and how it should be presented.
    –Dr. Pérez-Santiago

The one-on-one meeting with the Program Officer.
    –Dr. Sanchez-Flack

What was the most important takeaway you learned about the NIH grant application process? How did the Workshop prepare you to develop a stronger grant application?

The most important takeaway was to start early in writing your grant and seek mentors to assist and guide you. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the Program Directors. This Workshop has really encouraged me to seek funding for a future proposal. Initially, I had doubts in my abilities to compete, however, going through this process has built my confidence as I know now how to move forward.
    –Dr. Diké Smith

Always talk to your program officer before you start writing anything to ensure that the idea fits within the mission of the Institute and its priorities. I understand now the whole submission process, where to find NIH resources and also the expectations of each section of the grant.
    –Dr. Pérez-Santiago

Dr. Jen Sanchez-Flack

Dr. Jen Sanchez-Flack

The most important takeaway I learned about the NIH K grant application process is to place equal importance, emphasis and time on the career development plan and the research strategy section.
    –Dr. Sanchez-Flack

What did you learn from meeting one on one with an NIH/NCI Program Director?

This was an amazing session. I learned more about which funding mechanism best fits my research and how to go about this process. Dr. Wynne Norton was extremely encouraging, knowledgeable and helpful during our session.
–Dr. Diké Smith

The Program Directors are there to help you with the process. They can provide excellent feedback on your proposal and can help you tailor it to fit well with the Institute’s interests.
    –Dr. Pérez-Santiago

How to best write and communicate the career development plan.
    –Dr. Sanchez-Flack

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