Grant Writing Programs

The Path to Independence Program and K Club have merged and are now the Early Career Grant Writing Programs.  


The Office for Research Mentoring will begin accepting applications for the Fall 2019 Grant Writing Programs in September.  Program sessions run through early January, with a goal submission to NIH in February 2020. There are several documents you'll need to prepare in advance of submitting an application; be sure to view the application guide below first.  Applicants will be notified of acceptance into the program in mid September.



Please Note:  Specific Aims Workshops are separated into clinical, translational or basic science focus, with a Senior Faculty Mentor to provide expertise.  The available dates and times for each workshop are below; please consider your availability when registering, as attendance at the workshop is required.

Basic Science:  October 7, 2019, 9:00 am - 11:00 am

Translational: October 2, 2019, 9:00 am - 11:00 am; October 9. 2019, 9:00 am - 11:00 am

Clinical: October 2, 2019, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm; October 4, 2019, 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm


Fall 2019 Early Career Grant Writing Program Agenda

The fall program will offer a combination of didactic lectures, hands on workshops, informal writing islands, and the opportunity for a study section review.  Your application is a commitment to participate in all components of this program, and we advise that you pre-emptively lighten your schedule in the coming months to fully commit to the grant writing process and to take advantage of the entire program’s curriculum.  

Tentative Program Schedule - dates may change/TBD

9/3/2019                                                          Registration opens

9/13/2019                                                        Registration closes

Week of 9/16                                                    Notification of acceptance/wait list

9/23/2019; 4:00 -5:30 pm                                Grant Writing Strategy Session       

Weeks of 9/30/2019 and 10/7/2019                   Specific Aims Workshops**

10/21/2019, 4:00 - 5:30 pm                             Significance and Innovation Strategy Session

Weeks of 10/21/2019 and 10/28/2019                Writing Islands - individual assistance and review (attend at least 1)

11/4/2019, 4:00-5:30 pm                                  (K Awards Only) Career Development Strategy Session

Weeks of 11/4/2019 and 11/11/2019                  Writing Islands - individual assistance and review (attend at least 1)

12/6/2019                                                        Draft Proposals for internal reviews due

Week of 1/6/2020                                             Feedback sessions for internal reviews (attend at least 1)



Application Guide Fall 2019

MOU for Fall 2019 (updated link)

How do I know which program to apply for?

We have senior facilitators with expertise in basic science, translational and clinical research.  It is in your best interest to indicate which workshop will have the best expertise match.

When should I start thinking about my application?

As soon as possible!  Program application opens 5 months before the NIH deadline.   Before applying for the program, you must have vetted your scientific plan with your mentors and your department/division.

What do I need for the application?

Before you apply, you should make sure you have time to dedicate to grant writing.  The program has proven to be most successful when participants complete all program components.  The application requires a draft abstract and aims page, and a list of people on your mentoring team.  You will also need to have a signed Memorandum of Understanding.

Who do I contact if I have questions about these programs?

You can contact anyone on the Office for Research Mentoring staff.  We are always happy to answer questions, come up with the right resource for you, and think about potential mentoring plans.  For general program questions, contact

Are there any resources for non-NIH grants?

The formalized programs are structured around the NIH application process and timeline, however VA career development award applicants are welcome to apply. For other types of early career grants, contact our office before applying.

What are the New NIH guidelines on Data Rigor and Reproducibility?

See lecture by Dr. Joanna Downer where this is explained. 

General Program Structure

The Early Career Grant Writing Program consists of the following components.  Participation in all aspects of the program is expected.

  1. General Strategy session:  Dr. Cathleen Colon-Emeric will provide a lecture summarizing general strategy for preparation and submission of grants to the NIH. 
  2. Specific Aims Workshops:  Up to 4 applications per session will be reviewed with a senior facilitator and a member of the Faculty Development staff.  The sessions will be separated based upon project scope into basic science, translational, or clinical research.  Times and dates for the sessions will be announced along with acceptance into the program.  If you can not attend the workshop please contact us - attendance is required and your slot will be offered to a candidate on the waitlist.  
  3. Significance and Innovation Strategy Session:  Dr. Joanna Downer will provide a lecture discussing strategies for successful writing of the significance and innovation section.  Several drop-in writing islands will be offered following the lecture for 1:1 review and discussion of this section.
  4. Career Development Strategy and assistance:  Dr. Cathleen Colon-Emeric will provide a lecture summarizing general strategy for preparing the Career Development section (for K awards).  Several drop-in writing islands will be offered following the lecture for 1:1 review and discussion of this section.
  5. Internal Grant Review:  Internal Grant Reviews will be offered this session; the deadline for providing a complete proposal for review will be firm.  
  6. Individual Resubmission Consultation:  After NIH review, participants whose application was scored but not funded will be offered individual meetins with a science writer in the Office for Research Development to plan revisions and response to reviewers.

Questions about Research Mentoring Grant writing Programs? Contact us at