This series features seminars and workshops on aspects of scholarship and research, including scientific writing, communicating the value of your work, learning more about department of defense funding, and best practices for securing foundation funding.


Demystifying the NIH Study Section

Tuesday, March 3 from 12:30 –  2:00pm, Billings J-103 
Click here to RSVP
; lunch is provided

This session will address what happens during the NIH grant application review process. A panel of current and former study section members will  share insight on how this knowledge may create a stronger application:

  • Ruth Anne Eatock, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology and Dean of Faculty Affairs
  • Richard Fehon, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology
  • Robert Keenan, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Brett Mensh - Effectively Communicating Your Science

Monday, March 9 from 10:00 – 11:00am
Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery (KCBD), Auditorium 1103

How do you structure your scientific poster, talk, paper or grant to convey the essence and significance of what you do?  In this talk, Dr. Mensh will describe tools for engaging your audience and ways to assess your effectiveness. The first hour of this introductory talk is open to the entire BSD community.

Click here to learn more and RSVP


Request for Applications: Brett Mensh Scientific Writing Workshops

Deadline:  February 7, 2020
Brett Mensh, MD, PhD
, will conduct a series of intensive scientific writing workshops for BSD faculty participants.  Brett has extensive experience helping investigators to organize and structure scientific communications – grant proposals, papers, and presentations.

Application period has closed


Past Grantsmanship Events

Preparing a Strong R01 Basic Science Grant Application
An overview of strategies to consider when preparing an NIH R01 proposal, preliminary steps and timeline, components of the application, review criteria, what happens in the review process, reviewer feedback, and resubmission.  Researchers heard from a faculty panel on their experience and suggestions for developing a strong application.

Preparing the NSF CAREER proposal
An overview of the NSF CAREER program, preparing the proposal, expectations for broader impacts and education plans, and the review process.  A faculty panel will share their experience preparing a successful proposal, including perspective from a CAREER reviewer. Click here to view the presentation.

Post Award Management
OFA and the Provost’s Office is hosting a series of forums for BSD faculty and departmental administrators to solicit feedback on current issues in post-award management, and to gather input on needs that will inform a potential software solution. Recommendations from these forums will be used to advise leadership as new administrative systems are being considered.

An Insider’s View of the NSF Review Process
During this session, faculty panelists share what reviewers look for when reading proposals for the National Science Foundation. Co-sponsored by the Physical Sciences Division and the BSD Office of Faculty Affairs, investigators learned about an overview of the review process and had the chance for discussion and Q&A with the panelists.

Demystifying the NIH Study Section
Co-sponsored by the BSD Office of Faculty Affairs and the Physical Sciences Division, this panel discussion addressed what happens during the NIH grant application review process. Current and former study section members shared insight on how this knowledge may create a stronger application.

Diversifying Your Federal Research Funding Portfolio
As budgets for NIH/NSF tighten, it is increasingly important to seek funding from a wide variety of external agencies. Co-sponsored by Research, Innovation and National Laboratories, the BSD Office of Faculty Affairs, and the Physical Sciences Division, this session discussed pursuing funding from non-NIH/NSF agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, and the CDC.

Simple Rules for Structuring Grants, Papers, and Posters
In March 2018, Dr. Brett Mensh, MD, PhD provided a talk on effectively communicating science, illustrating several principles that make written science more receivable and compelling.  Brett founded Optimize Science, a science-communication consulting firm which has helped many investigators with presentations, paper- and grant-writing, with over half of submitted grant applications being funded. Brett also provided a series of one-on-one sessions with BSD faculty (by application) in order to provide feedback on their grant, specific Aims, or abstract.

The NSF CAREER Award and NIH K Award
Sponsored by the Division of the Social Sciences and the Biological Sciences Division, this session focuses on career development awards. Steven White, Professor of Medicine, and Lindsey Richland, Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development, will discuss best practices for proposal development and insight into proposal review. Junior Facutly and postdoctoral scholars in the SSD and BSD are invited to attend.

US Department of Defense Funding Seminar and Faculty Panel
Did you know that the US Department of Defense funds basic and applied research? The three service branches of the military – Army, Navy, and Air Force – all have research offices and budgets that fund basic and applied research projects. There are peculiarities and unique hurdles associated with all of the DOD funding mechanisms, but with the right preliminary work you may be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered. Facilitated by Kate Von Holle, Director of Federal Research Development at UChicago. BSD faculty who have received Department of Defense funding will share their experiences and best practices for proposal development and review.

Demystifying Foundation Funding
This session is ideal for investigators interested in learning more about foundation funding and will include information on where to start and how the process differs from applying for federal grants.  BSD faculty will share successful experiences raising foundation funds.

Publishing Your Science
This session provides an overview of successful strategies for submitting scientific manuscripts to scholarly journals. The discussion and Q&A with a panel of former editors will provide insight into the submission and review process.

A DIFFERENT Approach to Writing NIH-Style Proposals
Rick McGee, Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment & Professional Development at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine gave a seminar to over 70 faculty, postdocs and students during the spring quarter focused on writing effective NIH style research proposals. 

Using Pivot to Identify Funding Opportunities
Hands-on training with Pivot to identify funding opportunities from diverse federal, non-federal, foundation, corporate and other private sponsors, and to set up custom queries and alerts. Facilitated by Aaron House, Assistant Director, eRA, Training & Analytics, University Research Administration.

Writing Workshop I: Clarity and Focus in Scientific Writing
In this workshop you’ll learn how to focus arguments without sacrificing complexity. The true origin of the problem lies not in the complexity of your data, but in the structure of your sentences. You will learn concrete techniques to build sentences and paragraphs that can adequately house your ideas and your data, without leaving your readers behind.

Writing Workshop II: Grant Proposals, Abstracts, and Introductions
During the course of your career you will write many documents that boil down to some version of one of the following sentences: “Give me money because ” or “Read this article because.” This workshop will focus on what comes after the “because.” How can you make sure readers understand how your work contributes to knowledge in your field? How can you do this without claiming too much about your work — or too little? In this session, you will practice writing techniques in grant proposals, abstracts, and introductions that make clear why your work is valuable — and that help you to focus the rest of an article or proposal on the most important aspects of your research.