New to the World of NIH Grants? Attend a 2016 NIH Regional Seminar


One of my favorite “job tasks” is to spend time meeting with scientists and science administrators who are new to the NIH environment or are attempting to launch their careers in science. Invariably I’m asked, “What wisdom do you have to offer?” Of course, I’ll mention that it’s key to find a top-notch mentor (or mentors), that it’s critical to follow one’s passion, and that it’s always a good idea to work on grant proposals well in advance of deadlines, allowing ample time to seek input from colleagues and critics. But … that’s not enough. In today’s dynamic world, one in which we can not only no longer take science funding for granted (let alone increases in science funding), it’s not enough to be an outstanding scientists or an outstanding administrator. One also has to be an outstanding citizen.

What does it mean to be an outstanding citizen within the context of the biomedical research enterprise? During my meetings with new scientists and administrators, I tell them that at the very least it means keeping oneself well informed with the news of science – not only scientific developments, but science policy, science economics, and science in the public eye. It means being engaged with professional groups like scientific societies that are in a position to communicate with and influence policy makers and key stakeholders. I was fortunate early in my career to spend time on a number of committees at my home institution – like the Cleveland Clinic Institutional Review Board – and within the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. I didn’t appreciate at the time how important that committee work was.

Which brings me to… the 2016 NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration. This year, the NIH will be offering two seminars: Baltimore, MD (May 11-13) and Chicago, IL (October 26-28).

I am looking forward to the opportunity to kick off the 2016 NIH Regional Seminars in both locations, with the latest information on NIH funding, extramural workforce, rigor and reproducibility, NIH initiatives, and so much more. I’ll also be offering a more in-depth and candid discussion of some of these topics during my “Open Mike” sessions which will be offered during the first day of the seminar. It will be exciting to join over 50+ of my colleagues from NIH and HHS for this one-of-a-kind event.

If you are new to working with NIH and want to gain a better understanding of the NIH grants process and related policies, then consider joining approximately 600-700 of your peers from around the world at this seminar. It is designed for new investigators, research administrators, trainees, grant writers, or anyone working on NIH applications and awards with limited knowledge on these topics. These seminars are an educational opportunity to help you understand the fundamentals of the NIH grants process, including the electronic application process and award management, NIH peer review, finding the right funding opportunity, federal research policies, pre-and post-award issues, and more. Over the course of the 2-days, NIH & HHS review, grants, program, and policy officials will be providing sessions on over 40 different topics in 3 different tracks: Administrators, New Investigators, and All Interests. There is more in-depth content during the optional pre-seminar workshops on topics such as human research protections, electronic research administration, intellectual property, and an administrator’s boot camp.

Making these seminar even more valuable are the opportunities to meet 1:1 with NIH and HHS staff in person to get specific questions answered or at the least, receive further guidance. Throughout the two-day seminar, participants can sign up for the seminar’s “Meet the Experts 1:1” chats. This opportunity is expands during the Baltimore seminar with additional scientific program, review and grants management staff from NIH institutes and centers, due to its proximity to our offices.

I encourage you to take a look at the program agenda and registration info on the seminar websites to see if this is a right fit for you. The seminar provides a great overview and updates on the NIH grants process and related policies, but it is also an ideal way to make personal connections with NIH staff. This will be my first year presenting at the NIH Regional Seminars and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to interact with those new to NIH, as well as those of you who visit us year after year.

Early registration rates have been extended for one week, until March 8, to give all of those reading this blog and just hearing about the seminars the time to register and save. I understand that these seminars usually reach capacity prior to the event, so I encourage you to take a look at all the information soon. I and my colleagues hope to see you there.

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