Funding Announcements always supersede a general parent announcement.
Common Application Pitfalls
- Missing Letters and Attachments
- Don’t count a letter from your sponsor or a collaborator as a reference letter. Letters from collaborators are also required to show their commitment. Diversity F31s require a letter from the institution saying the applicant is qualified as a diversity applicant.
- Failing to Appreciate Submission Is a Multistep Process
- Submitting Your Application at the Last Minute
- Not Using the Right Application Form
- Not Giving the Instructions Enough Attention
- Producing an Incomplete Application
- Overstuffing Your Application
- Submitting a New Application but Referring to Previous Review Outcomes or Criticism
- Using a Too Small Font
Know What Reviewers Are Looking for
- Exciting ideas
- Clarity of the research and training plans in context of your career goals
- Realistic aims and timelines — Don’t be overly ambitious
- Brevity with things that everybody knows
- Noted limitations of the study
- A clean, well-written application
Main Review Criteria
Core Review Criteria
- Fellowship Applicant
- Scholastic performance
- Productivity commensurate with career stage
- Aptitude and enthusiasm
- Clarity of stated career goals
- Letters of reference
- Sponsors, Collaborators, and Consultants
- Documented mentoring successes
- Expertise in the field
- Present productivity
- Funds available to cover research expenses
- Co-mentor to cover weaknesses
- Clearly defined roles for mentors and collaborators
- Research Training Plan
- Significance and impact of the proposed research
- Logical hypothesis or approach
- Clarity, feasibility, and alternative strategies
- Stats, vertebrate animals, human subjects
- Sophisticated technologies and approaches
- Likelihood training will lead to publications and degree
- Appropriate for the applicant fellow’s stage of research development
- Training Potential
- Is there individualized training that addresses weaknesses and career development needs?
- Will participants learn new technical skills, new design approaches?
- Do training activities match career goals?
- Will training confer an advantage to be competitive?
- Will the applicant fellow receive requisite individualized and supervised experiences?
- Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training
- Scientific environment
- Opportunities for collaborations within and outside institution if needed
- Resources available
- Your sponsor needs to be an active/dynamic participant in your training.
- Your grant should not just be a way of funding your sponsor’s research
- Your efforts should show some uniqueness or individualized component to them
- But your research should be related to your sponsor’s research.
- Don’t just say what you’ve done. Say how it fits into the bigger picture.
- Emphasize how you’re going to fill gaps in your expertise, add to your tool set, and explore different approaches or different problems.
- Be upfront about any flaws and how you’re going to address them.