11 Nov 2019

By Luz Maria Rodríguez

This is the Part II of the Grant Writing series published on Jan 14, 2019

Funding for research grants is made available by various institutions to help research efforts made by individuals, universities and other groups. Research can encompass many subjects such as literature, basic and social sciences & technology.

To succeed, the physician-scientist needs to think about diversification and flexibility in their interests, developing multidisciplinary and multi-institutional projects. As a result, he or she can therefore engage a broader base of stakeholders that includes patients, colleagues or other populations of interest in another country or continent.

Research funding comes from three major sources – Government (via agencies, universities, institutions), Corporations such as subspecialty societyand Private foundations given directly to the individual or via institutional funds. The key to obtaining any funding, no matter what the source, is a well-formulated grant proposal. A review of opportunities to develop and hone their grant-writing skills is provided below and can be reviewed in detail in the previous blog article of this series, published in Jan 14, 2019.

Federal funding for scientific research is an important cornerstone of societal progress, economy, sustainability, health and well-being. A nation’s scientific knowledge, competitiveness, and contributions ultimately can be measured by the amount and type of funding provided for research. Accordingly, governments prioritize meritorious and strategic distribution of public funding in support of the best science, often in accordance with other national goals to promote diversity and regional wealth distribution.

This article will discuss the various research grants at the NIH which is the model used by others when discussing grant types. The Information is publicly available at , but I decided to dissect out and highlight those areas that are directly pertinent for “busy” investigators such as surgeons.

Grant Process Overview
Repetition is the key to learning: this link, video and the PDF Grant Process Overview emphasize the importance of the Grant Process.


Type of Grant Programs at the NIH

Research Grants:

1. The following represent frequently used research grant programs. A comprehensive list of all activity codes is also available.

Important: NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) may vary in the way they use activity codes; not all ICs accept applications for all types of grant programs, or they apply specialized eligibility criteria. Look closely at funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to determine which ICs participate and the specifics of eligibility.

2. Prototype Grants Funding by the NIH

3. Grants based on Training Level: Click at the far right under Color Code Boxes

4. Abbreviations to know:

5. Grant Summary:


Additional resources
NIH Grant Writing Workshops in 2019
NIH Faculty Sponsored Grant Writing  2019
Grant Writing for Success NIH by Dr. Paula Stricklan
The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook, 2018, Russell & Morrison
The Elements of Style, 4th ed. By Strunk & White
Successful Grant Application Writing

Join @womensurgeons along with our moderators, Dr. Carrie Sims (@carriesims20) and Dr. Genevieve Boland (@gmboland), for a tweetchat about Grant Writing (Part II) on Monday November 18th at 8pm Eastern Time. If you haven’t participated in a tweetchat with us before, check out this tutorial written by Dr. Heather Yeo (@heatheryeomd) to know more.  The questions will be posted directly from the @WomenSurgeons twitter account and you can also find them following the hashtag #AWSchat.

We will be discussing the following questions in the tweetchat:

  1. What are some features of a successful grant application?
  2. What are the reviewers looking for? Does this vary based upon the type of grant?
  3. What are some resources for beginners?
  4. What are important things to know about the grant review process?
  5. Who should you include on your grant?  How can you find mentorship/collaboration?
  6. What are the most common pitfalls to avoid when writing a grant application?

Dr. Luz María Rodriguez is a dual fellowship trained surgical oncologist and colorectal surgeon. She works at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP). Prior to joining the DCP she spent nearly a decade as a translational physician-scientist in the Genetics Branch at the NCI. Her lab studied genome-wide gene expression profiles in colonic mucosa of populations at risk. This expression profiling created a foundation for biomarkers of early colon cancer detection and prevention. She developed a Clinical Cancer Genetics Program devoted to risk surveillance, assessment, genetic testing, counseling, prevention and targeted intervention for individuals at increased risk for specific cancers.

At DCP, Dr. Rodriguez supports ongoing clinical trial efforts of the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention Early Phase 0-II prevention trials through protocol development, scientific review, strategic planning. DCP’s early phase clinical trials fill the void between preclinical studies and Phase III. The Early Phase trials places emphasis on intervention effects on at-risk tissue-intensive tissue collections (e.g. biopsies), invasive biomarker monitoring. Dr. Rodriguez oversees chemopreventive and treatment trials in organ sites such as the liver, pancreas, stomach, and colon using study agents such as vaccines, and drug agents such as Simvastatin, Berberine, Curcumin, Metformin, Erlotinib and Aspirin. She also serves as a consultant nationally and internationally with various scientific and clinical groups with special focus on high risk cancer families, cancer immunoprevention and health disparity with the hope of narrowing the gap in cancer intervention.

Dr. Rodriguez is a senior faculty and surgeon at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUH) and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) serving domestic and foreign military families in the area of GI diseases, pelvic floor disorders, soft tissue sarcoma, breast and anorectal diseases. She also trains medical students, residents and fellows in surgery, oncology and cancer prevention.

Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *