Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was selected to attend a grant-writing workshop in San Antonio, Texas, this fall sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The workshop, “Grant Writer’s Coaching Group for NIH Awards,” is designed to help junior faculty improve their odds of success when applying for grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
NIH grants are highly competitive. In 2015, the success rate for NIH K01 Career Development grants—the kind of funding Cardel is pursuing for her current research project—was 33.6 percent across all institutes and centers of the NIH. Of the 598 K01 applications the NIH received in 2015, only 201 were funded.
Cardel submitted her first K01 grant application in the spring for her research project titled “The Influence of Social Standing on Eating Behavior, Obesity Risk, and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Hispanic Adolescents.” The project explores the role of low perceived social status in Hispanic teenagers and its influence on overeating and reduced physical activity—behaviors associated with an increased risk for weight gain and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
However, given the low funding rates of first-time K-award applications, Cardel said she is already planning to resubmit her grant application again in the fall. She hopes the grant-writing workshop will better prepare her for success.
“The major difference between this and other grant-writing workshops or strategies is the ongoing work of the group and its members to keep refining the proposals,” Cardel said.
Led by Rick McGee, Ph.D., associate dean for faculty recruitment and professional development at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and Daniel Jay, Ph.D., professor of developmental, molecular and chemical biology at Tufts University’s Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the workshop provides a day of on-site training in San Antonio on Sept. 15, followed by three months of online coaching and support while participants write their grants.