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Postdocs' Guide to Gaining Independence: Writing a Strong Grant Application

April 28, 2016

by Myron L. Toews, PhD 

I wanted to make you aware of what I believe is one of the most useful sources of information for all postdocs and young faculty to know about — the weekly email newsletter from NIAID (National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), the NIAID Funding News. Most institutes send out these weekly email newsletters. Sadly, some of them, including the ones from NIGMS (National Institute of General Medical Sciences) which is the home of Pharmacology grants, are just a listing of new grant opportunities and policy notices from that particular institute. These are available to everyone for all NIH institutes in a single weekly email called The NIH Guide. You should subscribe to this resource also if you do not already know about it.

The weekly NIAID Funding News emails are massively more useful, and not only for those working in Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Nearly every weekly issue includes very concrete value-added information, not just lists of grant opportunities, but well-written articles with practical tips about how to achieve grant success. In the past year they marched through every part of a grant application, with detailed advice and tips and examples of the most appropriate and critical kind of information to include, or not include. Others have covered things like when it is and is not appropriate to contact the executive secretary of your study section, how to contact program officers, and many more. Their website even makes available several examples of funded grants as examples of what works.

The issue that prompted me to write this blog post was from March 9, 2016 with an article entitled "Postdocs' Guide to Gaining Independence: Writing a Strong Grant Application". This was Part 2 of an ongoing, and it focuses on the K ("kangaroo") awards. All past issues are available, and it is free and easy to subscribe so that you get each week's NIAID Funding News automatically. Check them out; they may be just what your career needs!

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