Grant Peer Review Board

Fellows' Career Development

Grant Peer Review Board

Purpose of the Fellows' Grant Peer Review Board

The Fellow’s Grant Peer Review Board is a cohort of fellows who are focused on improving their grantspersonship skills and understanding of the grant writing, reviewing, and submission process. In the Fall, we host a structured series of sessions including writing groups, confidential peer review of fellows’ grants, and seminars delivered by intramural and extramural speakers. Writing group and peer review sessions continue throughout the year, meeting biweekly.

Anyone and everyone is welcome, from fellows actively writing for a deadline to those brainstorming ideas and those looking to improve their understanding of the grant process. While the majority of grants written by fellows include the BWF CASI, intramural opportunities (e.g., Coleman Research Innovation Award, ODS Research Scholars Program), K99/R00, and K22, we welcome and provide feedback on all grants.

Meeting Formats

Meetings have three general formats:

  1. Seminars: In the Fall, we will have invited speakers present on grant writing and answers fellows’ questions. Speakers will provide how to’s for various parts of a grant including the Specific Aims page, Research Strategy, Biosketch, and Candidate Section. Speakers will also present about the review process, other funding opportunities, and specifics on how to submit a grant as an intramural fellow.
  2. Peer Review: Year-round, we will provide confidential, constructive peer-to-peer verbal and written feedback and discussion on grant materials. Everyone who participates in peer review must sign a confidentiality statement. Both writers and reviewers are always welcome to participate in peer review sessions, and we encourage writers who receive feedback to also provide feedback to others.
  3. Writing Group: Year-round, we will host office hours to provide a supportive environment for fellows in any stage of the grant-writing process (from planning to actively writing) to set aside time to focus on their grant alongside their peers. We will be available to answer grant-related questions and help find resources. Fellows will have the opportunity to bounce ideas off others while brainstorming and writing.

Sample Schedule

January – July
Biweekly office hours which can function as planning, writing, and/or peer review sessions:

  • Writing a grant for a spring, summer, or early fall deadline? We can help you set up a writing schedule and review any written material you’d like to share.
  • Brainstorming ideas for future grants or working on an early draft of your Specific Aims? Bounce ideas off others as you work to develop your proposal.
  • Interested in a writing a grant but not sure where to start? We are happy to answer questions and help you find resources to support you on your grant-writing journey.

August – December
Structured session of seminars, peer review, and writing groups:

  • Week 1: Welcome, overview, & assessment of cohort composition and needs
  • Week 2: “How to Write the Specific Aims Page”
  • Week 3: "Nuts and Bolts of Submitting an NIH Grant" with Mercedes Arana, Ph.D.
  • Week 4: Writing Group
  • Week 5: Peer Review: Specific Aims
  • Week 6: “How to Write the Research Strategy”
  • Week 7: “Non-NIH Funding Opportunities”
  • Week 8: Writing Group
  • Week 9: Peer Review: Research Strategy
  • Week 10: “How to Write a Biosketch”
  • Week 11: “Experience of Prior Applicants” featuring fellows who are grant awardees
  • Week 12: Off for holiday
  • Week 13: Peer review: Biosketch
  • Week 14: “Candidate Section”
  • Week 15: Writing Group
  • Week 16: Peer review: Candidate Section
  • Week 17: Off for holiday
  • Week 18: Peer review: Any grant material

Submit early! Schedule an appointment with Mercedes Arana, Ph.D. to submit your grant.

Questions? Email program leaders.

Program Leaders

Jennifer Ish

Jennifer Ish, Ph.D., Co-chair, 2024 - Present, IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow

as a reviewer and a writer before becoming a co-chair. Receiving feedback from peers with multiple perspectives and meeting with speakers was crucial in her grant writing journey, and she now looks forward to supporting other fellows in this area. Email: Jennifer Ish

Danielle R. Stevens

Danielle Stevens, Ph.D., Co-Chair, 2022-Present, IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow

When Danielle joined NIEHS in 2021, she was interested in writing a grant and received insight and support from the NIEHS Fellows Grant Peer Review Board. Realizing how valuable this resource was for grantsmanship and career development, Danielle now helps coordinate speakers and provides feedback and support for other fellows. Email: Danielle Stevens

Mandy Goldberg, Ph.D.

Mandy Goldberg, Ph.D., Co-Chair, 2023-Present, Independent Research Scholar

Mandy had some experience helping others with grant applications during her graduate work when she joined NIEHS in September 2019, but she quickly realized that writing one herself is a whole different ballpark. Mandy appreciated the structure and support of the Grant Peer Review Board when she was writing, and looks forward to providing feedback, support, and tricks of the trade to other fellows. Email: Mandy Goldberg

Hear From Program Participants