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Grant Peer Review Board

Fellows' Career Development

Grant Peer Review Board

Fellows' Career Development

group of young adults working together at a table

The Fellow’s Grant Peer Review Board is a cohort of fellows who are focused on improving their grantspersonship skills by participating in confidential peer-to-peer feedback on grants. Fellows can either participate as “writers” and/or “reviewers” in a formalized workshop setting, gaining important editing and grantspersonship skills. While reviewers make up the majority of the cohort, most reviewers use what they learn when they go on to write their own grants or fellowships. To round out their experience, writers are expected to participate as reviewers for at least two cohorts.

To balance the diverse scientific expertise of fellows, each cohort is unique to the needs of the writers and includes workshops and seminars presented by intramural and extramural speakers. Experienced participants can present “how-to’s” on grantspersonship topics to practice teaching skills. The majority of grants written by fellows include the NIGMS PRAT, K99/R00, and K22, but anyone and everyone is welcome, including those planning for R0-style grants.

Sample Agenda for a Cohort

Week Activity

  1. Cohort welcome, outline of group, assessment of cohort composition
  2. How to write a stellar Specific Aims page
  3. "Nuts and Bolts of Submitting an NIH Grant" with Mercedes Arana, Ph.D.
  4. Peer Workshop: FARE Awards (Spring Cohort)
  5. Round Table Review: specific aims, confidential review of successful grants
  6. No meeting, send your specific aims to your Program Officers
  7. No meeting
  8. Round Table Review: Aim 1
  9. No meeting
  10. Send your Research Plan to your reviewers
  11. Training Plan overview
  12. No meeting
  13. Send Research Plan to NCI fellows review board for grammar edits
  14. Round Table Review: Training Plan
  15. Workshop and review of other key documents
  16. No meeting
  17. Submit early! Schedule an appointment with Mercedes Arana, Ph.D. to submit your grant

Program Leaders

Laura Kammel

Laura Kammel, Ph.D., Co-chair, 2021 - Present, IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow

Laura joined NIEHS in March 2020, two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic forced research at the institute to come to halt. As many researchers attempted to use this unexpected work-from-home time to focus more on grant writing and research program development, Laura realized how valuable it would be to have a sense of community to help motivate, answer questions, and provide feedback during this process. Grant writing can be overwhelming, but we hope this workshop provides NIEHS trainees a framework to put together their best applications in a supportive environment.

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 crucial 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.

Oleksandr “Sasha” Kirsanov, Ph.D., Co-Chair, 2022-Present, IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow

Sasha joined NIEHS in June 2022. During his graduate studies at ECU, he had multiple opportunities to write grant proposals and participate in grant writing workshops with other students and postdocs. He was fortunate to receive a predoctoral fellowship from Male Contraceptive Initiative (MCI). This fellowship demonstrated to Sasha the importance of grant writing guidance and fellow’s feedback for early career scientists. He is excited to share his knowledge with NIEHS fellows and hopes to bring valuable insights to strengthen grant applications.

Hear From Program Participants

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