Advanced NIH Grants: Personal Coaching

03/01/2018 - 05/10/2018

The Iceman’s Run: Advanced NIH Grantsmanship and

Personal Coaching Program for Winning NIH Grants 
March 1 – May 10, 2018

Presented by Tom Hollon, PhD, Grant Consultant


Limited Enrollment: No more than 15 MSU faculty preparing an application for an NIH R01, U01 or R21 grant by June or July, 2018. Preference will be given to faculty applying for R01s and U01s. Faculty writing R03 grants are not eligible.

To apply, email: RGS.hollonappts@campusad.msu.edu (Deadline: Feb. 28)


This spring semester course of webinars and personal and group coaching will help you write an NIH R01, U01, or R21 grant that wins. Advanced grantsmanship will be taught by example — revealing writing tricks and strategies from more than 50 funded NIH R01 grants for lab research, social science research, statistics, bioinformatics, and clinical trials.

  • learn to gather competitive intelligence about NIH funding possibilities in your field
  • learn advanced NIH grant writing by seeing other people’s R01s analyzed for what makes them great
  • get personal attention in solving grant problems
  • get your research plan peer-reviewed prior to submission
  • get professional editing of your research plan to improve your chance to win

About the instructor: Tom Hollon has helped MSU professors win $37,000,000 in grants. He has 15 years’ experience helping researchers win grants and contracts, with special focus on NIH. 

Program overview and schedule: Webinars every two weeks will last 60 to 90 minutes and are recorded, so if you miss one you can catch it later. There’s also one workshop. Each month you’ll get at least one hour of personal attention from Tom on any grant problem you’re grappling with. Then, after your research plan is reviewed by peers of your choosing, OVPRGS’ editors will edit it to help make your application its very best. 

March 1Webinar: Competitive advantage in NIH R01 grant writing. The kick-off webinar focuses on competitive advantages in NIH grant writing that most professors could use but few do and lays the foundation for the rest of the course.

March 12-16 - Individual grant strategy sessions. Tom will be on campus to meet with you by appointment to discuss anything in your grant you’re struggling with.

March 15Workshop: Competitive intelligence using the NIH Reporter grants database. This free database can reveal what sort of research NIH has funded in your area, for how much, and all sorts of other things. Learn to use the Reporter to prepare to discuss NIH’s interest in your work with Program Officers, find the best study section to review your grant, and find copies of grants in your field to study as models.

March 29 - Webinar: How to write Specific Aims and Abstracts that get  reviewers excited. See examples of winning Specific Aims pages and find out what makes them great. Then do the same for abstracts.

April 9-13 - Hotseat session: Specific Aims and Abstract. You’ll meet by conference call with Tom and two other class members to improve your Specific Aims and Abstract.

April 12 - Webinar: How to write exciting Significance and Innovation sections. See examples of winning Significance and Innovation sections and find out what makes them exciting.

April 16-20 - Individual grant strategy sessions. Tom will be on campus to meet with you by appointment to discuss anything in your grant you’re having a problem with.

April 26 - Webinar: How to make your Approach seem like a guaranteed sure thing.  Examine winning grants for better ways to write the main parts of Approach, different ways to present prelim data, how to describe risky experiments, how to summarize experiments and sell them at the same time, and ways to use figures and tables. 

April 30 - Hotseat session: Significance and Innovation. Your hotseat group will meet by conference call with Tom to review and 

May 4 - Improve your Significance and Innovation sections.

May 10 - Webinar: Odds & Ends. Reading a Summary Statement, writing a revised application, biosketches, budget justification, facilities, Early-Stage Investigator support, human subjects protections, multi-PI statements, minority inclusion, data sharing plans, letters of support, and cover letters.

End Result: probably the best application you’ve ever submitted, and a better understanding than ever of what it takes to win when NIH paylines are super tight.