Transcript of "How to Win, Sustain, and Leverage Your NIH R15 Grant"
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Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us for our fifth presentation of the 2020-2021 Health Equity Webinar series. I'm Brian Bothner, the director of Montana INBRE. Today I'm representing the three NIH-funded health research centers hosting this webinar from Montana State University in Bozeman. These are the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity, Montana INBRE, and the American Indian/Alaska Native Clinical and Translational Research Program. Before we begin I'd like to acknowledge and honor with great respect the Indigenous stewards on whose traditional territories MSU now stands and whose historical relationship with the land continues to this day. MSU is located in the common hunting ground and major crossroads for Plains and Plateau Native nations including Shoshone, Nez Perce, Dakota, Salish, Crow, and Blackfeet. Today I'm delighted to welcome Dr. Jason Carter, who will offer a presentation on how to win, sustain, and leverage your NIH R15 grant. Dr. Carter is the vice president for research, economic development, and graduate education here at Montana State University in Bozeman. Prior to this role he served as departmental chair, associate dean, and associate vice president for research at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Carter's research focuses on neural control of the cardiovascular system in humans and the role of sleep in cardiovascular disease, and it's really Dr. Carter's position he had before coming to MSU at Michigan Technological University which is why he's giving this talk today; so he actually started his career by getting R15 grants, and in fact I believe that his first R15 grant was the first such grant at Michigan Technological University, so he really learned how to go about getting these grants and how to sustain them, and he also then was able to help a number of other researchers gain R15 grants. And so it's very fortunate to have him here today because as far as the network around Montana, there's a lot of institutions who R15s are really their primary tool for funding research directly through the NIH. So a couple of quick notes before we begin: here at the close of Dr. Carter's presentation, please use the Q&A function at the bottom of your screen to enter questions and comments and I will do my best to field those questions, and we can have a little question and answer session. Also, we will be recording this webinar and we will send the link out to all of those who are registered so you'll be able to re-watch this and hopefully disseminate this to your colleagues who couldn't attend with us today. So thank you very much for joining us today, and with that I'll ask Dr. Carter to please begin. Thank you, Brian, and thanks to everybody who has joined or is going to watch this a little bit later. It's a pleasure to be able to participate in this because as Brian mentioned this was I came from an R15 eligible institution we were working very hard on trying to become ineligible. It's a double-edged sword, right, when you get large enough you become ineligible, and here at Montana State we aren't eligible for this particular mechanism, so I don't get a chance to talk to a lot of faculty about it, but I did cut my teeth on an R15. My first grant was an r15 back in the mid 2000's I followed up with an r21 and then back to an r15 and eventually uh ultimately transitioned to an r01 and that I was uh that was where I was the first uh individual at tech to get a clinical trial r01 and uh but at Michigan tech we were uh very good and savvy about the r15 and my colleagues and I shared a lot with one another and I'm gonna share in full transparency everything and anything I can to help you be successful because I believe in this mechanism I believe it's needed and its mission is really critical to NIH's interest in diversity inclusion and equity right I mean a lot of the smaller schools that don't have humongous NIH infrastructure type of environments are the ones where we have a lot of underrepresented students and there's a breeding ground for helping to find and help promote talent and so this is great I'm really thankful that I have this opportunity to do this it's feeling like I'm going back to my roots a little bit here so let me share my screen Brian can you see the screen I just want to make sure you see the screen there excellent good okay so let's go ahead and get started here on this um I'm gonna just start with a little bit of perspectives that I have on the NIH culture and then very rapidly transition into what I think are the unique aspects of the r15 as you have questions feel free to add them to the chat and we'll we'll cover those at the end that's the negative part about this covet world is that I wish it was more dynamic and we were live but we'll get to the questions I didn't want to focus in on the study sections because I think there are some definite strategies you should and can be taking to help make sure you're in the right study sections and give yourself the best chance I want to do a quick NIH report or demo if there's anything you take away from this spend time on NIH reporter it is so good it is so valuable I still to this day um and I have an active r01 I'm getting ready in about a year and a half to submit a renewal and I'll be mining uh NIH reporter in in in preparation for that resubmission and then talk a little bit about second level review that I think a lot of people forget about don't think about but there's a big role that your program officer is going to play ultimately in getting a grant funded and then just a couple concluding thoughts so a couple disclaimers number one I'm not an expert I don't try to be an expert on on all this um I'm just going to share with you some thoughts and some strategies I've learned over the last 15 to 20 years and and working in the in this field and then some of the slides that I've taken and I I I acknowledge it I've been taken from the NIH center for scientific review uh website where they publicly have available many powerpoints on many ways to try to make yourself more competitive so a couple key points and these are these are my philosophies about what makes a successful NIH application whether it's an r15 or not right and so let's start there it needs to be hypothesis driven you need preliminary data I'm going to come back to that point because I know the r15 says preliminary data isn't required it's required unfortunately and it doesn't have to be like you know it can be past data it can be past publications but you need something you need something in those sections and we'll talk a little bit about that um NIH tends to be more incremental in nature right you know I compare NIH and nsf as like two different worlds sometimes some of you may or may not be familiar with national science foundation grants but I'll I'll draw a couple comparisons and and try to compare the two but you know in NIH slow and steady wins the race in ni nsf for example if it isn't novel if it isn't unique if it if it isn't out there that'll often kill it for NIH if you go too far out ahead uh that actually is deemed quote overly ambitious um and and and it's rarely rarely does much when it comes to that they like incremental progress so remember that when you're thinking about your ideas it have to be good ideas don't get me wrong but they can't be so far out there uh that like you would do maybe for an nsf grant most institutes act as silos and I've found that in my experience nsf uh plays much better in the sandbox with one another they can work across you know their directorates and say hey how about you and I have fun this proposal I mean it fits in your world it fits in my world let's both fund it NIH rarely does anything like that it's a big criticism of NIH they're trying to do a better job but they're very very siloed because you think about some of your work you know this is going to be one of the things I challenge you to do is what institute and what study section to go to that's a hard call sometimes right for me you know studying for me my r01 that I eventually got funded I took two or three tries at getting that into nhlbi because it was cardiovascular in nature it was looking at the impact of alcohol on overnight blood pressure control morning reactivity all kinds of things and uh it just wasn't getting anywhere and so I moved over to ni triple a and eventually got it funded many good ideas often straddle institutes and sometimes hard to determine which institute to go for so we'll talk talk a little bit about that remember that NIH is a two-step review process right your first goal is to make sure your peers acknowledge this as important work and that's at the study section level but don't forget about that next level review so just because you get a good priority score out of the study section does not mean that thing will be funded you will need an advocate both at the study section level but also at that next level where where oftentimes your your cut line is so tight that having a program officer who understands your work who values your work and most importantly who sees that your work is going to advance his or her portfolio is important and I'm going to come back to that point a little while um NIH is less concerned about the educational aspect with the exception of some programs like this one and so I want to talk about the r15 and how you need to weave some of the educational stuff into it but they don't have like a quote broader impact section like you'd see in an nsf grant study section rosters are regularly published in advance this is good reconnaissance this is fair game for you to look at those study section rosters and determine hey are these people that I at least recognize that that are going to recognize my work that I see at conferences I mean of course you want to avoid conflicts of interest and they'll have to declare conflicts of interest if they exist but you know this is a great opportunity for you to figure out who's going to be reviewing your grants and to try to develop a relationship and network with those individuals that's very different than nsf you don't know those things ahead of time and then finally you get two shots reviewers will definitely see your first review comments on a resubmission and you got to take that into account if you decide to resubmit the new ao submission policy has changed that somewhat but that's still that's still the case now unique to the r15 right these are for only institutions below a certain NIH expenditure threshold three-year projects 300 000 a direct cost almost all the institutes and centers at NIH participate there are three standard deadlines uh equidistance throughout the 12 months every four months or so there's a deadline and I'm going to come back to a concept called leapfrogging where I believe you need to come up with two really good ideas and just keep leap frogging those deadlines that can get you through a few cycles grants are renewable for some people I've I have colleagues former colleagues at Michigan tech that have sustained their entire career off the r15 mechanism they don't require that much money the resources and in it and they publish like crazy off of it and so the r15 for some areas in some fields can be a a help sustain a career I think though that what you would want to do is try to diversify your portfolio and eventually work your way up to other mechanisms like the r21 like the r01 and other ones down the road and then I've mentioned this before but I can't emphasize it enough they claim preliminary data is not required reality is otherwise these study sections are expecting you to show something even if it's previously published work that you acknowledge and show your expertise and um and relates to the grant idea that you have what I see and I've I've sat on many many study sections um and and I've I've reviewed r15s I've reviewed all ones one thing that I think makes a difference in r15s and and here's a key thing to remember in most study sections the review panels go through at least my experiences they go through all the ro ones the established investigators the r21 and then near the end of the meeting they they often take on the r15s in that in that area sometimes there's a specific r15 panel and that's actually kind of nice when that's the case but other times it's not the case number one they're still going to require good science you're still going to have to have good hypotheses all right you need to connect to the institute mission and I'll talk a little bit about that number two don't ignore the exposure to undergraduate students to the research this is a fundamental aspect of the r15 and I'm going to share with you some examples of how I've approached that when I was submitting the r15s this is often one of those intangibles that makes a big difference because let's face it on an r15 budget three years uh for three hundred thousand dollars you you just can't do as much as say somebody can on an r01 so you can think in these study sections where an individual is just shifting their attention to all these amazing projects right and then we go to r15s which are going to be smaller in scale just because of the cost and they're going to be looking okay it's it's good science but then there's a few maybe three four proposals on this and the one that can often stand out as the one that took the time to really talk about how undergraduates are going to be exposed to the research and incorporated into the research and then and then lastly how does the grant strengthen the quote research environment at the institution each of you come from a different institution that is in a different stage of its development with its health sciences its biomedical sciences you need to connect you need to connect to program development that's occurring on your campus key initiatives so if you're if you're opening up a new program for me I was able to leverage the fact that we were building and growing a kinesiology program and that my grants were always helping that program I also benefited and would always attack on if the university was building a new building or or partnering with the hospital talk about your research environment how this grant will help uh continue to advance your your campus-wide environment so here's a couple of specifics right I thought I'd share with you some specifics I pulled from my former grants this is an r15 I had funded uh looking at the impact of sleep deprivation on cardiovascular control and and here's my aim three and this is a little bit I mean some people don't agree with this pro this technique you know they say you got to have three scientific aims what I have found to be very successful and again this may or may not work for you is to have two really good scientific aims so my scientific aims for this project were to look at the impact of sleep deprivation on the nervous system because I use a very unique technique where I directly measure the sympathetic nervous system and then I and then the second aim was looking at the impact of total sleep deprivation um on the cardiovascular reactivity variables that we were collecting during that study and the impact of women sex differences women versus men we were big on looking at sex differences in our laboratory and so my two my first two scientific games were structured that way but then I called out my third aim which was not hypothesis driven so I know I'm contradicting myself by saying it's got to be hypothesis driven keep in mind the majority of your aims have to be by hypothesis driven this one here was very actionable this was to provide undergraduate students from an area eligible institution an opportunity to fully engage in biomedical research related to sleep and cardiovascular physiology and then I went on to talk about why that's so unique how my team which included quote a neurocardiovascular physiologist a board-certified sleep physician who was in the area and willing to collaborate with me on this biostatistician from our math math department two prominent scientists in the field that I had on as consultants one from the university of chicago and an autonomic physiologist so talk about what makes your team unique and why that's going to be such a great training ground for your undergraduate students second piece of advice I can give you good good good conceptual figures speak thousands of words right these reviewers are going to have very little time to look at these grants your primary and secondary and tertiary reviewers will but the other 30 panel members are going to be kind of sifting through this as a sp if it's being discussed first of all and uh it's nice to have these conceptual figures here's one as an example for you to draw from where I talk about our subject street screening inclusion criteria I hit on some of the highlights and then most importantly I talk about my primary measurements my secondary measurements and then in this study we were specifically wanting to look at the impact of sleep deprivation and and I said before on men versus women and we had already done a research study looking at young men and young women and I was drawing upon that and then I was saying for this study we want to collect data on 20 older men 20 older women we were predicting 75 percent retention again you got to address those things because reviewers are going to say hey they don't even think that they're going to have any any attrition and then we ended with a sample size of n equals 15 15 which would have been very close to our previous published work here's another conceptual figure just as an example again not not that this is how you got to do it but um when I got to my method section I wanted to talk about what we were doing and so that they could follow that in kind of a timeline and so we recruit and screen 20 older men 20 older women we do the neurovascular instrumentation which takes about 45 minutes we do a baseline we do a valsalva maneuver we do a cold presser test we do mental stress and you can see here where I'm pointing back again every chance I get pointing the reviewers back to how does this relate to the aims this is for specific aim one this is our comp this is our our bread and butter for specific aim two and then I reiterate our key measurements and then tell them they'll return after one month and do the opposite uh in a crossover design finally you have a 12 page limitation for your research strategy right and and some people will say don't put anything in that research strategy about your educational focus I actually think that that's wrong advice I have always found reviewers and when I review grants appreciative of that's that stuff being pulled out and and put into the research strategy and not just buried into that other resources section where they point you to and so here's some text about my previous experiences um with undergrad and grad students I talk about how I've been in that position since 2006 regularly engaging undergrads and grad students in both funded and unfunded research projects I talk about some of the key conferences that we go to that how I will mentor them I talk about our responsible conduct and research training our biomedical ethics course that that'll require them to take and I talk about how in just two paragraphs how I'm going to engage the undergraduates in research and then this is something unique I developed that I strongly recommend you think about is if you have a history of undergraduate research especially getting undergrads on publications you can do something like this so and again all of you are likely at a different stage some of you just starting out and saying geez I don't have a single publication with an undergrad on it well start it start start getting your undergrads working with you they can build figures they can help you with drafting they can help write the results section or the methods section get your undergrads on those publications because you're competing against this I mean at one point I was r15 eligible and I would usually almost always score on these r15 grants it is often times even on the first submission but I would talk about at that point when I submitted this grant I'd had 29 national international conference abstracts of graduate students 10 with undergrad students 19 peer-reviewed publications with grad students nine with undergrad students two externally graduate student funded fellowships four undergraduate fellowships through different societies and go and so on and so I'm pointing these things out again trying to make it easy for the reviewers to go back and see how am I committed to that mission of the r15 area mission which is to help with undergraduate research all right so those are the things I think are really specific I hope some of that will help we can you know drill in later on on it back to this idea that there's two levels of review right I cannot emphasize enough that you need to take and develop different strategies for each of these two levels of review your first one is the study section those are your peers second one is your is your institute center council of which your program officer is going to play a role here's kind of how it works um I'm sure many of you already know this but you know you get a great idea you submit an application it goes to the center for scientific review for assignment all right I want to talk about what you need to do right there before you even submit that grant to ensure that that center for scientific review doesn't just put your proposal in with whatever study section they think is best I mean equate it to this would you for those of you that in your fields it's very common to submit a journal publication and you're allowed to suggest some some potential reviewers usually take advantage of that to give the associate editor some idea of hey these are people who at least kind of have some knowledge they don't have conflicts with my my project or my manuscript but these would be people that I would recommend and you can consider them same thing with NIH you want to try to see the into the right study section then it'll go through review after the scientific review process it will go to the institute for the advisory council review and then ultimately the institute director makes the final decision so there's a lot of steps I really break it down into two you gotta clear the hurdle with the study section and you gotta have your advisory council program officer advocation process at that second level of review in order to tee it up so that when the institute signed director signs off on all these grants going out yours is one of them all right so let's start here you can do a lot of great reconnaissance on study sections you can go to www.csr.NIH.gov I I brought that page up I'm going to bring it over to the to the to the slide right now it's changed since I have had that particular one here's what it looks like so what you can do here is you can go ahead and search study sections by keywords by titles whatever so I would normally ask you for uh examples but we don't have the ability to do that so I'm just going to show you like I'm interested in sleep as you know so I type in sleep and look at all the study sections that pop up for me right this these all have some sort of language within their descriptions about things related to sleep now I usually go to the mesh study section but it's good for me to scan these and they change often and the priorities change and my ideas change but what this allows you to do is you can click on one of these and you can see their description right this is one that is is is interested in psychological stress physical mental illness across the life span it covers that was the one where I got my ro1 um um funded so you just never know so uh and then here I want to bring over another another slide so you all are thinking well which institute do I go to right well sometimes that's based off of your your proposal sometimes it's based off your interest levels but you also have another opportunity to do some more reconnaissance to determine what is the success rate of a particular institute when it comes to the r15 mechanism and here's a here's the website for that it always follows the the budget and spending patterns of NIH and if you click under research project grants you can search by all kinds of different types of grants right if you're interested in r01s or whatever but right here is this academic research enhancement award competing application success rates funding by center institute and I've already downloaded it I'm going to pull it over here to the screen so you can kind of see it this is another one of those things where you got to take the time to try to learn more about a particular institute or center and so this gives you data all the way back to 2010 and it kind of shows you like where the where the where the funding is for different centers and institutes I'm going to just go ahead and kind of skip down to the most recent year but it's kind of valuable sometimes to um to follow patterns within a center an institute but here's kind of the latest data that they have in 2019 I know that's very hard to see and I tried to find a way to blow this up um there we go okay so here's 19. now I go to nhlbi sometimes but I also depending on the area it's gone other places so I mentioned my one grant could have been to nhlbi 144 applications they funded 25 of them for a success rate of 17 uh which is about their average they fund usually 15 to 20 but then there's other ones like um niams who fought very little national institute of alcohol abuse and alcohol look at that there were 23 applications only one funded probably and so you can kind of look and see like does this institute even though they have the r15 mechanism do they really value it and and this is where you see that this is where the bread and butter of it and the reality is all of them have it typically not all of them value it at the same level I have found nhlbi does um nigms clearly does look at that they have the most submissions but they fund nearly 33 I mean one out of three that's a pretty darn good success rate if you can fit into the nigms um um narrative national cancer institute not as much you can imagine right they get a lot of big grants and it's really hard with three hundred thousand dollars to move the peg on cancer research but it can be done and you need to make that case but only about 10 success rate so that's another thing that I think you need to do is spend a little bit of time using the data and mining the data at NIH to determine hey is this the center institute I really want to spend and invest my time in all right lastly keep track of your applications all right once it's submitted there's still a chance that um that you can still maybe get it maneuvered into us a different study section if it's initially assigned into a particular po portfolio or whatever so you go to your uh here's just an example of my era commons from when I was r15 eligible right I can see that it got assigned to nhlbi that I requested it I can see that it got assigned to the cics study section which is what I requested I can view later on the meeting roster not much you can do about that they post those about one month ahead of time don't don't reach out to those individuals um it's it's not allowed it's poor taste and everything those individuals will be the ones to review and don't don't don't bug them after the meeting either to ask them for the reviews they all sign confidentiality statements and ultimately down the road you're going to want to look like this I of course you picked out the one where you know I got a really good percentile score I want to show you I'll show you in a moment the number of ones that I've been rejected on but so this grant when this hit and I saw that it was scored in the fourth percentile so I thought okay this thing's this thing's probably likely to be funded which is great other times you get a big nd there not discussed and that's really heartbreaking and to show you that heartbreak you can see here's just a snapshot from one of mine a while back there not discussed not discussed not discussed not discussed not discussed not discussed not discussed awarded awarded you know council review completed those ultimately didn't go through so you know you have to be persistent last thing um investigate your peers NIH reporter is such a powerful tool I'm again going to bring this over here spend some time on this thing you can search by pi name by organization by the mechanism let's take a look at this r15 r15 right and let's say you want to you want to look at r15s that are in the area of [Music] hypertension right I do that search and I'm going to get every grant funded right now off of an r15 related to hypertension and so what you can start to do there is you can start to see how people are structuring their grants so let's just look at let's see if I can find one here's a here's a colleague of mine all right from Michigan tech looking at mindfulness and neural cardiovascular control it talks it gives you the abstract which is really just a condensed down version of the um of the specific aim so kind of gives you an idea how they're approaching it but if you click on this details tab this is where I find a lot of really cool information right you can see uh two things who's the program officer right and the program officer is listed right here paula and horn and once you start mining these things and you and you and you search either r15 specific or beyond the r15 um and you start to develop you see these names over and over again of these people in your area that's the po you want to develop a relationship with because that po is going to likely be the one to get your grant assigned to them and and maybe be that person to help pull it across the finish line the other thing that helps is you can see the study section that it goes to and here you can see it went to that mesh study section that I that I talked about earlier and so you start to get an idea that hey this is maybe this is maybe where um I want to go and so I really encourage you to spend some time on NIH reporter you can search active project you can actually even check all and look at all projects funded through NIH back to 1985 if you didn't restrict it by a mechanism and you just typed in whatever it might be for your topic area all those grants will come up and you can just mine them and mine them and mine them I have spent literally hours printing off abstracts and trying to see the competitive advantage that I can gain by trying to get it in the right study section and with the right program officer okay institute priorities I talked about the importance of this right you need to to make sure that once your peers have said this is a good idea that the institute thinks it's a good idea so for me in the field of sleep I always go to the national heart lung and blood institute because they have what's called the national center on sleep disorders research and every so often they release a strategic plan on that research and I and I and I look at that plan and I make sure that I always end my grant the same way so if there's another nugget that I can share with you this is something I was home grown so no guarantees it'll work for you but it's always worked for me is I end my 12-page narrative by connecting it to the institute and I do this so that if and when my grant gets a good priority score and my po is trying to advocate for me at the council level I can say look at my last page I always have a relevance of the proposed research to your institute mission and they always appreciate that and here you can see that so I talk a little bit about how in 2011 the national center on sleep disorders released an updated research plan this plan included five overarching goals I believe that this proposal cuts across three of those five broad goals number one understand sleep and circadian functions across yada yada yada blank and then they get to finally life span well my study was looking at the impact of older men and women whereas all the previous research had been done on young men and women goal two identified genetic pathophysiological environmental cultural factors sex and gender differences bingo my grant's right on that and then finally goal five of the of the strategic plan enables sleep and circadian research training and so I talk about how there's very few opportunities for undergrads to learn about sleep science and sleep research outside of a medical university and so the all three of those things my p.o told me were very helpful in getting this thing pulled across the finish line all right I want to stop there so that we have some time um to have share some discussion with one another I'm going to stop my share screen all right well Jason that was excellent thank you very much for that you know tour through you know your you know perspective and also you know walking us through some of the some of the things that people I don't think realize how important they are some of this background things you know do your research you know we spend so much time thinking about our science and writing our proposal from a science perspective but I think a lot of times we miss the connections you know make sure you're submitting it to the right place and make sure that you've done everything you can to make those connections with that institute with those people who are going to be reading your proposal I think that's just such good advice thanks Brian yeah I really tell you I I often have said this over the years as I've I've mentored you know people in my own department as a department head and then at the college level as an associate dean um is half half half to maybe two thirds of the process is the good idea the other part is these other little intangible things that you can do and we don't put enough time and energy into those so I see a couple questions here should I go ahead and try to answer some of these here I I think they're good questions um the first one the first one is is it important to have a record working with both undergrad grad students or is evidence of working uh working with undergrads enough that's a great question um I have always found that it's it's important to to show both but those are the study sections that I'm into right and and and so it really depends I think on the culture of of of that and like I'm seeing I may have made a mistake here too on something like so the r15 mechanism is dependent upon like a college level terminal degree type of situation right and so it I I'm actually now thinking I see sally moyes here that that like certain colleges can sometimes be eligible even within a broadly non-eligible university so I I'm actually going to look back at that maybe our college of nursing is eligible for the r15 mechanism here you know but I'm glad you're on sally and either way this these these things um are applicable either with or without uh a lot of this is just good good grantsmanship no matter if it's r15 or not but yeah for the r15 I do think they put more weight to undergraduate research but um but but I do think that they pay attention to the graduate research as well if if it's available and in some cases it's not some some some universities they don't have a grad program and that's why you justify having a predominantly undergrad um undergrad uh resume the other question that's asked in the in the chat is do you have suggestions about how to develop relationships with pos that's another great question um here's what I've found is that nsf has a culture where they they they very much have a culture where you can go to alexandria pre-covet of course visit face-to-face sit down with the program manager they they that's their culture they're they're welcoming NIH is a little bit more standoffish you have to take a different approach when you're when you're trying to develop a relationship with a po and what I found is this in my field and I know this may not be the case everywhere but in my field the NIH program officers go to one or two big conferences a year and in my field if they are all at sleep it's the biggest conference that we have they're there and I um I make it a point to seek those individuals out often they have panel sessions anyway where they're talking about NIH and the priorities of NIH related to sleep or whatever it is but then I make it a point to hang around introduce myself say hey would you mind coming by my poster and I don't have time okay that's okay but they would follow up and they get to know me and by by the time you do that three or four times you start to develop that relationship so that if and when you're in washington dc you feel more comfortable reaching out and saying hey do you mind if I swing by I've got a I've got a couple specific aims pages that I'd like for you to review that can be incredibly helpful now we're all needing to adjust in the covet age it's not that those things can't happen over email or via zoom or webex but it's just not the same best thing I can tell you is try to find the conferences where your program officers go to make sure you're at those conferences once we get out into this new normal um and develop those relationships with them at those conferences if that can't be done nothing wrong with sending a cold a cold call uh type of email saying hey I'm so-and-so from university x I I do research in x I have a couple good idea a couple white papers or specific aims pages I would love for you to vet would it be okay if I sent them don't send them right away right establish some sort of rapport connection with them they may not answer you may need to send a reminder a week later they may not answer that and then you have to figure out is there another po that you can get to so NIH I would not maybe Brian maybe your experience is different I don't consider NIH to be super user friendly when it comes to establishing relationships with your pos but once you develop that relationship you can steward that relationship and I can assure you the reason my last ro1 got funded was because of the relationship that I had with that po it was right on the cut line and he drug that sucker right across the finish line for me because he said this is in my portfolio I want this funded and he asked me for a five-page rebuttal to the to the to the uh reviews and and he he helped pull that thing across so and that took me two or three years to establish that relationship multiple rejections of that idea but he kept telling me this is a good idea don't give up on it this is a good idea and he ultimately helped help me in the end so I think it's very important to develop those po relationships and there's just different tax to take with it but it is still a person-to-person sort of um process I don't know Brian any other thoughts on that well you know I would kind of I mean I totally agree and I guess the the funny connection I would make is you know it's a bit like dating just if you ask one person out and you give up you're probably never going to have a date so if you send one email to a po and they don't reply you can't give up yeah you gotta send them another email find another appeal find somebody that will talk with you you know and you have to be tactful you can't be too pushy but at the same time you can't just not do anything or you won't get anywhere so it's you know learning that balance yeah no doubt no doubt I see in the chat you know uh so clearly we've got some MSU folks on here and it said that you know we nursing used to be eligible and NIH made changes and I do remember those changes from a few years back okay there's two different categories of uh the the r15 now I would bet we may be eligible because it's based upon your college and it's based upon do you have a terminal clinical degree like pt so say we had a college of health professions and the college of health professions had a terminal doctorate in physical therapy that college can still be eligible where the rest of campus is not so I would bet that the college of nursing can fit into that category through its doctorate in nursery program the dnp program and thereby is eligible for the r15 but we'd have to look into that a little bit more and so I'll follow up on that um elizabeth well Jason so there's one question in the q a section and an investigator is asking about a collaboration for example between an MSU investigator and someone at a tribal college or let's say be done at the tribal college could you comment on that and how it might be possible yeah thanks uh and and for pointing me I was looking at the chat so we were answering chat questions so now let's go yeah sorry the queue there was a q a tab um so yes partnerships are are welcomed and in fact I've seen um and people are people often say well can I you know let's say somebody at MSU northern wanted to to submit a proposal and they wanted a co-investigator here on Montana state's campus or university of Montana's campus where they're ineligible um from for most of these with the exception of maybe the college that has that the dpt program yes you can do that it's encouraged and you can even have relationships outside of Montana too like my first r15 I had a clinical investigator at mayo clinic he was a an individual who knew my my doctoral advisor I developed a relationship he was very well funded in the r01 field doing research and similar related and and I asked him if he would you know collaborate with me on this didn't give him any pay he was fine with that ultimately you know it was more of a mentorship thing than anything else so I was able to put him on that grant he wrote a letter of support for me saying hey look at look this this guy he's in my field I'm happy to to mentor and help him along the way mayo clinic is only six hours away we'll we'll meet we'll meet physically twice a year twice here at mayo I'll go there once you know and so we had that all in there and I can tell you I think that that really helps so yes uh you can have partners at other campuses and then could an MSU investigator partner with a tribal college faculty to submit r15 through the tribal college for work benefiting the tribal college community absolutely the tribal colleges are eligible and that they would have the pi would have to come from that tribal college community but an MSU faculty member could be part of that now you can't have more than 50 percent of the time and the budget and other things allocated to that non-non r15 eligible institution so they'd have to be which is great right we always talk about being equitable and having true partnerships with our tribal partners this this this guarantees it because of the mechanism that at least if not more than 50 of those resources need to stay locally some could come here and you know we have a relationship I know with at least one investigator over at Montana state university billings where they do research but they house their animals here on Montana state's campus for example and then we work it out so there's yes there's different ways that the universities can collaborate we Montana state cannot submit an r15 with the potential exception of college of nursing however our other partner institutions can and they could potentially leverage some of the resources here at Montana state heck they could even use you know the core facilities here you know Brian oversees a core facility related to you know spectrometry and other things we've got our center for biofilm engineering that could be leveraged so you know when you think about ideas don't restrict them to ideas where everything has to be on your campus leverage some of the resources on some of the other campuses and have subcontracts with your partners at those at those other institutions okay I see in the q a tracy does say um that they've looked into a college nursing is not eligible for the r15 um so that could be the case uh I I I there are two different categories for it um and and how they determine that has changed in in the recent years so it very well could be that they're not but again a lot of the conversations I think we're having are just around grand competitiveness in general there's certain things specific to the r15 like the educational components and things of that nature but searching on um NIH reporter spending time investigating the study sections developing a relationship with appeal those are things you do no matter what type of mechanism you're applying for yeah that's true Jason it doesn't matter if it's a r15 r03 r01 yeah you got to do that background yes I think we made it through all of the q and a in the chat that I've seen Brian is there anything else out there that we should uh we should try to address I know I think we we've caught all the questions you know I'll just say one more you know emphasize the point you made about for example getting a letter of collaboration or mentorship you know with with somebody else who's more established in the field you know sometimes I think people have the idea I have to do this all on my own and this is you know my thing you know yes but if you can show you've got support or you know a letter where someone that's really established in the field is willing to be your mentor that goes a long way in these study sections and giving people confidence hey this person can do this and you know if they run into a problem look who is standing behind them is going to help them and you know those kind of things they just give your proposal that little edge of oh wow I you know I like this work and I also am pretty confident they're going to get it done and that's the other thing you really want to sell people on is that you can accomplish those goals um and you know NIH right now is really big on mentorship um you know that is one of kind of their primary things I mean my role in Montana INBRE has a lot to do with mentorship alex adams who I saw on this meeting earlier the director of care the same thing that's her job as director really is mentorship getting people you know to that position where they're on their own but you're never really on your own I have mentors still absolutely absolutely and I and I and I another thing is is as as time consuming as it can be I always learn by serving on a study section so I really try to take advantage of those opportunities I mean we could probably have multiple sessions about you know how to steward your career with NIH one of them is volunteer let let a scientific review officer which is uh another category and so as we're throwing these terms around you know what's a peo what's an sro I mean we could I've had sessions just on those two things but you know the NIH is looking for young investigators they're looking to diversify the study sections they're willing to take on junior people who sometimes maybe haven't necessarily hit on their first award to serve in this sort of junior review capacity man the first time I got a chance to sit on a study section was because a colleague a mentor I should say said hey I uh I got asked to be on the study section I can't do it I'm too busy but I suggested you so if I'd like to suggest you if I suggest your name will you take it I say absolutely and they called me and they asked me and I got to review nine applications two of those nine were discussed I learned so much through that process so there is a place on the NIH website where you can go and say raise your hand and say hey I'm interested in being on a study section and here's my background and here's my interest I encourage you to sign up to do that you will learn more than anything any other webinar you can ever take by sitting in a study section meeting and hearing and watching how that evolves yeah so well I hope I hope that's what you and sue were looking for and the audience was looking for Brian and happy to answer follow-on questions if they come up but uh thanks for inviting me to be part of this. Thank you for taking the time to provide this webinar. It was really informative, and just so everybody remembers, we've recorded this and we will be sending out the link to everybody, so please feel free to share that with your colleagues you think might be interested because that's the whole goal of these webinars is really to you disseminate information to get this information out there to help you. Thanks again, Jason. Thank you so much.