Jump to content
Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, VCU Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Family Medicine and Population Health Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center

VCU Department of Family Medicine

Research

Project description

The following information outlines the GGP fellowship project to prepare prospective fellows and their department chairs or program directors.

  1. Select a mentor.
  2. Write a concept paper.
  3. Develop the proposal.
  4. Review, revise and submit the proposal.
  5. Opportunities for further development.

1. Select a mentor.

In the process of applying for the GGP fellowship, or as soon as possible after acceptance into the GGP, fellows must identify a mentor. The mentor may be an experienced researcher/grant writer from their own department or program, or from another department, university or program, who agrees to consult with the fellow on a regular basis throughout the year as he or she completes a grant proposal.

2. Write a concept paper.

Prior to the first GGP workshop, fellows should have their proposed research studies well conceptualized and should review and revise their concept papers with their mentor. During the workshop, GGP fellows refine their concept paper-writing skills through a didactic session, review of successful federal and private foundation concept papers, and in-depth review and critique of each GGP fellow’s concept paper. Fellows work on revision of their own concept papers and prepare the abstract and specific aims sections of their grant proposals during and after the workshop, meeting with faculty as needed in individual mentoring sessions to facilitate development of the paper.

Following the workshop, fellows finalize their concept papers, submit them to prospective funding agencies and begin drafting their proposals. Final concept papers must also be submitted to the GGP program office by the specified deadline.

3. Develop the proposal.

In the following months, fellows continue to develop their grant proposals, first working on the research plan and other critical sections, then developing the full grant proposal.

Fall and winter workshops will include didactic sessions and individual consultation to help fellows with:

  • Moving from concept paper to proposal
  • Formulating the research question
  • Research team composition
  • Literature search and bibliography
  • Timeline organization and delegation of tasks
  • Using editors and grant writers effectively
  • Understanding the elements of a successful mentoring relationship
  • Common methods and design issues
  • Preparing a budget and budget justification
  • Data management and statistical analysis
  • Refining and revising the proposal
  • Other specific issues raised by GGP fellows

Printed and internet-link resources will also be provided to assist fellows in the grant-writing process.

Feedback on each fellow’s specific research proposal is provided as drafts, in various stages of development, are reviewed and critiqued by GGP faculty, consultants and other fellows. It is anticipated that fellows will also receive feedback from funding agencies in response to their concept papers. Mentors will provide an additional source of feedback, as well as assist fellows in interpreting the feedback from various sources and addressing concerns that are raised.

Grant proposals require time and tending and it is expected that fellows will be given the week following each GGP workshop to devote entirely to proposal revision. After each workshop, the changes identified for a proposal are fresh in the fellow’s mind and it is the best time to spend dedicated time on the proposal. The greater the time and effort the fellow puts into proposal development and writing, the greater the chance of funding success.

4. Review, revise and submit the proposal.

Following the Richmond, Va., GGP workshop in February and prior to the annual Society of Teachers of Family Medicine meeting in April/May, GGP fellows’ proposals are reviewed by their mentors, appropriate revisions made and the revised proposals submitted for a “mock” study section review.

Each proposal is assigned to reviewers with study section review experience. During the pre-STFM workshop, participants observe a simulated study section review of their own grants using the federal study section approach as a model. Fellows do not participate in, but observe the review, in an effort to simulate an actual study section, and they are expected to take detailed notes during the review of their individual proposal, as well as during the review of other proposals for review comments and suggestions that may also be applicable to their own proposal. This session not only provides a thorough critique of each proposal, but also gives fellows insight regarding how a study section actually operates.

As a follow-up to the study section, participants meet with GGP consultants to facilitate revision of their grant proposal based on the feedback received and identify information needed to further revise their grants upon returning home.

Based on previous experience, most fellows will need to complete one or two more drafts prior to the final submission to a funding agency. For example, in 1999-00 at the end of the final GGP workshop, approximately 50 percent of fellows were ready to submit after another modest revision while the other 50 percent required two more drafts before submission.

GGP fellows generally submit their proposal to funding agencies on the June 1 cycle, although this may vary depending on the nature of the proposal and the funding agency involved.

5. Opportunities for further development.

Often, the initial grant proposal submissions will not be funded. In most cases this is the expected experience with a federal grant. Consequently, all stages of the GGP will prepare fellows for this possibility and identify strategies to assist them in revision upon feedback from the formal study section.