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Grants Don't Come Out of the Sky

Posted on March 19, 2007

Stephen Hinshaw (bio) describes his first grantwriting attempts, and encourages early researchers to keep trying.

 

Did grants just come out of the sky? No, they didn't. It took, at first, using resources at my post-doc and at my assistant professorship, local university funding to get pilot data and get studies going. At that point, I knew I needed bigger money to do both studies of causal risk factors and studies of treatment interventions.

My dissertation had involved both medications and behavioral treatments for kids with what was then called hyperactivity and ADD, but getting the first grant is often the stumbling block. At that point the First Award mechanism was in place and the First Award got me started with a few years of funding to get launched, but I must say that my first First application was not a successful one.

It would have been unscored had they had grants unscored in those days and I got a score that was in the 300-range, but there was just enough encouragement in there. And I talked with a couple of senior faculty at my home institution then, my assistant professor home of UCLA, who said here's how to read the tea leaves, here's how to read what the summary statement says, and I went back in and I took it seriously and the next score was a 124, which was a really good score.

And you can't get discouraged. The system is really set up to encourage a lot of people to apply. The more people that apply, the more the government can say gee, we've got a need for this. But funding levels aren't always easy to attain. The success comes from people who stick with it, take feedback seriously, and keep after it.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in March 2006.

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