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Feedback is Fundamental

Posted on June 17, 2013

Eliana Perrin (bio) emphasizes the importance of getting early and wide-ranging feedback on grants.

 

I think the most important thing is to show your grant as you're writing it to as many people as are willing to read it and give you feedback. And then, again, remember that when you're at the stage where you have grants that you do that for someone else.

But for me, that was a really important thing that I had when I was writing my first K award. I had the associate deans looking at my grant, commenting on it. I had a grant writing group that was fabulous. And it enabled me to get my first K23 because I had had mock reviews, I had had people look at it — not just my mentors on the grant, and they were fabulous as well — but also a bunch of people sort of unaffiliated with the grant.

And I think it's important to get that feedback because not everybody in the room when your grant is reviewed are going to know a lot about your science and so it's really important that it be understandable to the educated lay public. And so making sure you're either in some kind of a group that facilitates that structure or that you're at least showing it to different kinds of people.

And not taking any of that feedback too harshly. You know, it's hard when you're writing your first grant to hear back from somebody, "Oh, this is really not working. This really needs a lot of help. This is not well written. This is not clear."

Those are hard things to hear, but you'd much rather hear them from people that you've shared the grant with before it goes in to the NIH [National Institutes of Health] or to a foundation. You'd much rather hear it and have a chance to fix it so that when it's being reviewed by the real committee it is understandable, it is clear, and your science doesn't get lost.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in 2013 at the North Carolina Translational & Clinical Sciences Institute.

The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute is the integrated home of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is supported through the NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) grant ULTR000083.

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