Grant-Writing Symposium

A Symposium on Grant Writing has been scheduled for March 18 - 19, 2010. UTHSC is pleased to have Dr. Robert Porter present this topic directed at clinical and basic science researchers who are faculty, stass, postdocs or residents. Light refreshments will be served in the lobby.


Robert Porter, Ph. D., has presented grant writing workshops at leading universities and medical schools nationally. Currently Director of Research Development at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Dr. Porter has thirty years' experience as a tenured professor, private consultant and research administrator. His proposals have won more than $5 million in awards from government agencies and private foundations. He has presented papers and workshops on grant writing at national conferences and has published prize-winning articles on this subject in the Journal of Research Administration. Dr. Porter has previously taught at Swarthmore College, Susquehanna University and Eastern Washington University. He holds graduate degrees in Speech Communications from the University of Michigan.

Session Agenda:

Finding Funding Thursday, March 18 10 a.m. - 12 noon
Writing Successful Grants Thursday, March 18 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Building the NIH Grant Proposal Friday, March 19 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon
Career Development Grants for Pre- and PostDocs Friday, March 19 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Related Documents (will be posted prior to the symposium)

Symposium slides (will be posted prior to the symposium)


On-Site Lunch Options

Jointly sponsored by the Department of Preventive Medicine, the UTHSC Office of Research and the UTK Office of Research, the symposium will be held in the Freeman Auditorium in the Hamilton Eye Institute on the 3rd floor of the 930 Madison building. Light refreshments will be served in the auditorium lobby.

  • Registration is available at http://xxxxx

Please contact Dr. Karen Johnson, or Dr. Deborah Smith, for more information.

Session Topics:

Finding Funding

The search for funding can be both time consuming and frustrating. Online databases are becoming increasingly important in helping scholars to quickly identify potential sponsors for their research. This "hands on" workshop will focus on the use of powerful tools such as Community of Science, the Foundation Center and Search techniques for web sites of federal agencies will also be covered, with plenty of time for participants to practice their skills. (Note: This workshop requires the participant to bring a laptop computer with wireless capability.)

Writing Successful Grants

For those who are new to the grant game, this introductory workshop covers basic principles of good grant writing, starting with the phrasing of a compelling research theme to the actual construction of the proposal itself. Major differences between traditional "academic prose" and persuasive grant writing are highlighted. Common pitfalls that can lead to early rejection of good ideas are reviewed, matched with practical strategies for better writing. Special attention will be paid to the perspectives of grant reviewers and how to write in ways that will meet their expectations.

  • Killer mistakes in grant writing and how to avoid them
  • Two critical steps that will double your chances for success
  • How to win over the grant reviewer
  • Simple keys to a more powerful writing style
  • Visualization: Using illustrations to "sell" your project

Building the NIH Grant Proposal

The complex requirements of an NIH grant proposal place extreme demands on the grant writer. From the tight logic of the Hypothesis/Specific Aims section to the minute details of the Research Design, the exacting format requires precise adherence to guidelines. This workshop will focus on key principles for effective writing in each major component of the proposal. Samples from successful proposals will be cited, with special attention to a model R01 proposal, annotated by NIH staff.

  • Overview of NIH Mission, Structure and Budget
  • Characteristics of Successful Proposals
  • The Abstract: Last written, First Read
  • Hypothesis/Specific Aims: Crafting a Solid Foundation
  • Tips for Writing: Background & Significance, Preliminary Data, Research Design
  • Translational Research: Implications of the NIH Roadmap
  • The NIH Grant Review Process

Career Development Grants for Pre- and PostDocs

This session will focus on NSF and NIH grants that support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as they transition through critical career stages, from the initial graduate research fellowship on to becoming an independent investigator with faculty status. We will examine the purpose and structure of NSF Fellowship programs, and Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants as well as NIH funding mechanisms such as F awards, K awards, and the new Pathway to Independence. Requirements unique to career development proposals will be described, and successful proposals will be used to illustrate principles of effective writing. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Choosing the appropriate award track for your career stage
  • Anatomy of a typical career award proposal
  • Understanding the grant review process
  • Contacting grant program officers

Related documents:

Handouts will be posted about one week prior to the symposium.

Symposium slides:

Slides will be posted about one week prior to the symposium.

Parking is available in the Madison Parking Garage. Entrances to the garage are located both on Madison Avenue one light west of Pauline Street and on Court Avenue across from the Coleman Building. The parking fee is $3.00/3 hours, $3.25/6 hours, and $3.75/12 hours. The garage does not offer in and out privileges. Handicap accessible spaces are available. This garage is marked H on the map located at
On site lunch options:
Several food vendors are located in the Madison complex plaza level. Most open at 7:30 with some breakfast items and all will be open at lunch. Prices for lunch with a beverage vary between $5.00 and $10.00 These are:

Einsteins Bros. Bagels –Features breakfast options, bagel lunch sandwiches, wraps, and salads, espresso and beverage selection. They also have a variety of salads and other snacks available.

Mondo Subs –Features hot or cold subs and seasoned warm chips.

Madison Café - The Madison Cafe features a rotating cuisine bar, a daily special, along with pizza, calzone, and burgers. There is also a daily selection of desserts.

TuckersFeatures burgers, chicken strips, baked potatoes, salads, pizza, calzones, assorted desserts, and ice cream.