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Research Grant Training

The Compelling Research Proposal

How to Make an NIH/AHRQ Research Proposal Stand Out and Score at the Top

An NIH Research proposal (most commonly the R01, R21, R03) faces an uphill battle the minute it reaches the reviewers’ hands. The number of proposals are myriad, the quality is highly competitive, and there’s almost no room to truly convey what makes your proposal uniquely deserving of funding. Every inch of the document has to be outstanding—across numerous review criteria.

This full-day session will help you set your proposal apart. You’ll learn to decipher the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Develop a strong opening statement, the “hook,” that maintains its impact throughout document. Describe a hypothesis that is compelling and logical, specific aims that are crisp and independent, and innovation and significance statements that are compelling and outcomes driven.

More Than General Grant Writing

The Compelling Research Proposal will take you well beyond “writing up your science.” It will help you turn your research project into a clearly defined plan. We’ll explore how the successfully funded grant achieves not just scientific merit, but also administrative logic, uniqueness in the field, societal impact, and patient relevance. All are critical threads to articulate—then weave together into a proposal that moves logically from idea to outcomes.

Over this intensive session, we’ll also dig into the finer points of proposal development, including:


  • Eliminating the passive voice

  • Budgets that make sense

  • Turning a research plan into a business plan—because there’s money involved

  • Proving you know how to handle a budget

  • Institutional resources that go beyond boilerplates

  • Five questions for your program officer


Training will include concise exercises and live feedback that will allow you to put your ideas on paper and develop a well-refined outline.  

Your Differentiating Factor

The goal of The Compelling Research Proposal is to achieve one thing: make your proposal different. That means discovering, defining, and declaring your differentiating factor. Within this training session, you’ll gain the tools to set yourself apart. Remember, reviewers are sifting through stacks of proposals. Your chance to shine starts now.

Experienced Trainers

Jon Zurn is the Director of the Strategic Funding Office for Research at Mayo Clinic, one of the leading medical research centers in the United States. He has worked with hundreds of researchers on R Series grants and brings that knowledge and experience throughout The Compelling Research Proposal.

The Best One-Day Research Grants Course Available

The Compelling Research Proposal packs succinct, yet thorough, information into an efficient single day of hands-on training. Moreover, the course is timed to give you a solid twelve weeks to prepare for the next round of NIH R-Series deadlines. You’ll even finish the day will a well-designed timeline to keep you the process manageable and avoid last-minute rushes.

Register Early

Only a limited number of spots are available. To secure yours today, register now for the next session

March 16, 2018, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Augsburg College

Oren Gateway Center, Room 104
2211 Riverside Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55454

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