NIH Grant Writing Boot Camp: Methods for Framing Your Proposal to Create Reviewer Enthusiasm

Most recent NIH Grant Writing Boot Camp in NYC: July 15-16, 2019.


The NIH Grant Writing Boot Camp is a two-day intensive boot camp that combines lessons, discussions, and hands-on exercises to help you powerfully frame your grant proposal so that it generates enthusiasm in your reviewers and- to get you funded. 
Why take this training? Learn more here           



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Summer 2019 dates: July 15-16; 9:00am - 5:00pm

There are many grant writing workshops out there, but most just skim the surface of what really matters: the psychology of how your reviewers respond to what you put on the page, and how common mistakes in framing inevitably turn the tide against you.  As researchers, few of us are deeply versed in the skills of framing and reviewer psychology; yet these things determine the fate of our funding - and often our careers. This workshop is unique in that it dives into those things that truly matter, without the fluff like "how to follow instructions of the funder carefully." Whether you are new to grant writing, “thought you knew what you were doing” but aren’t getting the results you want, or simply want to learn some key elements to of being more persuasive in your proposals to become more efficient at writing, this course will teach you the Critical Path to Funding as a vehicle to get you there.   

This two-day intensive workshop will provide a rigorous introduction to the core framing elements that must be present to succeed in NIH grant proposals in our modern, tough environment. This course is led by an experienced team who has been in your shoes ‑ former and current faculty members with exemplary funding track records of their own using these methods, as well as helping others get over $20M funding for R01, R21, DoD, and foundation grants, with at least three perfect-scoring R01's we helped with. The boot camp will integrate seminar lectures with discussion sessions and hands-on activities to clarify core concepts to increase your efficiency and odds of funding. Please note that due to the high demand, individual participant proposals or proposal sections will not be reviewed by instructors - however, there will be a few hot seats to illustrate how the theory meets the practical implementation.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • Why certain things we write that seem innocuous may trigger deep, negative responses from reviewers
  • How certain frames that we often adopt by default ‑ without knowing we are doing it ‑ can sink your chances
  • Why grant proposals require a distinctly different approach than manuscripts ‑ one that most of us haven't been trained for
  • How to build (or kill) perceived value of your project with your reviewers
  • Why the number one mistake you can make is talking about you and your project too early in the proposal, and why this seems to conflict with advice given elsewhere
  • How to stop the cycles of procrastination and write more efficiently
  • The precise way to structure your aims to get reviewers excited before it's too late and they are looking for reasons to reject
  • Why the use of adjectives like innovative or novel (or many others) will actually have the opposite effect of what you're trying to accomplish with them - and what to do instead
  • How to use the Critical Path to Funding as a checklist to assure you have all the components that are necessary for success.
  • Why providing more facts and data often has the opposite of the intended effect, and can lead to higher chances of rejection
  • Why reviewers often don't (and can't) tell you the real reasons for a rejection - and why if you revise based on a literal interpretation of reviews, your chances of a score improvement are lower than you might like to think
  • And much more!

Investigators at all career stages are welcome to attend, and we particularly encourage trainees and early-stage investigators to participate to form a strong basis for funding early on, rather than developing bad habits that have to be changed later.


There are no prerequisites to attend the NIH Grant Writing Boot Camp. In order to make the most of the workshop, you’ll need to have an idea for a proposal you’d like to work on. You’ll also need to come with basic familiarity of the landscape of your field. You will need to bring a laptop or tablet to write on. If you have a previously rejected proposal you wish to work on, you can bring that ‑ along with the reviewer comments.


Training scholarships are available for the NIH Grant Writing Boot Camp.


The NIH Grant Writing Boot Camp will take place on the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) campus in New York City, specifically at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W. 168th Street, Allan Rosenfield Building 8th Floor Auditorium. Please note that the entrance to the building is on the 10th floor (training is located two floors below entrance).

General transportation and lodging information can be found in the Getting Around sectionA PDF map of the Boot Camp location on the CUIMC campus will be available closer to training dates. 


Morgan Giddings, PhD is the president of Marketing Your Science, LLC. She developed her chops in grant writing as a Faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology, Biomedical Engineering, and Computer Science. She went from six grant rejections in a row when starting out, to subsequently getting four R01’s funded in a row without any rejection or revision over a span of five years. She did this by completely revamping her approach to a reviewer-centric model. She began consulting with outside faculty in 2009, and based on overwhelming demand, started creating grant writing trainings in 2010. In 2013, she decided to focus on the training and mentoring to help other researchers as a full-time endeavor, leaving her faculty position.

Stefanie Robel, PhD is the head coach at Marketing Your Science, LLC and an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech. She trained in grant writing with Morgan Giddings since 2012.  When she started her tenure-track position in 2016 she hit the ground running bringing in over $6M in funding in her first two years as faculty member. In late 2017, Stefanie joined Morgan's team of coaches to help other academics hone their grant writing and leadership skills.


 Early-Bird Rate (through 5/31/19)Regular Rate (6/1/19 - 7/1/19)Columbia Discount*
Student/Postdoc/Trainee    $1,150 $1,35010%
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations  $1,350  $1,55010%
Corporate/For-Profit Organizations$1,550$1,750NA

*Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active student, postdoc, staff, or faculty at Columbia University. To access the Columbia discount, email for instructions.

Registration Fee: Fee includes course material, breakfast, lunch, and refreshment breaks. Course material will be available to all students after the workshop. Lodging and transportation are not included.  

Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 30 days prior to the workshop start date in order to receive a full refund, minus a $50 administrative fee. Cancellation notices received via email 14-29 days prior to the workshop will receive a 50% refund, minus a $50 administrative fee. Please email your cancellation notice to Due to workshop capacity, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations after these dates. 

If you are unable to attend the training, we encourage you to send a substitute within the same registration category. Please inform us of the substitute via email at least one week prior to the training to include them on attendee communications, updated registration forms, and materials. Should the substitute fall within a different registration category your credit card will be credited/charged respectively. Please email substitute inquiries to





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Questions? Email the Boot Camp team here.

The NIH Grant Writing Boot Camp is hosted by Columbia University's Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health.

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