General tips for establishing yourself as a principal investigator (PI)
- Attend grant writing workshops (as many as you can)
- Consult a grant writing manual, I recommend
Four Steps to Funding
by Morgan Giddings, PhD
- Request pdfs of colleagues' successful proposals
- Volunteer to read your colleagues' proposals
- Serve as a grant reviewer, even if only for programs at your institution
Treat a declined proposal as a short course in grantsmanship
- Don't take negative reviews personally
- Read the reviews and identify:
- What was missing that they wanted to see?
- What didn't they understand?
- How can I make this clearer next time?
For research, work on building a research program that can be competitive for funding
Find strong collaborators
- Established investigators or those who fill holes in your expertise,
techniques or infrastructure
Identify the hottest area of research where you can be competitive and pursue that area
- Don't be afraid to change the focus of your research to be more
competitive (I have changed research areas twice as a faculty
For programs, work on building a portfolio of participation in and collaboration with successful projects
Partner with faculty who are PIs of an already successful program to develop a new, joint program
Partner across departments to develop an institutional program
Partner with faculty at other institutions to offer a regional program
Make a commitment to developing yourself into an active researcher and invest the time to be successful
Do not teach in the summer
Do not teach overloads
Set aside time to work on your research on a regular
- an hour/day or 1 day/week or 2 summer months
Identify the time that you are most productive and dedicate that time to your research
Prioritize work on your research or program over the needs of the department or institution.
Do not sacrifice your success for institutional or departmental priorities.
Don't give people permission to take advantage of you
Only take on committee assignments that will help you achieve your goals
Prioritize your own work, BUT give to your colleagues.
You are all on the same team
We all need allies.
If you are in a STEM discipline, writing grants is an essential part of developing a research program
If you are a faculty member, writing and thinking about your research, and refining your program is part of your research, not time away from it.
It is the same for educational/infrastructure programs.
Writing grant proposals will improve your science and improve your programs.
Proficiency in grant writing is as important a skill for STEM faculty as being conversant with statistics