Insider’s tip:

It’s the National Institutes of Health — not Institute, singular.

If you’re a first-time applicant to this group of 27 research institutes and centers, the largest federal funder of scientific research, you’re going to want to understand that – plus a lot more, like the fact that IC is an informal abbreviation for Institutes and Centers.

Rebecca German, professor of anatomy and neurobiology, is a second-generation NIH recipient (you can look up her mother, Pearl German) and the 2018 winner of NEOMED’s Outstanding Faculty Research Award. Dr. German knows the geography of the NIH website, and she has navigated its twists and turns many times, with well-funded results. Who better, then, to lead a NEOMED series of workshops on NIH grantsmanship?

An eager group of faculty, graduate students and post-docs headed to the RDEC recently for the first in a series of workshops that is scheduled to continue in January.

Not a monolith

“The NIH is not a monolith,” explained Dr. German. Each of its 27 Institutes or Centers have their own research focus. By drilling down into the information and tools on the website, it’s possible to identify critical information, like what research on a topic similar to yours has been funded — or the multiple overlapping areas that might fund your research.

Dr. German explained the role of study sections — groups of experts who review grants and score them for their scientific value — and the importance of knowing how to most effectively contact a person at the NIH. “Intramural,” when it comes to the grants process, does not have anything to do with volleyball games at lunchtime. It identifies people affiliated with the NIH, as opposed to so-called extramural information on the website, intended for those of us not affiliated.

All of this and more was all delivered with the sure hand of someone who can lead you through thickets of information, down an interesting rabbit hole or two — and then out again, to stay on task.

Dr. German left the group with a handout of links to answer common questions (available below), along with the promise of her next grantsmanship session. Watch The Pulse for an announcement of the date.

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