New review committees to help make our grant proposals more competitive

Jan. 30, 2014

If you are an IU School of Medicine scientist working to get funding, here’s a new mantra word for you: Promise.

Promise as in Peer Review and Mentoring Committees, or PRMC.

David Wilkes

David S. Wilkes, M.D.

Promise as in we promise to get better at submitting, and successfully competing, for external grants at the school.

We can’t do much about budget gridlock in Washington, D.C., and ever-tightening pay lines at the National Institutes of Health, but we can set up a system to do a better job of submitting and winning grants.

To meet this promise we’ve created three new project development committees within the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute meant to do what their names imply: use the experience and expertise of some of our successful scientists to review and advise colleagues who are working on grant proposals. These aren’t just for new proposals — the PRMCs will help investigators improve “A1″ re-submissions of applications that are promising but didn’t quite score well enough to be awarded. With the right changes, a good number of these proposals could be pushed into the “funded” category.

We know this system is effective. It’s worked at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, where they’ve invested some $800,000 in such mentoring efforts and have seen some $16 million in returns on that investment. And the Indiana CTSI’s project development teams have leveraged returns of more than $65 million with a $4 million investment — but the PRMCs will be focusing on all types of science: basic as well as translational/clinical.

We’ve put together teams of clinical research and basic science faculty with proven track records in grantsmanship and mentoring. In addition, each team will have a project manager assigned to help keep the process moving, and a biostatistician to provide that critical advice.

We’re starting off with committees in three of our important thematic areas: neuroscience, chaired by Michael Vasko, Ph.D., Paul Stark Professor of Pharmacology and professor of anesthesia and medicine; cardiovascular disease, chaired by Michael Sturek, Ph.D., chair and professor of cellular and integrative physiology and professor of medicine; and obesity/metabolism, co-chaired by Aaron Carroll, M.D., professor of pediatrics and assistant dean for research mentoring, and Bob Considine, Ph.D., professor of medicine and cellular and integrative physiology.

The committees are getting themselves organized now but we’re expecting them to be up and running by March 1. Stay tuned for more information about where and how to submit your application … I "promise."


David S. Wilkes, M.D.
Executive Associate Dean for Research Affairs
August M. Watanabe Professor of Medical Research
Professor of Medicine; Microbiology and Immunology; and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Indiana University School of Medicine

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