Grant application outcomes for biomedical researchers who participated in the National Research Mentoring Network's Grant Writing Coaching Programs

Anne Marie Weber-Main, Richard McGee, Kristin Eide Boman, Japera Hemming, Meldra Hall, Thaddeus Unold, Eileen M. Harwood, Laurie E. Risner, Ann Smith, Kimberly Lawson, Jeffrey Engler, Clifford J. Steer, Dedra Buchwald, Harlan P. Jones, Spero M. Manson, Elizabeth Ofili, Nancy B. Schwartz, Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, Kolawole S. Okuyemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background A diverse research workforce is essential for catalyzing biomedical advancements, but this workforce goal is hindered by persistent sex and racial/ethnic disparities among investigators receiving research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In response, the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network implemented a Grant Writing Coaching Program (GCP) to provide diverse cohorts of early-career investigators across the United States with intensive coaching throughout the proposal development process. We evaluated the GCP's national reach and short-term impact on participants' proposal submissions and funding outcomes. Methods The GCP was delivered as six similar but distinct models. All models began with an in-person group session, followed by a series of coaching sessions over 4 to 12 months. Participants were surveyed at 6-, 12- and 18-months after program completion to assess proposal outcomes (submissions, awards). Self-reported data were verified and supplemented by searches of public repositories of awarded grants when available. Submission and award rates were derived from counts of participants who submitted or were awarded at least one grant proposal in a category (NIH, other federal, non-federal). Results From June 2015 through March 2019, 545 investigators (67% female, 61% under-represented racial/ethnic minority, URM) from 187 different institutions participated in the GCP. Among them, 324 (59% of participants) submitted at least one grant application and 134 (41% of submitters) received funding. A total of 164 grants were awarded, the majority being from the NIH (93, 56%). Of the 74 R01 (or similar) NIH research proposals submitted by GCP participants, 16 have been funded thus far (56% to URM, 75% to women). This 22% award rate exceeded the 2016-2018 NIH success rates for new R01s. Conclusion Inter- and intra-institutional grant writing coaching groups are a feasible and effective approach to supporting the grant acquisition efforts of early-career biomedical investigators, including women and those from URM groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0241851
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
andNBS).AdditionalfundingfortheSETH programwasprovidedbytheNationalInstituteon MinorityHealthandHealthDisparities(grants U54MD008149,U54MD007588,and U54MD008173toEO)andtheNationalCenterfor AdvancingTranslationalSciences(grant UL1TR002378).Thefundershadnoroleinstudy design,datacollectionandanalysis,decisionto publish,orpreparationofthemanuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Weber-Main et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Biomedical Research/economics
  • Female
  • Financing, Organized
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentoring/methods
  • United States
  • Writing

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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