Beyond Grantstorming – Grant writing marathon x2

Well its been a very long few months without posting anything here (and my postings may become more sporadic than usual).

Part of the reason has been an absolute overload of work. A few things have happened. A couple of grants came in at the same time and this will mean my day job will be busy for a while.

Second I was involved with rare disease collaborators in putting together quite possibly the most ambitious grant proposal I have ever been involved in. What happens when a few rare disease collaborators are tired of getting nowhere with an NIH funded rare diseases clinical research network (RDCRN) that is meant to be representing the patient?  Well they decide to put their own proposal in. After several weeks of organization, collaborators dropping out, then 2 weeks of intense writing sessions in the evenings we managed to put together 6 diverse clinical projects with collaborators, an administrative component and and overall proposal component. So in total 8 components which was like writing 8 SBIR or STTRs. A core of 4 of us did most of the writing but we relied on the input from a team of clinical folks, other advocates, support staff etc. Lets put this into some sort of context. 2 of the core team had never done anything like this before and are advocates, and not scientists. Here was the bottom line..without giving too much away.

Our ultimate goal is to provide the right tools needed to justify investment and facilitate clinical trials for these diseases within 5 years to enable viable treatments to come to market.

Lofty goals, but isn’t it saying something if advocates or patients have to do this themselves?

So after working on this side project, in parallel I have been putting together a Fast-track STTR proposal. This basically combines a phase I and phase II STTR together. 12 pages for the strategy (3 years of proposed work) and 12 page commercialization plan. While not as complex as the RDCRN, writing this with collaborators has consumed a huge chunk of time over several months.

With my rare disease hat on again I was involved with a collaborator in putting 2 more grants together.

Finally literally days before the grant deadline I found myself working late into the night on a last minute idea from a client.

What am I learning from the grant writing process. Some of the most interesting (read compelling) proposals are literally last minute efforts – literally hashed out on the fly. Whether they will get funded is another matter. I do know that I have spent weeks on previous grants that never got scored, while those that were after thoughts did get scores.

Over a year ago I tried to summarize the grant storming strategy – I should probably add a new approach called fast grants.

Anyone want to try the experiment ??- I am willing to bet that in 2 days it is possible to come up with another complete phase I SBIR or STTR. Of course if an academic group is involved it may take longer to go through the internal processes (but at least the grant is written & package). Of course we will have to wait till Apr 2014 to try, unless we try the approach for another grant type / deadline.

Now back to doing science@!


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