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An Evidence-Based Guide to Writing Grant Proposals for Clinical Research

Sharon K. Inouye, MD, MPH; and David A. Fiellin, MD
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*Cite pertinent abstracts or references for preliminary work.

From Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

Acknowledgments: The authors thank the many students and trainees at Yale University School of Medicine, particularly the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and students in the Investigative Medicine Program, who have attended our grant-writing courses and who gave us useful feedback that influenced this paper. They thank Dr. Ralph Horwitz for manuscript review and feedback and Ms. Patricia Fugal for assistance with manuscript preparation. This work is dedicated to Jordan and Benjamin Helfand.

Grant Support: In part by grants R01AG12551 (Dr. Inouye) and K24AG00949 (Dr. Inouye) from the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Inouye is Director of the Research Career Development Core for the Yale Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (P30AG21342), is funded by the National Institute on Aging, and is the recipient of a Donaghue Investigator Award (DF98-105) from the Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation. Dr. Fiellin is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Corresponding Author: Sharon K. Inouye, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street (DC013K), PO Box 208025, New Haven, CT 06520-8025.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Inouye and Fiellin: Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street (DC013K), PO Box 208025, New Haven, CT 06520-8025.

Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(4):274-282. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-142-4-200502150-00009
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The competition for funds to conduct clinical research is intense, and only a minority of grant proposals receive funding. In particular, funding for patient-oriented research lags behind that allocated for basic science research. Grant writing is a skill of fundamental importance to the clinical researcher, and conducting high-quality clinical research requires funds received through successful grant proposals. This article provides recommendations for the grant-writing process for clinical researchers. On the basis of observations from a National Institutes of Health study section, we describe types and sources of grant funds, provide key recommendations regarding the process of grant writing, and highlight the sections of grants that are frequently scrutinized and critiqued. We also provide specific recommendations to help grant writers improve the quality of areas commonly cited as deficient. Application of this systematic approach will make the task more manageable for anyone who writes grants.


Grahic Jump Location
Appendix Figure.
Grant-writing timeline: example 3.

Each X represents 2 months.

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