How About Having More Impact In Your Grant Proposals With Less Sacrifice and Rejection?

This Online Grant Writing Workshop Will Show You The Four Steps to Grant Success

A workshop made by Researchers for Researchers Like You

May 2nd, 9AM MT to 7PM MT - Online - Attend from the comfort of your office, home, or car

Here is what you will get by attending:

A comprehensive understanding of how to craft grant proposals that not only meet but exceed reviewer expectations, leveraging a blend of scientific insight and compelling storytelling to make your submission stand out.
An enhanced Specific Aims page (NIH) or Project Summary page (NSF) that effectively captures the essence of your research proposal, refined through expert guidance to meet the critical standards of funding agencies.
A comprehensive understanding of the common reasons behind grant rejections and strategic methods to effectively address and counteract these challenges in future submissions.

Have More Impact With Less Sacrifice - Especially When It Comes to Your Grant Getting Efforts

At SCI•Foundry we understand that scientific research is challenging, and writing effective proposals even more so.

We are here to help with that.

Common issues experienced by our clients, as well as ourselves in the past, include:

It is hard to carve out the time to write.
It is hard to know what reviewers really want, often leaving too much guesswork in the process of writing an application.
It is harder still to find the balance between how much information and data to include, versus overwhelming your reader.
We hear that we’re supposed to “tell a story” but don’t know how to do that
It seems like the review process is all to random, leaving us wondering if we should just submit every chance we get
Often leading to more rejections and worries about our reputation

Getting research grant funding in 2024 is harder and fraught with more challenges than ever.

All this can leave you demoralized. We get it. We’ve been there.

SCI•Foundry’s CEO, Dr. Morgan Giddings, had six major grant rejections in a row after she began her faculty job at UNC Chapel Hill in the departments of Microbiology & Immunology, Biomedical Engineering, and Computer Science.
After two years and all those rejections, she was ready to give up.
She thought to herself: “Who cares about tenure, if you can’t even get the funding to support the people you already have?”

It is possible to have a 180 degree turnaround.
Giddings sought out advice from a difficult and highly critical faculty mentor, who had taught grant writing courses for years.
She got used to her ego being completely trashed by his extensive redlining of her Specific Aims pages.
It completely shifted her viewpoint about the purpose and strategy of writing effective proposals.
This led to an almost miraculous turnaround. During and after the four year intervention from her mentor, she got the next four R01 applications to NIH funded *without a single rejection*.
She was so surprised by the scores, when she received them at the NIH Commons website, she’d immediately print them out and post them on the wall to reassure herself it was not a mistake.
(Plus there may have been a scream or two in there when she got the scores, that brought team members rushing to the door to find out what was wrong. )

She wanted to share this kind of turnaround with her colleagues, so she created SCI•Foundry
One of her first clients, in 2010, went on to get a perfect scoring R01 (1%, 1.0 score).
This and the 10’s of millions in funding her clients have received as part of our work together, has demonstrated time and again that the methods work.

You don’t have to suffer any of the following problems related to grant writing anymore

You secretly worry about where the funding will come from, because you’re not fully confident you can write a proposal that will stand out enough to be the 1 in 10 funded. (our founder did)
You see colleagues who seem to have funding pouring out of the woodwork, and wonder if it’s just their connections, background, or training that is benefitting them. You wonder if you can compete. (our founder did)
You may lie awake at night, wondering what’s going to happen (our founder did, many times)
If you participate in a study section or review panel, you wonder at those people who get the rare support of reviewers, and how they did that. You wonder if you have what it takes. (our founder did)
With all the grant writing efforts, it is detracting from your effort to move the research projects and manuscripts forward, impacting your productivity. This seems like a vicious cycle. (our founder experienced this)
If you have a partner or family, they may experience you as constantly grumpy, worried, and/or distracted. You are not a very good partner, because so much of your energy is going into getting funding. (our founder and her family experienced this)
All in all, your confidence suffers, because you are on a hamster wheel of submission, rejection, and revision. Others around you may be starting to lose confidence as well. Impostor syndrome may be creeping in or worsening, but of course you don’t share that with anyone because you don’t want to share your feelings of inadequacy. (our founder experienced this)

Let’s turn that around for you, like our founder did

With the right approach, along with sufficient practice and feedback, you can turn it around. Our founder did that, and we have seen hundreds of clients in all areas of research, from cancer to computer science, do that.
No more sleepless nights over funding.
No more missing important family events being distracted with the chase for funding.
No more sagging confidence and creeping impostor syndrome.

It won’t solve all your challenges and problems, but it can certainly reduce or eliminate one of the biggest ongoing headaches: funding
Our founder, Morgan Giddings, found that after her turnaround in funding, she had far more free time and mental space for focusing on the research itself. She had more fun, more time to spend discussing the research, and more time to travel.
She also noticed a big transformation of the respect she received from her peers, both locally and internationally.

It was a self-reinforcing positive loop.
With more time to focus on guiding the research forward, and building her team to help with that, it produced more productivity and momentum.
Reviewers of her next grants noticed this, and that fed into positive reviews.

There were still other problems and challenges, but they were higher quality problems than the constant grind of searching for funding.

So let’s get you started on a new path, with this workshop:

The Four Steps to Research Grant Funding in 2024

In this one day, online workshop (May 2nd, 2024), we will walk you through the Four Steps, giving you practice, discussions, and feedback to apply the methods we’ve developed and refined with 100’s of clients over 14 years.

Why Four Steps?
When you’re struggling to connect your proposed research with your reviewer’s enthusiasm, you need a proven, easy-to-remember framework to follow that will guide you to better results.
The Four Steps framework, developed by Dr. Giddings in 2010, shows you an easy to understand, deep, framework for how to craft the core elements of a compelling scientific story in your grant proposal.
The components are Why, What, Who, and How.

The Why: the “missingest” part of most failed proposals

Your reviewer needs a compelling reason to support your proposal from among all the others they read. This always relates to the Why of your proposal lining up with one or more of the Whys of your reviewer.
If it doesn’t line up, you get a Frame Clash, which means rejection.
If your why is absent or confusing (as is often the case), you get a rejection.
Your reviewers may give you reviews that mostly focus on problems with your Approach or Methodology, but don’t be fooled.
The majority of rejections involve problems with missing, unclear, or frame clashing Whys.
In this Four Steps workshop, we will show you how to never suffer an unnecessary rejection again due to problems with your “Why”. We will illustrate with examples from funded and non-funded proposals. We will illustrate it with relatable real-life examples, including the bike shop Morgan co-founded.

→ You will come away with a clear understanding and actionable techniques to connect your Why to your reviewer’s Why.

The What: The core of your proposal, which must display rigor, innovation, and a solid premise

Your funder wants to support only high quality, well thought out, focused, and often innovative research.
While we’ve all been trained how to do research, most of us have far less experience planning an effective, multi-person research project.
Even once a great plan is made, it’s challenging to write about it in a way that is easy to understand, clear about the outcomes, and shows innovation.
And for innovation, we have to be “just innovative enough” but not too innovative, or skeptical reviewers will shoot us down.

But it’s even more difficult than that
What we’re proposing to do must be something our reviewers and funders see as being “valuable.”
What the heck does “valuable” mean in the context of a research project?
The answer is often not obvious, because it is more about the subjective viewpoint of your funders and reviewers than we researchers would like to admit.

This subjectivity is the “dirty little secret” of the whole funding process
While we like to pretend it is objective, it cannot be, as long as humans are involved in the process.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
If you learn how to work with your reviewer and funder’s subjective values, and make sure that your “What” is connecting with those, subjectivity can be predictable, not mysterious.

→ You will leave the workshop with a clear understanding of exactly how to plan your project so it will be perceived of the highest value to your funder and reviewer

The Who: You and your team are the engine of your research. Does the reviewer trust that you are effective and productive?

No matter how exciting your reviewer finds the Why and the What, you won’t get anywhere if they don’t trust you to do the work.
The “Who” part of the Four Steps often seems like the least appealing part of the steps to pay attention to.
Most people think that all it is is making sure you have sufficient publications on your Biosketch (or CV), and then you’re done.
That’s like saying that as long as the gas tank (or battery) is full, all automobiles are equal in their ability to go.
There is a large amount of information about YOU that your reviewer picks up from simply reading your Aims, Project Summary, or first page of a proposal.
Based on subtle nuances of wording, they’ll get a clear impression of your capability, before ever looking at biosketches.

We call that Implicit language about your Who, and it is essential to pay attention to doing it well
The implicit Who language is supported by you having the wherewithal to be productive and effective. If you haven’t set yourself up properly, the lack will shine through, and sink your chances.
And finally, there are the “explicit” Who pieces, like the Biosketches.
Once reviewers do look at the biosketches, is your personal story one that they can relate to and trust? It’s about far more than publications in top journals.
It’s about which publications you include, how you present them, and how you tell your personal story.

It’s not only in the biosketches, but also how you write about you and your team in the research text
All together, there are three layers to conveying a strong and believable Who in your proposal, and most people only pay attention to one portion of one of those layers.
Worse, if you get a rejection because the “Who” is seen as weak, reviewers may not say anything. It is seen as impolite to be seen attacking you directly, so they’ll attack your approach instead.
As a result, you’ll only have the slightest of hints at what the real problem is.
You will leave the Workshop with a clear and easy to follow framework for building a much stronger Who for your proposal, both for any proposals you are working on, and to build a stronger “brand” for the future.

The How: Have you got a good science fiction story of what will do?

Or do you have a descriptive fact dump that will bore and confuse your reader?
One of our favorite myths to bust is that writing a proposal is like writing a research paper. We don’t know how that myth got started, but it is certainly off base.
The fundamental difference is that research manuscripts are about work you already did. So that others can replicate it, you must describe in detail what you did.

Grant proposals are about a future that hasn’t happened yet.
Most people are not going to be replicating your methods, because you haven’t shown them to work yet.
If someone were to replicate your methods from a grant proposal, that is called “competition” or “being scooped.” Why would you want that?
And it’s not the point of the research plan, what we call the How.

The point of the How is to show your reviewer how you think, and how prepared you are to address common problems and obstacles.
The reviewer and funder need to know things like:

Are the premises solid for the work to be done?
Is the work focused enough to likely yield a clear answer to the hypothesis or goal?
What will you do if your main approach fails?
Have you sufficiently considered rigor, as in controls, statistics, and the like?
How will your community share in the benefits of your work if successful?
How will you and any collaborators work together? Who will do what?

As reviewers, we all know that what you write in the How is science fiction. The only question is, is it believable science fiction?
Or is it just a vain effort to impress the reader, by attempting to include every little descriptive detail of your fantasized future research, to the point that the reviewer simply tunes out?
Believable science fiction addresses all the common concerns that the reviewer is likely to have. It meets the reader where they’re at.

The ideal How gives them what they need to know, no more and no less, in an easy to read manner.

→ You will leave the workshop with step by step, how to construct a compelling How, with extensive examples from funded proposals, exercises, and chances to discuss and get feedback.

Putting it all together, you get a comprehensive training that will shift your thinking to create more easy success, and much less struggle in your grant proposals.

In our one-day online workshop: 

We’ll spend time doing immersive lectures with extensive examples of what to do, and what not to do
We’ll use interesting analogies and metaphors to drive the key learning objectives home
We won’t bore you with long, detail oriented slides
We’ll give you regular exercises and discussion points to apply the knowledge to your own work.
If you join us with a Specific Aims or similar that you’re already working on, you will make substantial progress by applying the exercises to it
We’ll do hot seats, to dive deep in to specific examples that illustrate the key learnings
We’ll encourage a positive community of like-minded learners, who want to share in the learning
We’ll give you all the slide decks as PDF take homes, and we’ll provide recordings of all sessions in case you have to miss one or more parts of the day.

What our students have to say

Lisann Gittner - PhD

" is totally true that my last RO1 was the easiest grant I have ever written and it was fun. Clarity changed the grant from work to flow. It took me 3 months to lock in the specific aims but then the grant kind of just flowed out of me so easily. I actually enjoyed it!" 

Gladys Maestre - PhD

"After months of changes in my life, some good, some tough, I hadn't been in touch. But yesterday changed everything. Thanks to your help, it became one of the best days of my life. I achieved a perfect score in my RO1! Your thoughtful lessons, your super smart questions, and the encouragement you - and your system - provided made it all possible. Please keep me in the loop for all your endeavors and the communication tools you have generously built."

Ane Laugen - PhD

"Morgan Giddings' online grant writing courses have totally changed my views on grant writing; I now enjoy the process, and I am able to help my lab members improve their grants."


Benefits of attending

Is this just another same-old-same-old, boring, grant writing workshop?

We wouldn’t dream of it. We hate boring.

If you love learning new concepts that will help you throughout your career, this will be far from boring.
If you want to be far more efficient and effective in your grant getting efforts, this will be highly interesting.
If you are motivated to improve your skills to promote your research and get funding for it, this will be engaging.
We will not be focusing on specific funder rules and requirements that you can easily look up with a web search.
We will not be telling you to just “find a gap” as the solution to your grant writing woes. That is a simplistic take on grant writing that is not effective. (We know that from our own experience)

Why we are different

We are researchers first, and writers second. This is critical for you in writing effective proposals, because:

Effective proposals are far more than fancy writing gimmicks.
Effective proposals must have a foundation of clear, well planned, rigorous research, whose potential outcomes will impact your field.
You must be able to construct said type of research, and on top of that, write about it very well and very clearly.
This is not by any means a trivial job.
That’s why we developed the **Four Steps to Funding** framework, to break the process down into actionable pieces.
It is easy to follow.
We use stories and metaphors to both entertain and to explain.

Plus, we go deep into how your reviewer responds to your reading
Our founder has studied the field of marketing since 1994. She wanted to learn about it related to several businesses she was involved in over the years.
When owning and running an electric bike shop in 2008, she was were studying how to market the bikes, and noticed many parallels between what the marketing was teaching, and what she was already doing in her grant proposals.
This is relevant to you, because the field of marketing has studied how and why people respond to different messaging. A great deal can be learned from it.
We have deeply studied that field, and brought the resulting efforts to you, so that

You can understand what makes your reviewer tick
It is easy to think of the reviewer as some perfect, Objective being, but the reality is **we’re all human.** Even the most seemingly aloof and rational person has drives and motivations.
Those drives and motivations will impact the reviews you get.
Not understanding that is the main cause of the belief that “grant review is random.”

Grant Review is Not Random, It Is Just Misunderstood
In science, we often ascribe the word “random” to processes that occur which we can’t predict.
In grant writing, we ascribe the word random to reviewer’s mental processes that occur which we don’t understand.

This is your chance to gain understanding, so the review process seems less random and far more predictable.

Grow Your Momentum

The Four Steps to Research Grant Funding Workshop

$770 Tuition

Ongoing access to the Grant Foundry online modules

Live 2.5 writing retreat from August 3rd - 5th in Boise, ID

Interactive group calls to get started on your proposal pre-retreat - get direct feedback and discussion as you write

Access to a members-only online community to share ideas, give and get feedback with peer review, get support, and connect with fellow members

The entire Grant Foundry toolbox, including the Example Library in the course  

Dedicated support from our Grant Foundry coaches throughout the program

How To Learn More or Sign Up:

Grant Foundry is a small group where you work intensively with coaches.
To sign up or learn more about the program, schedule a strategy call with the button below.

Fill out the "Get to Know You" form so we have a starting point to discuss your funding challenges, and strategies to address them. If Grant Foundry is a good fit for you, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and enroll on the call.

Your Questions Answered

Contact us using the form on the lower right of your screen, email us at [email protected], or call (208) 514 - 1639 and our friendly support staff will get back to you in 1 business day or less. 

Who should join?

To be a good fit for the Grant Foundry, you are probably:

• A highly-motivated researcher who is actively seeking a framework to increase proposal efficacy and funding chances

• An early faculty member who is ready to grow their project, but is experiencing funding stress and anxiety

• An early to mid career faculty member who has had some success with funding but would like to make the process easier, more efficient, and result in less rejections. 

• Open to seeking the support of experienced mentors to elevate your grant writing process and deepen your understanding of persuasive writing 

• Willing to be coached through feedback and suggestions with a desire to improve your writing skills and shift your perspective of what it takes to write a compelling proposal 

• Committed to investing the time it takes to develop the skills of grant writing

Is there a payment plan available?

Yes, we offer a payment plans. We'll coordinate with you to get this setup upon course registration. 

How much time will this take?

We recommend having at least 5 hours/week set aside that you can use to spend on group calls, watching our video lessons, working on or thinking about different exercises and worksheets, and ultimately writing parts of your proposal! 

In order to get the most out of this workshop (or any workshop), you need to spend time applying the principles we teach to your live grant proposals. While this is going to be a substantial investment of time, it is unlikely to be more time than you already spend writing and submitting proposals via trial-and-error.

Can I pay with a purchase order or University funds?

We do accept university purchasing cards and purchase orders. We'll have you place a refundable $100 deposit to register for the course, and then work with us to complete your university payment.

What makes Grant Foundry different from other workshops?

Most of us are not unfamiliar with getting some sort of help with grant writing, and the structure of Grant Foundry allows us to address the "missing pieces" of other workshops. 

We don't use generic blueprints for proposal writing, but we do give you an entire toolbox to that enables you to draft your own unique blueprint - specific to your field, your audience, and your research. 

The longer duration of the Grant Foundry allows time for deeper integration of concepts and ideas coupled with iterative practice and feedback to help your grant writing progress move at a steady pace, without feeling overwhelmed by the task of implementing all at once. 

We understand that persuasive writing is considerably different from academic writing and some concepts can feel foreign or confusing, especially when they are being unloaded on you all at once. We break down complex theory into short, digestible bits spaced out and reinforced with practice exercises, iterations, and coach feedback. 

Is this going to work for me?

Investing in a grant writing course can bring up skeptical speculation: Is this going to work for me?

I've already tried grant writing workshops.

Do I really have the time for this? I need funding fast! 

We are confident that once you invest in gaining momentum towards grant writing mastery, you will find much more enjoyment in your writing process. While we can't guarantee funding, we can guarantee that your commitment will pay-off in ease, clarity, and a deeper understanding of how to write a grant proposal that gets your reviewer's attention. 

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