Writing Grants with CIDAMelissa Koons | CIDA Dec 9, 2019
Grants are a fundamental part of obtaining funding for important research studies, but of course, many grants are highly competitive. Research has proven that partnering with a statistician for study design at the start of, and during, the grant writing process can improve the chances of a grant proposal being funded.
“By working with a statistician, the researcher will ultimately develop a more robust study design and analytic plan, while also identifying potential methodological issues that could impact the validity and/or generalizability of their results,” said Brianne Bettcher, PhD, director of Neuropsychology Research, who has partnered with the Center for Innovative Design and Analysis (CIDA) on several applications.
CIDA has a knowledgeable team of biostatisticians and data scientists who are highly expert in assisting with grant proposals. Through a partnership with the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) program administered by CCTSI, CIDA can provide no-cost grant design support for CCTSI members and affiliates. The biostatisticians become collaborators during the grant writing process, which ensures a greater probability of the grant submission being funded. In return for the no-cost support up front, a statistician is written into the grant and its budget and provides support once funded. The grant becomes a partnership with both teams having a vested interest in getting funded and completing the research project.
A statistician’s expertise will help grant writers build a feasible study design by considering budget, variables, size of their study, how many groups it requires and other numerous data quality and collection factors. “Biostatisticians will review prior data and use that information to solidify [the] plan and budget. They [also] help with determining the feasibility of [the] study… Biostatisticians are well-versed in statistical analysis; they know what to look for when identifying problems at the start, which helps avoid statistical and analytical problems later,” said Ryan Peterson, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics at the Colorado School of Public Health.
Our StatisticiansCIDA employs nearly 30 biostatisticians and data scientists with a wide range of expertise and connects you with the best professional for your needs.
Meet two faculty members who recently joined the Center and brought with them valuable experience and expertise:
• Mary Sammel PhD, has worked as a collaborative statistician for twenty-two years and has been writing grants with researchers in women’s health research for the duration of that time. Mary’s favorite part of the grant writing process is learning about the science researchers are conducting as well as the big-picture perspective on what the investigator is trying to accomplish and why they believe it is important work to be done.
• Ryan Peterson, PhD, has expertise in predictive modeling and model selection, as well as clinical trials with multiple end points and survival analysis. Ryan also enjoys statistical computation and has developed software for simulations which assists with planning and powering clinical research and most other trials. Ryan’s favorite part of the grant writing process is to see the impact a statistical perspective can bring to a grant application, and how having a statistician work with a researcher can make a grant that is too broad concise and describable by honing in on a specific research question.
How it WorksAs a CCTSI member, you can submit a request by visiting the CIDA website and clicking the grant development button. If the request is a match for CIDA’s expertise and availability, the investigator will be contacted to meet for an initial consult at no cost.
After the initial meeting, the investigator will receive a Grant Development Agreement with the budget, an outline of the services provided and deadlines during the grant writing process. Once signed, the investigator will work directly with the biostatistician to receive advice on the grant submission, study design and analysis methods.
Upon completion, a fully developed grant will be ready for submission. Once the grant is funded, the investigator will collaborate with the biostatistician who was written into the grant proposal as outlined in the grant.
“My R01 application was greatly strengthened by working with CIDA; and Dr. Nichole Carlson, professor and director of CIDA, assisted at every stage to develop the best possible study,” Bettcher said.
For more information about the grant development process and CIDA, contact Melissa.Koons@cuanschutz.edu.