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Research Development & Grant Writing News

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A new resource is available to support faculty, students and other researchers seeking research funding and grantsmanship skills. Research Development & Grant Writing News, published by Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC,  provides information about upcoming funding opportunities from Federal agencies and private foundations, advice on developing competitive proposals, and tips for effective grant writing practices.

This monthly newsletter is available to faculty, staff, students and affiliates with log-in access to the Albertsons Library. For more information visit the newsletter information page on the OSP web site. This subscription is sponsored by the Division of Research and Economic Development with support from the Albertsons Library.

The current 64-page October 2016 issue:

Featured articles:

  • The Straw Man Proposal
  • Explain Your Rationale for Selecting Projects
  • The Proposal Majordomo’s Role on Grants
  • The Role of the Project Evaluator on the Writing Team
  • SBIRs and STTRs: What are they and how can faculty use them?
  • Don’t Let Your Proposal Wear a Disguise on Halloween

Regular features:

  • Topics of Interest URLs
  • Research Grant Writing Web Resources
  • Educational Grant Writing Web Resources
  • Agency Research News
  • Agency Reports, Workshops & Roadmaps
  • New Funding Opportunities
  • About Academic Research Funding Strategies

New 2017 Solicitation for Smart and Connected Health

Re-posted from Office of Sponsored Programs Funding Blast

Dear Colleague Letter: Updates to the 2017 Smart and Connected Health Solicitation

by lgeorgie

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released a new solicitation for Smart and Connected Health (see NSF 16-601 With this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), NSF wishes to notify the community of relevant changes and additions to the program for 2017.

Changes to the 2017 SCH Solicitation: The 2017 SCH solicitation will only support Integrative Projects (INT). For these proposals, NSF and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) seek SCH research that is transdisciplinary while addressing key application areas by solving problems in multiple scientific and engineering domains. These projects are expected to further our understanding of how advances in computing, engineering and behavioral and social science, would support transformations in healthcare and improve population health. As described in the solicitation, INT project descriptions must be comprehensive and well integrated, and should make a convincing case that the collaborative contributions of the project team will be greater than the sum of each of their individual contributions. Collaborations with researchers in the health application domains are required. INT proposals should be submitted by December 8, 2016. Please note that the program is no longer soliciting the Exploratory (EXP) SCH proposals.

In addition to the changes above, the SCH program encourages submission of EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposing breakthrough SCH research. The SCH goal is to accelerate the development and use of innovative approaches that would support the much needed transformation of healthcare and population health in this country. SCH EAGERs provide the proof-of-concept or feasibility of novel approaches in its early stages (or untested) for potentially transformative research ideas to promote the vision of Smart and Connected Health. An EAGER proposal should be especially ‘high-risk/high-reward’ in the sense that it involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. EAGERs may lead to new SCH INT activities.

EAGER proposals submitted to this DCL should follow NSF guidelines for EAGERs (, including making a clear case why they are appropriate for EAGER funding, including why they do not fit into existing programs and how they constitute ‘high-risk/high-reward’ research. Budgets should be well-justified. PI(s) must contact a cognizant NSF program officer to discuss the proposal topic before submitting their EAGER proposal, to ensure whether the proposed work is appropriate for EAGER funding. EAGER proposals must be submitted by December 14, 2016.

For more information about this DCL or the SCH solicitation, please see the NSF SCH website (

Student Receives HERC Fellowship to Work with Community and Environmental Health Faculty Cynthia Curl

Re-posted from Boise State University Update: BY: KATHLEEN TUCK   PUBLISHED 12:36 PM / OCTOBER 13, 2016

Cynthia Curl from Environmental Occupational Health, working with Ian Penwell

Curl conducts agricultural health research, with a focus on measuring and reducing chemical exposures to farmworkers, agricultural communities and the general public. She currently has two active research projects, one of which aims to quantify dietary exposures to pesticides to pregnant women with organic and conventional diets and a second project aimed at measuring crop uptake of inorganic bromide subsequent to methyl bromide fumigation. While many don’t think of health sciences as a traditional component of STEM research, her research projects include traditional bench chemistry and biology components — including measurements of hydration and chemical constituents in urine, crop tissue and soils — and aim to improve our understanding of the effect of environmental contaminants on human health.

“Ian is a fantastic non-traditional student who is already a practicing mid-wife, and who ultimately wants to earn his M.D. to better serve his community,” Curl said. “By providing him with hands-on experience in conducting rigorous health-related research, this HERC award will make him a better prepared, more qualified and more competitive candidate for medical school.”

Read about additional HERC recipients

Nursing Faculty Publishes in Qualitative Health Research Journal

Kim MartzKim Martz, associate professor for the School of Nursing, published an article in Qualitative Health Research in September.

The article, “The Changing Nature of Guilt in Family Caregivers: Living Through Care Transitions of Parents at the End of Life in Qualitative Health Research,” analyzes the transition process of moving an elderly family member to a hospice home and the guilt family members feel during the process.

Martz’s findings indicated that guilt surrounding the transfer of an elderly family member escalated during the initial stages but was lessened by achieving what family members deemed as a “good” death resulting from hospice care. The findings provided new insights into family-focused perspectives in care transfers of the dying.

Martz has a strong interest in research and has participated in research teams with a variety of research experiences in end of life issues and vulnerable populations. As a member of the Idaho End of Life Coalition, Martz assisted in the development of a field survey assessment on Idaho specific views on end of life issues. With her interest in vulnerable populations, she participated as a research team member in a study of Somali Bantu refugees and disseminated their research in several peer-reviewed abstracts and publications including Advances in Nursing Science in 2010. Martz also obtained a grant from the Office of External Funding at Boise State to study the collaboration of care between hospice and skilled nursing facilities which resulted in a publication in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing in 2011.

Read the full article here.

aliviawachsmuth | October 6, 2016 at 1:38 pm | URL:

Nursing Faculty Publishes in International Journal of Evidence Based Healthcare

Pamela StrohfusPam Strohfus, associate professor and coordinator of DNP program for the School of Nursing, published an article in the International Journal of Evidence Based Healthcare in September. Sharon Brown, Central District Health Department, and Paige Potratz, student in the School of Nursing, coauthored the article.

The article, titled, “Effective and Sustainable Advice Line Promotes Safe Vaccine Practices” analyzed the SHOT LINE Telephone Assistance Resource effectiveness in providing health care providers with timely and consistent information on immunization administration.

SHOT LINE was created to advise healthcare personnel with immunization questions. Strohfus analyzed ten years of SHOT LINE call data through categorizing types of calls, types of personnel calling, facility type, information needed, and education provided. She found that SHOT LINE had provided timely education to healthcare personnel whose primary responsibilities were immunization practice management, administration, and vaccine handling.

Strohfus’ findings revealed a significant need for timely advice in immunization practice management and error reporting was an unexpected outcome of the advice line. She also found the line users had grown to include parents, school nurses, child care providers, and emergency personnel. Strohfus concluded that SHOT LINE prevents errors, increases accuracy of vaccine management, and provides timely education.

Over the last 11 years, Strohfus’ research focus has been threefold: one, insure effective vaccine delivery, two, influence immunization policy changes, and three, increase immunization rates in Idaho. Prior to coming to Boise State, she spent 20 years at Kaiser Permanente in Colorado and California working in nursing, quality programs, management and administration. Prior to her career at Kaiser Permanente, her nursing background included medical/surgical, neonatal intensive care, pediatrics and primary care. Strohfus currently serves on the Board of the Idaho Immunization Coalition as Past Chair and the Immunization Advisory Board at CDHD.

Read the article here.

aliviawachsmuth | October 6, 2016 at 1:35 pm | URL:

Healthy Habits, Healthy U Receives Grant

spear_caile2Caile Spear, professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Community and Environmental Health, has received a grant from PacificSource Foundation for Health Improvement in the amount of $23,632 to support Healthy Habits, Healthy U (HHHU). HHHU is an educational collaboration between St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute and Boise State University College of Health Sciences. The grant has been used to hire a new graduate assistant, Lynn Fyanes, who is now the program coordinator for HHHU.

The program now has 14 teaching assistants and began its third year of Boise Independent School District  instruction on September 23. The program plans to reach 900 junior high students in fall 2016 and again in spring 2017. HHHU will also be in fourth grade classrooms in ten Title I schools in spring 2017.

HHHU is a community outreach initiative involving Boise State Health Education and Promotion students designed to teach and reinforce positive habits in children. The program started in April 2013 and to date has reached more than 3,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students. The program consists of two days of lesson plans and focuses on the positive connection between increased physical activity and healthy food beverage choices with reduced cancer risks. St. Luke’s pathology lab provides cancerous and non-cancerous tissue samples for students to examine. Read more here.

October 11th Save the Date: Next Steps in the SBIR/STTR Process Webinar

I Want to Apply, What Do I Need to Know?

October 11, 2016 2:00 PM  to
October 11, 2016 3:00 PM

Join this webinar to learn more about the Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program and how to secure seed funding for your startup. SBIR Senior Program Director Ben Schrag will walk you through the process and answer questions.

Advance registration is required; Registration is now closed.

Prior to the webinar, feel free to browse our YouTube channel and proposal submission guide for a detailed step-by-step guide to assist applicants through the Phase I proposal submission process.

The NSF Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program seeks to transform scientific discovery into societal and economic benefit by catalyzing private sector commercialization of technological innovations. The program increases the incentive and opportunity for startups and small businesses to undertake cutting-edge, high-quality scientific research and development. We provide grants in phases: a proof-of-concept / feasibility grant (6-12 months, $225k) can potentially be followed by a longer development grant (2 years, $750k).

This event is part of SBIR & STTR Webinars.

Meeting Type

Ben Schrag, (703) 292-8323,

NSF Related Organizations
Industrial Innovation and Partnerships

Related Programs
Small Business Innovation Research Program
Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I

Related Websites

Predictive Nature of Criterion Scores on Impact Score and Funding Outcomes

Re-Published From: NIH Center for Scientific Review

What are the key criterion scores that drive impact score and funding outcomes? Staff from the NIH Office of Extramural recently published new research that further explores this question.

After examining 123,000 competing R01 applications, they published their results in PLOS-one. In short, they found that the Approach and, to a lesser extent, the Significance criterion scores were the main predictors of an R01 application’s Overall Impact score and the likelihood the application will be funded. To learn more and participate in the ongoing discussion, visit the “Open Mike” blog on the NIH Office of Extramural Research Web site.

For Another Perspective: See a paper recently published by NIH staff: NIH Peer Review Scored Review Criteria and Overall Impact. The lead author, Dr. Mark Lindner, has since beennamed Director of CSR’s Office of Planning, Analysis and Evaluation

New Policies on Application Appendices and Post Submission Materials

Re-posted from: NIH Center for Scientific Review

The use of NIH application appendices has been decreasing for some time, but they still create problems, which led NIH to further limit the types of materials that can be put in them starting January 25, 2017.

 Many applications containing appendices have had to be withdrawn because the appendices contained noncompliant materials (such as unpublished manuscripts, figures, tables and other data, or experimental methods). If appendices with such materials somehow made it to review, they could give the applicants an unfair advantage over other applicants who followed the rules.

The new appendix policy was designed to make the rules more simple and clear, to make the review process more fair for everyone, and to decrease the number of applications withdrawn for noncompliance.

Significant Change

Accepted manuscripts and non-publicly available papers (or publications of any kind) will no longer be allowed in an appendix, but news of an article accepted for publication since submission of the application will be allowed as post-submission materials.

Other Important Things to Know

  • Applications may still include appendices with informed consent/assent forms and blank surveys, forms, and other data collection instruments (as appropriate). In addition, applications containing clinical trials may include the clinical trial protocol and Investigator’s Brochure from an IND application, as appropriate — unless alternate instructions are provided in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
  • Unless a FOA requires certain information to be included in the appendix, reviewers are not required to consider the material in their review.

Learn More by Reading the new appendix policy in the NIH Guide.

Change to the Post-Submission Materials Policy
A new NIH Guide notice on post-submission materials mainly consolidates and clarifies current policy.
Change to the Post-Submission Materials Policy
“News” of a new publication is now specified as the List of Authors/Institutional Affiliations, Title of article, and Journal or citation (if available).

Pilot Results: Scoring with an Expanded Half-Point Scale

CSR designed a pilot study to test whether allowing reviewers to vote in 0.5 point increments — based upon the score range set by the assigned reviewers at their meeting — can reduce score compression and ties by giving reviewers more flexibility in score choices following discussion of applications.”

The current NIH application scoring system gives reviewers nine score choices (1-9). In practice, many reviewers only use a portion of this scoring range in their initial scoring and during their meeting discussions, where the majority of applications are scored in the 2-4 range. In other words, reviewers frequently only use three of their scoring choices to evaluate the best applications, and the best score (1) is being sparingly used by most panels.

This can contribute to score compression in which a high percentage of applications are scored in a fairly narrow range. For example, a moderately compressed study section could score more than 25% of its applications with a score between 30 and 10. This problem may be exacerbated by low funding levels. In study sections with severe compression, competitive applications are often scored within only two score choices (1 and 2).

In addition, a review of scoring patterns across NIH has revealed peaks in the distribution of final overall impact scores at 20 and 30, indicating many tied scores. Score compression and ties make it difficult for program officers to distinguish between the very best applications reviewed in study sections, particularly when several applications receive identical scores and/or percentile ranks within the same study section.

CSR designed a pilot study to test whether allowing reviewers to vote in 0.5 point increments, based upon the score range set by the assigned reviewers, can reduce score compression and ties by giving reviewers more flexibility in score choices following discussion of applications.

Pilot Design

The pilot was run alongside the normal review process at study section meetings in the 2016/05 and 2016/10 council rounds. Thirty-three study sections in the 2016/05 and 11 study sections in the 2016/10 council rounds participated.

Following the discussion of applications, the assigned reviewers set the range with integer scores following standard guidance. All reviewers entered integer scores for the official scoring of applications based on the score range unless indicating that they intended to vote outside the range.

Reviewers were provided with separate score sheets that included a column for unofficial half point scores ranging from 0.5 points below their official score to 0.5 points above the official score. For example, if the score range for an application was 2-3, the allowable range for final scoring became 1.5 – 3.5. If a reviewer had scored an application with a 2 officially, the reviewer could enter 1.5, 2.0 or 2.5 in the half point column; for a score of 3, the reviewer could enter 2.5, 3, or 3.5.

A score of 1 remained the best possible score; a score of 0.5 was not allowed. Half point scores 0.5 lower or 0.5 higher than the score range did not require reviewers to identify themselves as voting outside the range. If reviewers had already identified themselves as officially voting out of the range, they could enter a score either 0.5 lower or 0.5 higher than the official score they entered.


Aggregated analysis of the data revealed that, when reviewers used the half point option, they were more likely to raise the score of an application (for example, a move from 2 to 2.5) than to reduce it (a move from 2 to 1.5).

Scores calculated from half point data were compared to the official scores for 1,371 discussed applications from 39 study sections. The percentage of scores at 20, 30 and 40 was reduced when reviewers were given the half point option, as shown in the figure below. Score compression was also improved for a few study sections that were highly compressed based on the official scores.

Distribution of Application Scores graph

Reviewer Survey Found Strong Support for a 0.5 Scale

Surveys were sent via email to 311 reviewers in the 11 study sections participating in the 2016/10 council round to gain feedback on the half point pilot. Reviewers were asked to complete the survey near the end of the meeting. They were assured that their response was voluntary, identities would not be disclosed, and only aggregated responses would be used in analysis.

Completed surveys were received from 138 reviewers, 118 of which used the half-point increments during final scoring. Overall, a majority of reviewers indicated that the option of providing half-point increments improved their ability to prioritize applications based on impact and that the resulting scores more accurately reflected the scientific merit. Two thirds of surveyed reviewers agreed or strongly agreed that NIH policy should be changed to permit half-point increments in scoring.

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