Research development training + resources


The KU Research Development team and partners across campus and beyond provide training and resources to help researchers build collaborations, improve grant writing skills, and optimize their chances of securing grants.

View training and resource opportunities below.

National Science Foundation CAREER Writing Workshop

The NSF CAREER program typically expects to fund 450 proposals from approximately 3,000 applicants. To succeed, proposals must rank in the top 10 to 15 percent.

Want to increase your chances of success? Participate in KU’s 2023 CAREER Writing Workshop.

Brought to you by the KU Office of Research and the Bremner Editing Center in the KU School of Journalism, the program will provide strategies and tips for writing competitive CAREER proposals from CAREER Award winners and former NSF program officers, highlight potential educational-plan partners at KU, and explore the use of advanced writing techniques and partner review for enhancing proposal clarity and persuasiveness.

CAREER Writing Workshop details

Crafting a competitive CAREER proposal requires dedication, skill and nuance. You’ll be competing against your peers, a group that’s already succeeded through many years of rigorous selection. In this context, a solid research plan is necessary, but not sufficient.

Successful CAREER awards integrate research and education plans and demonstrate excellence in both: They’re expected to present a career-development plan, not merely a research proposal. While no amount of grantsmanship can rescue a weak concept, clear and compelling presentation can propel an innovative and well-balanced plan across the funding line. In this workshop, we will provide strategies and tips for writing competitive CAREER proposals from CAREER Award winners and former NSF program officers, highlight potential educational-plan partners at KU, and explore the use of advanced writing techniques and partner review for enhancing proposal clarity and persuasiveness.

Workshop format

The workshop consists of two parts: seminars and the workshop cohort. Seminars are sessions open to anyone interested in applying for a CAREER grant; they cover all aspects of the CAREER process. The workshop cohort is an intensive, peer-centered set of meetings intended to help participants refine and polish all aspects of their CAREER proposals. Participants in the cohort will get detailed review and specific feedback according to a strict timeline; as such, the cohort is limited to 10 participants.

Fall 2022 (via Zoom)

Friday, Oct. 14:  Cohort application materials due

Tuesday, Oct. 17:  Notify cohort applicants of selection status

Week of Oct. 17: Seminar: CAREER Overview and Strategy Tips

  • Suzanne Shontz, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science/CAREER and PECASE winner

Short cohort meeting following the seminar

Week of Oct. 24: Seminar: Insider Perspectives Program Officer Panel

  • Ted Bergman, Mechanical Engineering
  • Joane Nagel, Sociology
  • Paulyn Cartwright, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology/CAREER winner
  • Carol Burdsal, Director, Research Development

Week of Oct. 31: Seminar: Incorporating Educational Activities into Grant Proposals

  • Ward Lyles, CTE Ambassador/CAREER winner
  • Alison Olcott, Center for Undergraduate Research
  • Teresa MacDonald, KU Natural History Museum
  • Celka Straughn, Spencer Museum of Art

Week of Nov. 7: Seminar: Basic Grant Writing

  • Carol Burdsal, Director of Research Development

December Break: Cohort continues proposal drafting and participation in optional partner exchanges.


Spring 2023 (via Zoom)

Friday, Feb. 3: Initial full proposal draft due.
Cohort continues drafting/refining project description.

Week of Feb. 6: Seminar: Simply Engaging: Crafting Clear, Concise Prose

  • Lisa McLendon, Coordinator, Bremner Editing Center

Week of Feb. 13: Self-edited summary page due.

Week of Feb. 20: Seminar: Previous CAREER Winners Panel
Summary page edits due for return to cohort. Cohort reviews feedback and readies summary pages for read-and-critique roundtables.

Week of Feb. 27: Cohort meeting
First summary read-and-critique roundtable: Participants read their polished summary pages aloud for cohort comments and feedback. Cohort begins preparing presentations for full-proposal roundtables.

Week of March 6: Cohort meeting
Second summary read-and-critique roundtable (if not completed in previous session)

Week of March 13: No cohort meeting (spring break)

Week of March 20: Cohort meeting
Full-proposal presentation and roundtable #1: Cohort members present pre-recorded research and educational plans to the group, get constructive feedback. (Play recorded 10-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of live discussion, 2-3 presenters per session).

Week of March 27: Cohort meeting
Full-proposal Roundtable #2 (if needed)

Week of April 3: Cohort meeting
Full-proposal Roundtable #3 (if needed)

Week of April 10: Cohort meeting
Full-proposal Roundtable #4 (if needed)

Week of April 17: Seminar: Incorporating Proposal Feedback

  • Carol Burdsal, Director, Research Development

Week of April 24: No cohort meeting. Cohort continues preparing narrative first drafts.

Week of May 1: No cohort meeting. Cohort continues editing partner proposals. 

Week of May 8: No cohort meeting. Partner critiques due.

Week of May 15: Workshop wrap-up

May-July: Optional internal proposal edit (Doug/Carol). PEER review.
Submit proposals to external subject-matter experts for feedback. Revise and polish for final submission.

July: Submit proposals to NSF

NSF CAREER-eligible applicants employed by the University of Kansas can request a spot in the workshop cohort by completing the online application formno later than Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. The application should include a summary page for the applicant’s CAREER project prepared in Microsoft Word according to the content and formatting requirements specified in the most current NSF CAREER solicitation and NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

This one-page summary should contain a project overview and a description of the project’s intellectual merits and broader impacts, as detailed in the PAPPG. If more than 10 applications are received, the submitted summary pages may influence applicant selection. These summary pages will receive detailed feedback during the workshop.

Apply for cohort by Oct. 15

Attendance

By accepting a cohort position, you are committing to completing the drafting, editing, and reviewing elements of the workshop in a timely fashion. These activities will require significant effort beyond the scheduled meeting times. While missing a meeting or two can be accommodated, you’ll still be expected to comply with the proposal drafting, editorial, and evaluation due dates. If you doubt you can commit the time required for cohort participation but would still like to participate, consider attending the seminars. Seminars are open to everyone and require no application or outside time commitment.

Apply for the CAREER Workshop Cohort

Applications should include a summary page for your CAREER project.

Seminar #1

CAREER Overview + Strategy Tips | Oct. 21, 2021

Seminar #2

Insider Perspectives: Program Officer Panel | Oct. 30, 2020

Seminar #3

Incorporating Educational Activities into Grant Proposals | Nov. 6, 2020

Seminar #4

Basic Grant Writing | Nov. 13, 2020

Seminar #5

CAREER Winners Panel Discussion | Feb. 25, 2021

National Institutes of Health Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators

Are you a young biomedical investigator at the University of Kansas looking to establish an independent research laboratory? A special funding opportunity from the National Institutes of Health could help you achieve your goal, and KU’s MIRA Writing Workshop is designed to increase your chances of securing an award.

Brought to you by the KU Office of Research, the workshop will provide strategies and tips for writing competitive proposals for the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators, a grant program sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

MIRA Writing Workshop details

Participants will learn from past KU MIRA winners who will present strategies that focus for each part of the application to ensure competitiveness. The workshop also will include presentations from experts that focus on basic grant writing skills. Guided discussions and exercises — including partner review for enhancing proposal clarity and persuasiveness — will help participants draft the most compelling proposals.

Workshop format

The workshop consists of two parts: seminars and the workshop cohort. Seminars are sessions open to anyone interested in applying for a MIRA; they cover all aspects of the MIRA process. The workshop is an intensive, peer-centered set of meetings intended to help participants refine and polish all aspects of their MIRA proposals. Participants in the cohort will get detailed review and specific feedback according to a strict timeline.

Week of April 4: Application materials due

Week of April 11: Cohort meeting

Friday, April 22 | 12 p.m.: Panel Presentation: Writing a Successful MIRA Application, with Tony Fehr, Jennifer Robinson and Shyam Sathyamoorthi

Friday, April 29 | 12 p.m.: Webinar: Simply Engaging, Crafting Clear Concise Prose, with Lisa McLendon, Bremner Editing Center

Friday, May 6 | 12 p.m.: Guided Discussion: Writing for the Generalist and Specialist

Friday, May 13 | 12 p.m.: Presentation of page 1 to cohort for initial feedback

Friday, May 20 | 12 p.m.: Presentation of page 1 to cohort for initial feedback

Friday, May 27 | 12 p.m.: Presentation of page 1 to cohort for initial feedback

Summer 2022

Friday, June 17 | 12 p.m.: Proposal roundtable

Friday, June 24 | 12 p.m.: Proposal roundtable

Friday, July 1 | 12 p.m.: Proposal roundtable

Friday, July 8 | 12 p.m.: Proposal roundtable

Friday, July 22 | 12 p.m.: The NIH Biosketch and Letter of Support

Friday, July 29 | 12 p.m.: Webinar: Incorporating Proposal Feedback, with Carol Burdsal, Office of Research 

Friday, Aug. 5 | 12 p.m.: Deliver 6-page research strategy to cohort partner for comments and suggested edits (cc: Carol on delivery) 

Friday, Aug. 12 | 12 p.m.: Partners return edited 6-page docs (cc: Carol on email delivering return of comments)

Friday, Aug. 26 | 12 p.m.: Workshop wrap-up

Aug. 29: Last day to deliver research strategy for peer review

Sept. 30: KU internal MIRA submission due date

Oct. 3: NIH MIRA due date

Apply for the MIRA Workshop Cohort

Applications should include a CV and Concept Paper.

PIVOT database

Use the PIVOT database to search for funding opportunities.