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 2024 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.

Spring 2024 (via Zoom)

Friday, Feb. 2: Initial full proposal draft due.
Cohort continues drafting/refining project description.

Tuesday, Feb. 6: Seminar: Simply Engaging: Crafting Clear, Concise Prose
11 a.m. – 12 a.m. | On Zoom

  • Lisa McLendon, Coordinator, Bremner Editing Center

Begin revising summary pages based on seminar tips.

Week of Feb. 12: No cohort meeting. Self-edited Summary Page due to Doug. Doug and Lisa edit the revised Summary Pages.

Week of Feb. 19: Cohort meeting, 10 a.m. Summary Read-and-Critique Roundtable #1. Participants read their polished Summary Pages aloud for Cohort comments and feedback. Cohort begins preparing Presentations for Full-Proposal Roundtables.

Week of Feb. 26: Cohort meeting, 10 a.m. Summary Read-and-Critique Roundtable #2 (If necessary). Participants read their polished Summary Pages aloud for Cohort comments and feedback. Cohort continues preparing Presentations for Full-Proposal Roundtables.

Tuesday, March 5: Seminar. Previous CAREER Winners Panel Discussion Summary-Page Edits due for return to cohort (Doug and Lisa). Cohort reviews/incorporates feedback and readies Summary Pages for Read-and-Critique Roundtables. 
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. | On Zoom

March 11-17: No cohort meeting (spring break)

Tuesday, March 19: Cohort Meeting: Simply Engaging Visuals
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. | On Zoom

Week of March 25: Cohort meeting,: Full-Proposal Presentation and Roundtable #2 (if needed).

Week of April 1: Cohort meeting: Full-Proposal Presentation and Roundtable #3 (if needed).

Week of April 8: Cohort meeting: Full-Proposal Presentation and Roundtable #4: Cohort continues preparing narrative first drafts.

Tuesday, April 23: Seminar: Incorporating Proposal Feedback
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. | On Zoom

  • Carol Burdsal, Director, Research Development

Week of April 23: No cohort meeting. CPartner Full-Proposal Exchange: Full-proposal drafts due to Doug for exchange (Cohort). Doug and Lisa will distribute to a cohort partner. 

Week of April 29: No cohort meeting. Exchange partners work on edits/comments (Cohort).

Week of May 6: No cohort meeting. Partner Critiques are due to Doug for distribution back to authors: (Cohort).

Week of May 13: Workshop wrap-up, Workshop review—Discussion of what worked and what didn’t. 

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


Fall 2023 (via Zoom)

Friday, Oct. 20: Cohort application materials due

Friday, Oct. 20: Seminar: CAREER Overview and Strategy Tips | Register on Zoom

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

Week of Oct. 30: 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

Tuesday, Nov. 7: Seminar: Incorporating Educational Activities into Grant Proposals | Register on Zoom

  • Teresa MacDonald, KU Natural History Museum
  • Ward Lyles, CTE Ambassador
  • Joey Orr, Spencer Museum of Art

Monday, Nov. 13: Seminar: Basic Grant Writing | Register on Zoom

  • Carol Burdsal, Director of Research Development

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

NSF CAREER-eligible applicants employed by the University of Kansas can request a spot in the workshop cohort by completing the online application form no later than Friday, Oct. 20, 2022. The application should include a current CV/biosketch and 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. 20

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.

National Institutes of Health Writing Workshop

Are you a biomedical investigator at the University of Kansas looking to expand or enhance your research funding portfolio with the National Institutes of Health? Have you considered pursuing NIH funding but struggled to identify which opportunity is right for your research? Increase your chances of success by participating in KU's NIH Writing Workshop.

Brought to you by the KU Office of Research and the Bremner Editing Center in the KU School of Journalism, the workshop will provide strategies and tips for writing competitive proposals from experienced NIH-funded investigators and explore the use of advanced writing techniques and partner review for enhancing proposal clarity and persuasiveness.

NIH Writing Workshop details

Participants will learn from past KU NIH 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 workshop cohort meetings. Seminars are open to the entire KU community. The workshop cohort is open to investigators interested in applying for any NIH funding mechanism (MIRA/R35, R01, R03, R21, etc.) and features intensive, peer-centered meetings intended to help participants refine and polish all aspects of their NIH proposals. Cohort participants will get detailed review and specific feedback according to a strict timeline. The cohort will be limited to 10-15 applicants who must be KU faculty.

Week of Feb. 5: NIH Introductory Seminar | Learn Strategies to Be More Competitive at the NIH

Week of Feb. 12: Grant Writing Seminar | Simply Engaging (Lisa McLendon, Bremner Editing Center, KU School of Journalism)

Week of Feb. 19: First page (MIRA)/specific aims (other mechanisms) due 

Monday, Feb. 26: Panel Discussion: The Secrets of our Success
9 a.m. | Register on Zoom

Week of March 4: Carol and Doug return reviews Friday, March 8 

Week of March 11: Spring break

Week of March 18: Participants incorporate edits

Week of March 25: Cohort meetings: First page (MIRA)/specific aims (other mechanisms) page read and critique 

Week of April 1: Cohort meetings: First page (MIRA)/specific aims (other mechanisms) page read and critique 

Week of April 8: Cohort meetings: First page (MIRA)/specific aims (other mechanisms) page read and critique 

Week of April 15: Workshop Webinar | Competitive Subsidiary Documents (Alix Norris, Tn Consulting)

Week of April 22: No meetings | Participants review each other's proposals for partner exchange assignment

Week of April 29: No meetings | Participants review each other's proposals

Week of May 6: No meetings | Finals week

Week of May 13: No meetings | Carol and Doug provide guidance on assignment #3

Week of May 20: Cohort meetings | Proposal roundtable 

Week of May 27: Cohort meetings | Proposal roundtable

Week of June 3: Cohort meetings | Proposal roundtable

Week of  June 10: Cohort meetings | Proposal roundtable

Week of June 17: Cohort meetings | Proposal roundtable

Week of June 24: No meetings

Week of July 1: No meetings

Week of July 8: No meetings

Week of July 17: No meetings

Week of July 22: No meetings

Week of July 29: Final cohort meeting | Workshop wrap-up and PEER program discussion

The cohort will be limited to 10-15 applicants who must be KU faculty. To apply, please send a copy of your CV or NIH biosketch — along with a message specifying the NIH grant mechanism to which you wish to apply — to Carol Burdsal at carol.burdsal@ku.edu.

Applications are due Jan. 22, 2024.

Apply for the NIH Writing Workshop Cohort

Send a copy of your CV or NIH biosketch — along with a message specifying the NIH grant mechanism to which you wish to apply — to Carol Burdsal.

PIVOT database

Use the PIVOT database to search for funding opportunities.