AgBioResearch Grant Writing Workshop Receives Rave Reviews

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“Outstanding seminar!”

“Very helpful and enjoyable.”


“Great job!”

“Dr. Morrison provides a valuable service to the academic community. Thank you.”

These were just a few of the enthusiastic evaluations of the AgBioResearch Preawards Office-sponsored “Write Winning Grants” workshop held Dec. 17. The sold-out workshop featured presenter David Morrison, of Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops, who addressed both the practical and conceptual aspects of successful proposal writing.

“Dr. Morrison is an excellent presenter,” said John Baker, MAES associate director, who helped plan the workshop. “He talked about things that professors need to consider when writing grants but don’t always do, as well as the basics. While extremely appropriate for new faculty members, it was also valuable for senior faculty members. We [the MAES] were so pleased with the seminar and participant feedback that we’ve scheduled another workshop for Dec. 16, 2008. More details on registration will be available at the beginning of fall term.”

Morrison, who received a doctorate in molecular biology and biophysics from Yale and served as associate director of research at the University of Kansas Medical Center Cancer Center and director of medical research at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, is a member of multiple national review panels and advisory groups and has a long history of writing successful grant proposals. He discussed how to write proposals aimed at reviewers and how to identify the most appropriate granting agency. Workshop attendees had the option of purchasing workbooks devoted to the grant subtleties of specific federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the National Institutes of Health, for additional self-study.

“I learned so much,” said Kelly Sporer, postdoctoral researcher working in the lab of Gale Strasburg, chairperson of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “I was struck by what Dr. Morrison called ‘the importance of being first,’ as in the first person to get an idea out to reviewers; no one remembers the second or third person to cross the Atlantic by plane. I also found it very interesting that the number of grant applications submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health increases every year as academic institutions expect their faculty members to find more extramural funding. However, the number of grants actually funded has decreased, increasing the margin between grants submitted and grants funded.”

“I thought the workshop was well done and provided a lot of great insight into how to approach writing successful grants,” said Dan Grooms, MAES large animal clinical sciences researcher. “I thought Dr. Morrison did a great job of logically explaining how to mold a grant that would be viewed favorably by reviewers. I certainly plan to try his approach. One thing I realized—and probably already knew—is that successful grant writing takes a lot of work and effort and does not come naturally for many of us.”

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