Prepare an Application

The information on this page applies to the FAER MRTG, RFG and REG only. Information on applying for the FAER Transition to Independence Grant is available here.

If you are applying for a FAER MRTG, RFG or REG, It is recommended to read the full FAER grant instructions PDF prior to submitting an application. Templates are available for download on the right-hand side of this page.

Biographical Sketch

Use the latest FAER version of the current NIH biosketch template. Submit one biosketch for the applicant and one for each mentor. View biosketch instructions here.

For the applicant and the mentor(s), the personal statement is an important part of the biosketch. The personal statement should be tailored to the specific grant application and used to convey information about your relevant qualifications and experience related to your role in the grant. The personal statement is written in the first person. For applicants, it should demonstrate your understanding of the project and how it will benefit your career, and for mentors, it should demonstrate your understanding of the project and how it will benefit your mentee’s career.

Abstract

The abstract should state the broad long-term objectives and specific aims of the project, its relationship to anesthesiology, as well as the research design and methods. The abstract should be a succinct and accurate description of the proposed work that can be understood when separate from the application.

Resubmission Statement

If you have previously submitted any research proposal to FAER, you must include a resubmission statement within your application.

If you are submitting a revised application, the resubmission statement should provide a summary of the differences between this and the previous application. It should address the critiques of the original application point by point. Applicants may submit up to two resubmissions of a revised research grant proposal.

If you are reapplying to FAER with a completely different research protocol, the resubmission statement should indicate how and why this project differs from the previous application.

Research Plan

The research plan is the core of the application. Particularly, because of page limitations, the research plan should be developed in conjunction with the applicant’s mentor(s). It must include the following sections.

•    Specific Aims: State the long-term objectives of the research and describe what the research is intended to accomplish. State the hypotheses to be tested.
•    Background and Significance: Briefly sketch the background of the research proposal, critically evaluate existing knowledge, and identify the gaps that this project is intended to fill.
•    Preliminary Studies: Use this section to provide an account of the applicant’s preliminary studies pertinent to the research proposal. Also include any other information that will help to establish the experience and competence of the investigator to pursue the proposed project. Although it is understood that many applicants will not have personally developed preliminary data, it is important to discuss the relevant preliminary studies done in the mentor’s or other laboratories that lend credence to the proposed research.
•    Experimental Design and Methods: Describe the experimental design and the procedures to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include the means by which data will be collected, analyzed and interpreted. Describe any new methodology and its advantage over new methodologies. Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and provide alternative approaches to achieve the aims.
•    References: Cite only the most important, relevant literature.

Mentoring and Career Development

The mentorship and career development sections are major elements of FAER research grant applications and are weighted heavily in the scoring.

Mentor Selection & Requirements
Identifying a research mentor or mentorship team is an important step in the application process and is a key element in the review committee’s assessment of an application.

The applicant is responsible for selecting an experienced investigator to serve as a primary research mentor. The primary mentor should be committed to supervising the proposed research and career development experience of the applicant. It is also important that the mentor be an active investigator, preferably with extramural funding, in the area of the proposed research.

During the duration of the grant, primary mentors who have clinical responsibilities must have 40 percent protected non-clinical time for research activities.

The primary research mentor should have a faculty appointment at the associate professor level or above. The research mentor is not required to have a primary appointment in anesthesiology; however, if the research mentor is not an anesthesiologist, the applicant is required to identify a secondary mentor who is an anesthesiologist and will provide support as part of a mentorship team.

Mentoring Plan

The mentoring plan should be written by the primary mentor — in the mentor’s voice — with input from a secondary mentor, if present. The mentoring plan should clearly describe the roles of the mentor(s) in the proposed research.

The mentoring plan should outline the course of action for developing the applicant’s research career. This should include details on how the FAER award and the research mentor’s teaching will prepare the applicant for a research career and will guide the applicant’s development as an independent investigator. These elements of the mentoring plan should be coordinated with the applicant’s research strategy and career development plan.

The mentoring plan should also provide a generalized understanding of the primary (and secondary) mentor’s experience in training and mentoring, if not fully described in the mentor’s biosketch personal statement. Full training tables are not needed or desired, but the mentoring plan should provide a general description of any roles on training grants, as well as previous protégés and their career trajectories, current positions and success in becoming independent investigators.

Finally, the mentoring plan should indicate how much of the research mentor’s professional time is available for research and how much of that time is specifically available for mentoring the proposed project.

Rigor and Transparency
In response to growing concern regarding failure to replicate major findings in preclinical research, NIH has added a new section on “Rigor and Transparency of Reporting” to their grant applications. FAER aims to support new investigators in part by preparing them to construct applications similar to those they will use at the NIH. The mentor should include a paragraph in the mentoring plan to address this in which they address the four factors required by the NIH. This provides another opportunity to further develop and demonstrate the quality of the mentoring relationship, a key determinant of FAER grant funding decisions. For more information on the NIH guidelines, visit grants.nih.gov.

Career Development Plan
The career development plan should be written by the applicant — in the applicant’s voice — with input from the primary research mentor or mentorship team.

Within the career development plan, the applicant should describe their motivation and  commitment to a research career and should outline short-term and long-term career objectives. The career development plan should show clearly how the proposed research will prepare the applicant for an independent career as a physician-scientist. The plan should describe those specific elements planned for the training period, including formal or didactic training through courses, classwork, and participation in institutional research training (e.g. CTSA research training programs).

To prepare to write the career development plan, the applicant should conduct a realistic self-assessment to identify research abilities and skills, as well as strengths and areas that need development. Along with the mentor(s), the applicant should discuss current skills and strengths and compare them with those needed for the research career choice.

The career development plan should outline the outcomes of the self-assessment and should define the approaches that the applicant will use to obtain the specific skills and strengths (e.g., courses, technical skills, teaching, supervision) together with anticipated time frames.

Budget

As a part of the FAER grant application, the applicant must provide a detailed budget and justification of expenses using FAER’s budget template.

The budget must outline funding for the entire research proposal and should specify the intended use of the FAER award. The budget should identify any additional sources of funding required to complete the project, and it should identify all extramural funds requested or currently available to the applicant — for this project or others. If there is overlap between funds requested from FAER and such extramural funds, please detail the overlap on the budget form.

Please see the grant instructions PDF for complete budget guidelines.

Letters of Commitment and Recommendation

A PDF of each letter of recommendation should be provided to the applicant for uploading with the application.

Department Chair
The letter of recommendation from the department chair should:
•    Evaluate the applicant’s commitment to academic anesthesiology and his or her potential for success in an academic career.
•    Demonstrate commitment to support the applicant’s development during the duration of the grant.

Research Mentor(s)
Each research mentor provide a letter of commitment that demonstrates dedication to continuous, direct supervision of the applicant in developing research expertise and achieving the goals of the research proposal.

Senior Faculty Members
In addition to the department chair letter and the mentor(s) letter(s), the applicant must provide two additional letters of recommendation and evaluation from senior faculty members, other than the research mentor(s), who work within or outside of the applicant’s department.

Human or Animal Use Review (IRB or IACUC Approval)

Provide a letter of approval from the appropriate institutional human or animal use review committee.

If this study does not require this approval, or if the application is submitted before approval is obtained, provide a letter of explanation. Notification of institutional approval must be received in the FAER office prior to any award being made.