R-Writing Group

We help qualified researchers develop and submit their first independent investigator-initiated grant (e.g., R01) to the NIH and another agencies.

The goal of the R-Writing Group is to assist participants in developing a competitive R01 (or other large grant) application for submission in an approximate 9 month timeframe. Elements of a good grant application and the process of grant review will be discussed at the onset by the course directors.

Participants will be assigned dates during Fall to introduce the material relevant to their proposal (research area, preliminary data and potential specific aims). Following these presentations, and adhering to a rotating schedule, the group will focus on each participant's work; the group will jointly assist the participant in the development of a set of well-crafted, novel and significant specific aims based on the participant's initial idea(s) or preliminary data.

Each participant is expected to contribute to the evaluation of the work of their colleagues; participation is critical in developing skills the researcher will need for future independent grant writing experiences. When the working group determines that a participant's specific aims are acceptable, the participant will proceed with writing his/her grant, which will be reviewed on an ongoing basis (usually in pre-designated grant "sections") by the group. For many participants, it will be helpful to identify a mentor or senior content expert who can provide input on the grant during this process.


UNC faculty who:

  • Plan to submit their first R01 (or similar investigator-initiated) grant as Principal Investigator in February through October of the next year. Resubmissions of previously submitted grants are acceptable for work in the group.
  • Have sufficient preliminary data and department/division/Center support to write the proposal and if awarded, to conduct the proposed research.

Faculty members who are currently funded by, or recently completed, an institutional or individual K award or a similar career development program are especially encouraged to apply.

Course Details

There are two writing groups: One for "T1" (defined as "bench to bedside" research), and one for "T2" (defined as clinical/health services research.) Full participation is required. In order to be accepted, applicants must be willing to read all preparatory material and prepare comments on others' work. They will be expected to meet deadlines (e.g., posting their own grants for review) in a timely manner. All participants are expected to participate for the whole year.

T1 Group

The group will be led by Drs. Janet Rubin and Alex Duncan. Dr. Rubin has extensive experience in grant writing and NIH study section review and a long interest in mentoring junior scientists preparing grant proposals. Dr. Duncan is an MD/PhD with broad interactions in PhD and MD/PhD training at UNC.

Participants in the T1 group will meet twice-monthly on Friday afternoons from 4-6 pm.

Clinical/Health Services Research Group

This group will be led by Drs. Morris Weinberger and Anthony Viera. Dr. Weinberger has extensive experience in health services research, grant writing and study section review, and a long interest in mentoring funding applications for junior scientists. Dr. Viera is an MD/MPH with broad clinical knowledge and experience who currently has an R01 funded by NHLBI.

Participants in the clinical/health services group will meet twice-monthly on Friday afternoons from 2-4 pm.

Application Process

Application for the R-Writing Group consists of:

  1. A brief letter of introduction in which you should list your current position, whether you are on tenure track and the anticipated time of your promotion review. You should also identify which group you are applying to.
  2. 2 page biosketch and Other Support page using the NIH format. Please list pending future publications that you will be submitting and note them as "In Progress" with the target month for submission.
  3. 1/2 to 1 page introduction to your work, including preliminary data from which you plan to develop your R01, or identify the type of grant for which you intend to apply.
  4. The name(s) of key co-investigator(s) and their specific role(s) on your proposed projects.
  5. If applying for the T2 group, include the name(s) of a mentor or senior content expert who can provide input on the grant during the program. If applicable, please also list the mentors on your K award.

Once an application is received interviews with the instructors will be scheduled.

Final selection will be made by the leadership of the Education, Training, and Career Development Core (Dr. Eugene Orringer, Dr. Morris Weinberger, and Ms. Susan Pusek) and the course leaders for each group.


The application will be made available mid-Summer. Those selected should be ready to begin working in late August or early September.

Questions regarding your potential application to the R-Writing Group (not specific questions about your R application) can be directed to Susan Pusek at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..