The Ultimate Time-Management Challenge

It’s that time of the year – if you’re in the biomedical research field, you’re preparing an NIH submission or two, or ten. And undoubtedly, you’ve got a PI who is feverishly working to finish their grant. We’re Ginger Rogers dancing with Fred Astaire, keeping our investigators on track with their submissions and anticipating their next move. It’s a lot of planning and organizing, in addition to all the work we’re required to do. Especially for those investigators who are new to the process and not as prepared as they could be.


  1. Talk to PI’s in advance to anticipate upcoming submissions and plan them in your calendar – block off the time to work on them.
  2. Highlight the requirements of the RFP for your PI.
  3. Create a checklist of documents and due dates for the submission which outlines who is responsible for each for the PI you are supporting.
  4. Include “internal deadlines” on your checklist that allow for backsliding, changes and problems to occur as the application develops.
  5. Assign aspects of the application to yourself so that you can assure things move along at the right pace (budget drafts, etc).
  6. Provide the PI template documents, boilerplate language, etc. to make developing the application easier and most importantly – more likely to be funded!
  7. Research questions and offer to call the project officer for the PI if needed.
  8. Send reminders and update the checklist as the PI moves through the application.
  9. Proofread the application as its being developed.
  10. Encourage the PI to keep going when he/she is discouraged, especially if they are an early stage investigator.

Communication is key! It’s almost October 5 – good luck everyone!


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