Grantwriting Uncovered: Maximizing Strategies, Help, Opportunities, Experiences (GUMSHOE)

National Research Mentoring Network ( Substantial evidence exists that individuals from diverse racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds are disproportionately under-represented at all levels of the biomedical scientific workforce. This disparity is also apparent with respect to their representation among recipients of federally sponsored support for biomedical research.The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) is a nationwide consortium of biomedical professionals and institutions that offers structured mentorship and networking to enhance the career development and training of such individuals who are pursuing biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social science research careers (collectively termed biomedical research careers). NRMN facilitates attaining the milestones of successful research career and academic progression for individuals at each career stage. NRMN has developed a nationwide network of more than 100 partner institutions and organizations in urban and rural settings, including higher education institutions, scientific societies, and federally-funded training programs, as well as mentors and mentees spanning all disciplines relevant to the NIH mission. By applying best practices for mentoring and training and facilitating long-­term, culturally responsive interactions among mentees and mentors, NRMN hopes to address the “grant gap.” NRMN’s goal is to produce the mentors and scientific leaders of tomorrow.
Although NRMN supports the training and career development of individuals from groups identified by the NIH as under-represented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social science research careers, it is available to individuals regardless of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status.

Offered by: Professional Development Core of the National Research Mentoring Network

Description: GUMSHOE is offered 2 times per year; each program cycle lasts 6 months. To optimize mentee/coach interactions and to align workshop emphases, each program cycle focuses specifically on conducting National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored research with a given population(s). These populations include 1) American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders; 2) African Americans; 3) Hispanics or Latinos; 4) Rural communities, and 5) other pre-specified populations ( as resources permit.
Each mentee is assigned to a GUMSHOE coach. NRMN faculty supervise the program. 
Each mentee completes the following assignments during the 6 months program:
  1. Attend 3-day, in-person intensive grant writing workshop (see dates and locations below).
  2. With an assigned coach, design an individualized work schedule, on average at least one 30-minute telephonic session twice monthly, to draft, revise, and finalize relevant grant application components over remaining 6 months of program cycle.
  3. With an assigned NIH Grant Program Officer, review and revise early- and late-stage versions of grant applications.
  4. Have one’s grant application reviewed by a NIH section reviewer.
  5. With NRMN faculty, review, revise, and finalize applications for submission to NIH.
In addition, 2 weeks prior to the 3-day, in-person meeting, mentees are required to:
  1. Participate in an online writing class.
  2. Complete exercises on how to write Specific Aims.
  3. Draft, revise, and submit a Specific Aims page prior to workshop.
  4. View videos on the NIH process for reviewing proposals.
One GUMSHOE coach is assigned to each mentee. Coaches are typically investigators who have received an NIH research award as a Principal Investigator (preferably within the past 10 years); are up to date on NIH procedures and trends; are experienced in providing feedback and guidance to others preparing NIH research or research career development proposal; and are skilled in small-group facilitation, such as eliciting others’ input, managing different personalities, and keeping group on task. Our coaches are committed to helping early-stage investigators – particularly those from diverse backgrounds – to secure sponsored research funding and to advance their research careers, and often have extensive experience with the populations of interest to GUMSHOE. 
Size of Coaching Cohort: up to 8 coaches per 6-month program cycle.
Size of Instructor Cohort: 3 NRMN faculty.
Schedule of Sessions:
  1. Review, critique, and revise specific aims page 1 week prior to workshop.
  2. Attend 3-day, in-person intensive grant writing workshop. 
  3. Design and implement individualized work schedule, on average at least one 30-minute telephonic session twice monthly, to draft, revise, and finalize mentee’s relevant grant application components over remaining 6 months of program cycle.
  4. Coordinate with assigned NIH Grant Program Officer to review and revise early- and late-stage versions of mentees’ grant applications.
  5. Coordinate with NRMN faculty to review, revise, and finalize applications for submission to NIH.
Location and Type of Sessions: In-person sessions rotate among partner and affiliated institutions (see below); Adobe Connect used for online sessions; extensive telephone and GUMSHOE website exchange.

Current Offerings: The next 2 GUMSHOE offerings will be on the following dates
September 28-30, 2016:              
  • Focused on African American/Black researchers and populations.
  • Candidates should be of African American/Black descent or work with underserved African American and Black populations.
  • Held in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Applications due September 5, 2016.
October 19-21, 2016:             
  • Focused on researchers from rural institutions/organizations and populations.
  • Candidates should be from rural/land grant institutions or work with underserved rural populations.
  • Held in Spokane, Washington.
  • Applications due September 26, 2016.
Application Process: When an application cycle opens, candidates should follow the steps below.
  1. Create an online profile at
  2. Complete the application on NRMNet.
  3. In addition to the uniform application, the following materials are specific to GUMSHOE, and should be submitted through the NRMNet portal.
  • A letter of support from the applicant’s institutional mentor or representative that describes the institutional commitment to the applicant, local resources provided, and guarantees that the time needed for the applicant to complete the GUMSHOE program will be protected.
  • A one-page Specific Aims document in the NIH format.
  • Two letters of recommendation from academic professionals.
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  1. Contact Spero M. Manson, Ph.D. ( and/or Dedra Buchwald, M.D. (, with questions about the program.
 Eligibility Requirements:
  1. Experience – At least minimal grant-writing experience.
  2. Employment – Applicants must be employed by an agency, organization, or institution eligible to apply for and to receive NIH research awards.
  3. Career Stage – Postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, or the equivalent who are developing an application for submission to one of the following NIH mechanisms: Diversity Supplement, K99/R00 NIH proposal; K- or R-series; or a different K-series proposal.
  4. Residency – U.S. Citizenship or permanent residency.
  5. Participation – Pre- and post-program cycle evaluations.
Highly Desirable Experiences, Skills, and Interests:
  1. Preference afforded candidates whose past, present, or future research interests are consistent with the focal population(s) emphasized in the program cycle to which they apply.
  2. Preference given to applicants who have not previously received independent NIH research awards as Principal Investigators.
Size of Cohort: up to 25 per program cycle; 2 cycles annually.
Size of Instructor Cohort: 3 NRMN faculty; up to 8 coaches.
Total Program Duration: 6 months.
Competencies Gained:
  1. Grant-writing Skills – Achieved through tailored feedback on each mentee’s grant application, with special attention to the NIH biosketch, resources and environments, Specific Aims, background/significance, impact/innovation, methods, human subjects, etc., individuals will improve their grant-writing skills. 
  2. Insights – on NIH study sections from experienced senior faculty, NIH Grant Program Officers, and NRMN faculty.
  3. Skills – to produce an NIH grant to be submitted at or soon after the conclusion of the GUMSHOE program cycle.
More Information: Individuals should contact to inquire about upcoming application cycles and query the GUMSHOE website for future program offerings.